Collaboration to reduce inequalities crucial to small states COVID-19 recovery

– President Ali tells UN

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has said addressing inequalities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic must become integral to global and national responses to activate economic recovery in small states. 

President Ali made the comment today during a virtual address to the United Nations on Financing for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond. The Head of State commended the UN for the initiative which was co-convened with Canada and Jamaica.

 President Ali said Guyana was aware of “the pressing need to pursue collectively a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to secure a path towards a sustainable recovery.”

The pandemic has had a severe impact on economies globally, particularly in small, vulnerable states. In some countries, it has reversed decades of development, derailed the progress towards attaining the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has escalated poverty. Small states, with undiversified economies and limited resources, will find it difficult to meet their immediate development goals and recovery needs, the President said. As such, the UN must spearhead the global response to the pandemic. 

“At the health level, this response should involve increased access to personal protection equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers, the provision of therapeutics and equipment for patient treatment and the rollout of and support for mass immunisation when a vaccine becomes available,” President Ali said.

Further, he said, at the level of the economy, “it is imperative that global resources be mobilised to ensure a return to a sustainable development trajectory. Resources must be made available, expeditiously, using a variety of financial mechanisms including debt relief, debt-service moratoriums, concessional financing capitalisation of deferred interest payments, and grants”. 

These measures, he said, will facilitate the recovery of developing states.

Notably, the Head of State said, with the political will, and through the establishment of the new era in global relations, global and societal inequalities would be reduced.

“It is therefore of paramount importance that today’s deliberations pave the way for financial support to help small states rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is equally vital that the Secretary General’s calls for a New Global Deal and New Social Contract be pursued with promptness, to ensure that recovery is aligned to reducing inequalities,” President Ali said. 

The overall aim of the meeting was to consider policy options developed over the last four months with the ambition of supporting Member States in responding and recovering from the current global crisis. 

The meeting brought together Heads of State, Governments, representatives of international organisations, the private sector, and civil society to consider recovery strategies from the current crisis in the short term.


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