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-says socio-economic impacts must be addressed
President Irfaan Ali, on Tuesday, challenged the United Nations (UN) to lead a global response to the deadly Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, noting that the focus should not only be on the health implications but also on the socio-economic impacts.
“At the health level, this response should involve increased access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers, the provision of therapeutics and equipment for patient treatment and the rollout of and support for mass immunisation when a vaccine becomes available. On the socio-economic front, it is imperative that global resources be mobilised to ensure a return to a sustainable development trajectory. Resources must be made available, expeditiously, using a variety of financial mechanisms including debt relief, debt-service moratoriums, concessional financing capitalisation of deferred interest payments, and grants,” President Ali said.
At the time, the Head of State was delivering an address virtually at a UN high-level meeting on financing the 2020 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.
He submitted that the measures will facilitate the recovery of developing states, whose economies and healthcare sectors have been hard hit by the pandemic. Due to their undiversified economies and limited resources, many small states are finding it difficult to satisfy their immediate development and recovery needs, the President explained while noting too that developing countries are expected, in the near-term, to experience widening fiscal deficits, the narrowing of fiscal space, reduced external financing inflows and increasing debt.
He said it is no secret that the pandemic has negatively impacted economic growth, reversed decades of development, derailed progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, and intensified poverty and inequality.
Nonetheless, it is his belief that with the political will, and through the establishment of the new era in global relations, global and societal inequalities will be reduced.
“Establishing this new era in global relations will require significant development support, more so now in the face of an impending global recession. For many small states, the burden of recovery from the pandemic will be too great to bear on their own. It is therefore of paramount importance that today’s deliberations pave the way for financial support to help small states rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is equally vital that the Secretary General’s calls for a New Global Deal and New Social Contract be pursued with promptness, to ensure that recovery is aligned to reducing inequalities,” President Ali said.
He said that the discussions and proposals present a way forward in a post-COVID-19 era but in doing do, emphasized the need for a collective approach towards ensuring the future is one of prosperity and equality.
The President commended the Secretary General, António Guterres and Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, for spearheading the initiative on Financing for Development in the era of COVID- 19 and Beyond.
The high-level meeting brought together Heads of State, Governments, representatives of international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to consider recovery strategies from the current crisis in the short term. These strategies include the mobilization of financial resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the medium term as well as building the resilience and sustainability of countries and the global financial architecture, in the long term.