Holness calls for urgent action from world leaders to deal with COVID-19 fallout

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Holness calls for urgent action from world leaders to deal with COVID-19 fallout

Thursday, May 28, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Prime Minister Andrew Holness has described the COVID-19 pandemic as a wake-up call for the international community to reinvigorate a comprehensive system of global economic governance that can cope with global disruption while promoting inclusive development.

Holness was addressing a high level meeting which he co-convened with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, this morning.

With more than 50 heads of state and governments participating, the digital meeting, dubbed, “High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” was the most inclusive gathering of countries to focus on the socio-economic recovery and financing needs from the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic demands that we take immediate action to address its impacts on the economies of all countries, in every region of the world and at every stage of development,” said Holness in his opening remarks which were delivered late in the meeting because of technical issues from the UN's end.

“This pandemic has demonstrated that every country and every citizen is vulnerable.  To build economic and social resistance we must rethink the traditional indices of vulnerability,” declared Holness.

 “This crisis represents a unique opportunity to remedy socio-economic disparities.  We have a duty to ourselves, and succeeding generations, to put in place a bold, innovative and resilient system to address the profound structural issues that impact our economies and our people,” added Holness.

The prime minister also welcomed the six thematic areas of focus of the meeting, including the “necessity to address the urgent need for increased liquidity, particularly for low- and middle-income countries”.

The six areas identified for discussion at the meeting target actions to mobilise the financing needed for the response and recovery after COVID-19.

These include expanding liquidity across the global economy; addressing debt vulnerabilities; stemming illicit financial flows; increasing external finance for inclusive growth and job creation; and strategies for countries to recover better, achieve the SDGs, address climate change and restore the balance between the economy and nature. 

“The pandemic has demonstrated our fragility,” said Guterres. “We are in an unprecedented human crisis, because of a microscopic virus. We need to respond with unity and solidarity, and a key aspect of solidarity is financial support.”

Fellow co-convener Trudeau argued that all countries are being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it threatens to undermine our hard-won development gains.

“We know the best way to help all our people and economies rebound is to work together as a global community. We want to support collective and individual actions to enable a recovery that leads to more inclusive, sustainable and resilient economies, where no one is left behind,” said Trudeau.

Arthur Hall

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