Johnson Smith underscores Caricom's call for collaboration with Japan on financing for developmentFriday, July 23, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, is underscoring the Caribbean Community's (Caricom) commitment to strategic engagement with Japan and other bilateral partners, with a view to increasing access to concessional financing to the region's vulnerable and highly-indebted countries.
Johnson Smith, who was participating in the 7th Caricom-Japan Ministerial Meeting convened virtually on Tuesday, July 20, noted that increased access is “critical to ensuring a sustained and equitable regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Caricom Chair of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Toshimitsu Motegi, who participated from the Kingston headquarters of Jamaica's foreign ministry.
The ministers engaged on several issues of mutual interest, including a review of Japan-Caricom relations; recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; climate change and disaster risk reduction; and UN Security Council reform.
Johnson Smith recommended the parties take certain decisive action within the Caricom-Japan strategic partnership including, “building on the progress being made under the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative (FfD), co-chaired by the UN Secretary General and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica”.
She also stated that, “international development partners must exercise greater flexibility in the redistribution of development funding to allow Caribbean countries more room to operate in the extremely limited fiscal space”.
The minister proposed that Japan improves the response capacity of indigenous development lending institutions, such as the Caribbean Development Bank. She further reiterated Jamaica's call for fair and equitable access to safe and affordable vaccines for all countries.
Noting that Japan is well-placed to amplify the concerns of the region in important fora such as the G7 and G20, Johnson Smith noted that Caricom is “counting on the highest political support from Japan to advance the work being undertaken under the various work streams of the Financing for Development Initiative (FfD), to help SIDS, in particular, build back better”.
The Caricom-Japan Meeting was part of the official working visit of Minister Motegi, which was the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Jamaica.
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