PHOTO: YHOMO HUTCHINSON Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, mskes notes to his speech before addressing the virtual High-Level Meeting of Heads of State and Government on 'Financing for development in the era of coronavirus (COVID-19) and beyond', held on Tuesday (September 29). The meeting was convened by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, along with Prime Minister Holness, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

KINGSTON, Jamaica–September 30th,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 marginalized in our societies; and supportive of democratic and transparent governance,” Holness said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a virtual High-Level Meeting of Heads of State and Government on financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, held on Tuesday (September 29).

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 mobilize 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.

The Prime Minister 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.

The high-level meeting was convened by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, along with Prime Minister Holness and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

More than 70 Heads of State and Government and leaders and international organizations 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 organizations 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’s plea follows similar opinions recently from Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, and from a group of South American nations.