Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Our decisions now will determine our future, Holness tells UN General Assembly

Published:Sunday | September 27, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has highlighted pre-existing vulnerabilities and multiple structural weaknesses within economies globally – large and small, rich and poor – and clearly demonstrated the systemic nature of risk worldwide, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the gathering of the 75th United Nations General Assembly yesterday during his virtual presentation.

He said the great differences lie, however, in each country’s respective ability to mitigate the development reversals arising from the multifaceted impact of the pandemic, and to recover stronger.

Recover Stronger

“Developing countries must, therefore, devise strategies to respond effectively. We must rebalance our economies and rethink the nature of global cooperation so that we not only recover stronger but position ourselves to become more resilient to future systemic shocks,” Holness noted.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the interconnectedness and interdependence of our world. It has underscored the need for strengthened and renewed multilateralism. As we strive to respond and recover stronger, we must reimagine the way nations cooperate. Persistent global problems require consistent cooperation to achieve strategic global solutions.”

Among the issues he highlighted that COVID-19 has brought to the fore were the importance of addressing the digital divide, non-communicable diseases prevention and care, and discrimination of women and girls.

Holness said small Caribbean states, which are designated as middle-income countries, but whose small economies are largely dependent on one or just a few industries, are most deeply affected by the crisis. He noted that they urgently need increased access to concessional and non-concessional financing, given their limited fiscal space, reduced availability of public resources for investment and the struggle to attract private investment.

“We see access to international development finance and the establishment of special funds to complement our response as an imperative, and we endorse the secretary general’s call for solidarity. I therefore convey Jamaica’s sincere appreciation to the United Nations for establishing its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and encourage donor countries to contribute,” he stated.

“This fund represents an excellent example of the effectiveness of multilateralism at work. Its inclusion of vulnerable middle-income countries recognises the reality that if one member of the global community fails, the potential exists for all others to be impacted. The entire international community will therefore reap benefits from the support provided.”

Holness closed, “As we seek to create the future we want, we must summon our energies, talent and resources to combat this global crisis with fortitude. We must act collectively, decisively, and immediately. Our decisions now will determine the kind of future we create. Let us, together, do the right thing!”