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‘Overwhelmed by outdated challenges’, Caribbean leaders say COVID-19 has compelled a brand new battle for the survival of their nations |



Saint Lucia: A near-impossible balancing act 

Philip Joseph Pierre, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Financial Improvement and Youth Financial system of Saint Lucia, stated his nation suffers from critical challenges on account of its small measurement and vulnerability to pure disasters and local weather change. Whereas struggling to discover options for these present issues, Saint Lucia was hit with COVID-19.  

“We are actually being inundated by the brand new, whereas nonetheless being overwhelmed by the outdated,” he acknowledged in his pre-recorded deal with to the annual high-level debate of the UN Normal Meeting.  

The pandemic compelled final 12 months’s debate to be held virtually completely nearly, however the 2021 session is being held in a hybrid format, combining in-person and digital participation. 

Mr. Pierre stated small island nations like Saint Lucia “proceed to deal with the near-impossible balancing act of preserving lives and livelihoods” amid the insidious twists and turns of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This contains pushing again towards misinformation concerning the virus and what he referred to as “vaccine apartheid” that has seen some international locations stockpile vaccines, “whereas different international locations watch helplessly as COVID-related deaths proceed to rise for need of a jab.”  

On the similar time, Mr. Pierre stated the pandemic “appears to have slowed down all the pieces however the deterioration of our beloved planet earth.” COVID-19 grabs the headlines, “however it’s a incontrovertible fact that the pandemic emerged at a time when the world was already on an unsustainable path to attain  the 2030 [Development] Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. 

With lower than a decade left to attain the 2030 Agenda, the Prime Minister famous that the UN Decade of Action requires pressing options in the direction of “salvaging our international dwelling quarters”.  

“It may be argued that the COVID-19 pandemic and the local weather change problem confront us with an intermeshed drawback of symptom as trigger and trigger as symptom”, he stated. “It offers us with a harsh and well timed reminder that human well being and planetary well being are linked”. 

The price of assembly these challenges and endeavor well being or local weather resilience actions, is “manner past” the monetary attain of small islands, he lamented. As such, he appealed for contributions in the direction of restoration efforts and for all nations to pay their commitments to the Adaptation and Mitigation Funds. 

Full assertion here. 

Bahamas: Elevate ambitions at COP26

Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Phillip Edward Davis, additionally referred to as for equitable distribution of vaccines, together with to small island growing States, which aren’t producers. “Additionally it is vital to make secure therapies and therapeutics accessible and to designate them as public items,” he added.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear what many people have all the time identified to be true: we’re all on this collectively,” he informed the Meeting in his in-person deal with.

“We should collaborate to finish the COVID-19 pandemic and deal with public well being points. We should cooperate to mitigate the results of local weather change. Entry to growth financing have to be satisfactory and truthful. Lagging response on any of those points can have dire penalties for the worldwide financial system,” the Prime Minister stated.

Whilst his nation was coping with the impression of the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister reminded the Meeting that simply two years in the past this month, the Bahamas had been devastated by Hurricane Dorian, one of many strongest storms ever recorded within the Atlantic, “and the bodily and emotional wreckage are nonetheless with us.”

He lamented his nation’s sense of foreboding within the wake of the storm, saying: “Each rainfall is a reminder of the horror. How can we proceed to do nothing within the face of such tragedy?” To any chief who nonetheless believed there was sufficient time to handle local weather change, he stated “I invite you to go to Abaco and Grand Bahama,” the place the devastation wrought by Dorian is now a part of the nation’s panorama.

“So, we’re not right here to name for measured steps. We’re right here to say that huge, radical change is the one response that may save our nation. We’re out of time,” Mr. Davis declared, urging states to boost their ambitions and make actual commitments to chop emissions at COP26 in Glasgow. “We don’t need that convention to be just like the previous 25,” he stated, calling for states “to not comply with the identical guarantees that received’t be stored.”

There have to be “actual progress on bridging the gaps in funding and entry to expertise and expertise,” particularly within the areas of local weather mitigation and adaptation, he stated, emphasizing the necessity for extra modern financing and debt options, together with for local weather adaptation swaps.

 He went on to level out the rising hole in international financing for assembly the  SDGs by 2030, estimated at $2.5 trillion in 2019, and reiterated his nation’s assist for the inclusion of a multidimensional vulnerability index within the decision-making of worldwide monetary establishments and the worldwide donor group. 

Antigua and Barbuda: Vaccine fairness is a international good 

Like his Bahamian counterpart, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston A. Browne, additionally concentrated his deal with on the pandemic and local weather change, which he referred to as “the 2 overarching points that confront mankind”.

Starting with COVID-19, he echoed others who spoke of the shortage of a coherent response to ending the disaster, together with vaccine inequity.

He harassed that growing international locations weren’t searching for handouts, and lots of had paid into a world system that promised early entry to vaccines, nonetheless, “egocentric nationalism” compelled many to depend on “vaccine charity.”

“No nation needed to beg for vaccines…we had been able to pay”, stated Prime Minister Browne, but most jabs manufactured by main pharmaceutical corporations had been purchased or contracted and “hoarded by a couple of rich nations”.

If, on the onset of the pandemic, growing international locations had been given entry to correct COVID-19 vaccines and medical provides, “globally, we might be in a greater place”, he asserted.

Calling inoculation discrimination, “fallacious, unjust, and patently unfair”, Mr. Browne& advocated for equitable vaccine distribution at inexpensive costs and cheaper COVID testing.

“Vaccines are a world good; they shouldn’t be a commodity for revenue on the expense of human life”, he stated.

Noting that local weather change has already had catastrophic penalties on some small island States, the Prime Minister referred to as for “international solidarity and agency commitments” to cut back international temperatures beneath 1.5 levels and supply high quality financing and local weather applied sciences “to save lots of our planet”.

Declaring that industrialized international locations have an obligation to help the States most affected by local weather change as a result of “they created an issue within the first occasion”, Mr. Browne signalled that the event funding help for small islands growing States shouldn’t be seen as a present or charity however “as a type of local weather reparations to compensate for previous local weather injury”.

Full assertion here. 

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