St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The St Lucia Prime Minister is pushing for a collective commitment he says is needed to assist Small Island Developing States to deal with the fallout from COVID-19 and beyond.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was speaking on Thursday at a United Nations High-level meeting on Financing for Development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.
“We must commit to address the deficiencies of the current international financial architecture that produced and exasperate disadvantages to various categories of states. This means a complete reengineering not just an adjustment that was suggested by some earlier today. It is in this moment that St Lucia solicits the commitment of the IFIs and the developing partners to make a pledge not only to us heads of state and governments but to make a commitment to people on the ground of our respective countries.”
The meeting, initiated by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, saw over 20 world leaders making presentations on financing for Small Island Developing States going forward.
PM Holness reminded the conference that the economic impact on lives of the people in small states must also be taken into consideration not only the figures on paper.
“It is not only numbers on paper we have to deal with their impact on the lives currently in the crisis. The first symbolic step is for the OECD to recognize the need to classify SIDS using a vulnerability index and not per capita GDP as a measurement of wealth and access to ODA funds. Evidence from the impact of 9/11, the global financial crisis of 2008, climate change, and now COVID-19 has shown the inadequacy and the inappropriateness of this measurement. And many of us continue to carry the burden of debt that is leftover in our attempts to deal with those crises. I implore the Secretary-General Guiterrez and my colleague prime minister Trudeau and Holness for bringing us together to speak frankly and to secure real solutions to our collective development finance challenges.”
Jamaica’s PM Holness said the pandemic has triggered a need for a thrust for economic development across the world.
“We have committed to rescuing our economies and societies from the devasting economic and human impacts of COVID-19 and emerge as more resilient societies. What is abundantly clear from our exchanges is that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an unprecedented global development emergency. The magnitude of the shock from the pandemic has weakened or resilience and threatens to erode our hard earned gains in pursuit of sustainable development goals. As co-conveners we are keen to support the important follow-up work that working groups will be undertaking in line with the key areas explored today, global liquidity and financial stability, debt vulnerability, private sector creditor’s engagement, external finance for inclusive growth, illicit financial flows and recovering better for sustainability.”
Guyana’s President David Granger also supported the initiative of the UN Meeting, pointing out that his country is one of those nations that assist with refugees which is affecting its ability to deal with viruses such as COVID-19.
“One of the smallest states in the continent of South America borders countries which have a high incidence of COVID-19. Migrants seek refuge, enter our territories in the areas which necessitate the delivery of effective health services over long distances and to remote settlements. These factors impact the state’s ability to protect its people from disease and earn revenue to maintain its economy. Guyana is a small developing state whose many challenges have been compounded by its need to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Small states need structure and security systems to save lives and support livelihoods. In the medium and long term, we must build capacity to respond effectively and efficiently when faced with health crises which are predicted to occur more frequently in the future.”