1st Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of the OACPS
Theme: “Transcending the COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity”
Agenda Item 4: Discussion on Key Global Solidarity Actions
The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP
Prime Minister of Jamaica
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
When we met in Nairobi last year, we resolved to deepen and strengthen our solidarity as a group of developing states. Little did we know that only a few weeks later, the Novel Corona Virus would be declared a “Global Health Emergency” and then later a Pandemic, severely eroding our resilience and even reversing the hard-earned gains of sustainable development.
CARIFORUM States have experienced devastating impacts in multiple areas including health, education, culture, trade and finance. The mainstays of most of our economies; agriculture and tourism, were hardest hit by a staggering fallout in revenue and employment. These experiences are certainly echoed across ACP states. This global crisis is a resounding call to action for nothing less than a comprehensive revision of the system of global economic governance that will promote sustainable development, even in the face of a pandemic. This includes redefining development indices, ameliorating inequalities and addressing economic imbalance.
Regional cooperation can also promote the reorientation of our societies to adjust to the ‘new normal’ that we must now embrace. Institutions such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) have played a sterling role in instituting health protocols that have helped to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and its effects on Caribbean societies. Collaboration with regional health agencies across the OACPS and the exchange of information, technical expertise and best practices are essential. Bilateral partnerships, among multilateral institutions and private sector participation are critical in the battle and recovery from COVID-19. In addition to financial resources, they can offer well needed investment especially in the areas of research and innovation.
The Pandemic has no doubt threatened lives and livelihoods, however it has also provided us with an opportunity to reconfigure our societies to work smarter and safer by further integrating technology and innovation in our productive activities. As a forward looking Organisation, let us commit to using the opportunity the crisis presents to “build back better”.
Although the global disparities are increasing, we in the CARIFORUM Group believe that new institutional arrangements can address the current deficiencies, so that we all emerge renewed, in the face of this global crisis.
- Let us pursue this new architecture!
- Mr. Chairman, colleagues and friends I thank you for the opportunity to share my views.