Holness upbeat after global leaders commit to united front against COVID-19

Holness upbeat after global leaders commit to united front against COVID-19

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 29, 2020

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness has applauded global leaders and multilateral institutions for their declared commitment to presenting a united front against the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing the closing session of a high-level digital meeting, which he co-convened with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday, Holness said he was pleased by the spirit of determination displayed by the global leaders and institutions.

“We have committed to rescuing our economies and societies from the devastating economic and human impacts of COVID-19 and to emerge as more resilient societies,” said Holness.

“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 of this pandemic has weakened our resilience and threatened to erode our hard-earned gains in pursuit of the sustainable development goals,” added Holness.

The prime minister, who received kudos from several world leaders for his role as a co-convenor of the meeting, said Jamaica is keen to support the follow-up that working groups will be undertaking in the key areas explored in the talks.

Holness noted that global liquidity and financial stability, debt vulnerability, private sector creditor's engagement, external finance for inclusive growth, illicit financial flows, and recovering for better sustainability are among the issues to be tackled by the working groups which will comprise member states supported by the UN development system in partnership with relevant international organisations including civil society groups.

“I am encouraged that we have achieved what we had aspired to do at this global dialogue, which was to set in motion the process to identify concrete solutions to various challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis,” declared Holness.

Earlier, Holness had used his opening address to describe 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.

With more than 50 heads of state and government 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 resulting 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 host company contracted by the UN.

“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 call by the Jamaican prime minister echoed one by the UN Secretary General who told the opening session that “the pandemic has demonstrated our fragility. 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 also argued that all countries are being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it threatens to undermine 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.


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