JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has called for more detailed attention to be given to the adverse impact of the global crisis on developing countries, as they struggle to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Most of us are among the least resilient with no surpluses to mount counter-cyclical stimulus initiatives. Many of the gains we made through considerable effort and sacrifice have gone into reverse. For many of us, it is as if we must start all over again. The slow pace of global recovery suggests that it may be some time before we will get going again,” Mr. Golding told the High-Level Plenary on the Millennium Development Goals on Tuesday (September 21) at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The Prime Minister cautioned that developing states are in danger of failing targets, which they set for themselves at the Millennium Summit a decade ago, as 10 years later nearly 1.5 billion people still live in extreme poverty.
He said that in the race to 2015, many developing countries were lagging behind, even before the global crisis, due to issues such as inadequate investment in human resource, an international trading system that treats developing states as equal to developed countries, and mounting debt.
“In our efforts to achieve our Millennium targets, we have increased as much as we can our social welfare programmes but this is, in a sense, illusionary for it is done at the expense of more self-sustaining, developmental initiatives. Real achievement in the reduction or elimination of poverty is to be measured not by the number of people kept out of poverty by fiscal cash transfers but by the number that escape poverty without the need for such programmes. The Millennium goals must, therefore, be seen as a development imperative, not merely as statistical targets,” he asserted.
Mr. Golding said that while developing nations appreciate the constraints facing developed countries as a result of the recession, “we urge them not to renege on or postpone their commitments on overseas development assistance. If that was needed when the commitments were made, it is needed even more now.”
Furthermore, he said, an institutional framework is required with innovative provisions calibrated toward enabling developing countries to accelerate their development momentum. “Time bind it to create the needed sense of urgency, establish without excessive bureaucracy, clear guidelines for its implementation, and monitor them vigilantly. But let’s do it! Let us make things happen rather than let things happen to us,” he urged.
Mr. Golding reiterated his appeal for special consideration to be given to small and vulnerable economies like Jamaica, which are classified as middle-income countries and, therefore, not eligible for certain concessionary and development financing.
“In the Caribbean, a hurricane lasting but a few hours can set the country back 10 years, and it does. A fallout in tourist travel such as occurred after 9/11 can devastate an economy, which depends as much as 60 per cent on tourism. It is simply not fair for us to be treated as well advanced toward economic security when the possibility of a major setback is never far away,” he told the high level plenary.

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