KINGSTON, Jamaica Wednesday, September 30, 2020 — Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, is calling for an extraordinary, inclusive and sustainable global management and recovery process for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He noted that the world needs a global plan as innovative, ambitious and impactful as the Marshall Plan was to Europe’s recovery after the devastation of World War II.
“We must seize the opportunity this time around to make the global recovery plan sustainable to our climate and environment; empowering and uplifting of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised in our societies; and supportive of democratic and transparent governance,” the Prime Minister said.
He was speaking at a virtual High-Level Meeting of Heads of State and Government — convened by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, along with Prime Minister Holness and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau — on financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, held yesterday.
More than 70 Heads of State and Government and leaders and international organisations considered specific actions to help countries and people address the COVID-19 crisis.
The event reflected on the work, done over the last five months, by finance ministries, the UN and other international organisations and some of the world’s leading economists to find the policy options and solutions that can advance comprehensive multilateral response to the devastating social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
Holness made a plea for increased support to developing countries in mitigating the impact of COVID-19, arguing that the current reality, faced by these nations, is one of overburdened health systems, weak infrastructure and inadequate fiscal resources to respond effectively to the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.
“Caribbean islands, with heavy dependence on service industries, particularly tourism, have been among the most severely impacted. The poor, the vulnerable and our women have been primary victims,” he pointed out.
Holness noted that while governments have started to implement fiscal and other measures to address the most urgent consequences, with multilateral financing institutions, notably the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and regional banks. beginning to mobilise support, “much more will be required of all of us, and without delay”.
The Prime Minister said that a priority for developing countries is to have access to digital technology and reliable connectivity, given the “increased use of virtual platforms as an alternative to the customary physical engagement for human development and business continuity processes”.
Another critical area of priority, he said, is the need to ensure that vaccines will be accessible to all countries on an equitable basis.
He noted, further, that as public finances around the world come under pressure, attracting and leveraging private capital will be an important part of the recovery.
Prime Minister Holness said that some interesting proposals on the matter were submitted during the meeting that merit consideration, including policy options that address the need for new concessional financing mechanisms.
He expressed appreciation to Ministers of Finance and other contributors for putting forward a rich slate of policy options to increase resource availability, address debt and liquidity concerns, and respond to the short, medium and long-term needs of developing countries in particular.
“I urge us to gather momentum in implementing viable solutions to the mounting challenges that have continued to beset our countries and peoples. Our survival is fully dependent on managing COVID-19 in this era and beyond,” he stressed.