Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has called on the international community to design more creative and flexible financial instruments and concessionary products, to counter the effects of debt, reduce poverty, and minimise and address risks in developing countries, particularly in the Caribbean.
She made the call during the plenary session of the United Nations Conference On Sustainable Development (Rio+20), in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, on Thursday, June 21.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said one such measure specifically, is to address the urgent need for a mechanism for catastrophic insurance for reconstruction and recovery of vulnerable developing countries, given the frequency of major natural disasters in recent times. “Such a mechanism should provide long term concessionary financing to affected states without stringent conditionalities,” she argued.
The Prime Minister said that since the first Rio conference 20 years ago, progress had been mixed, as the levels of development, environmental protection and social inclusion envisaged, had fallen short of international aspirations or, indeed, expectation.
“The unacceptable levels of poverty and underdevelopment which still exist in developing countries underscore the wide gaps between developed and developing countries and between social groupings within our countries. These need to be addressed urgently. As leaders, we must take responsibility for ensuring that they get done,” she asserted.
Mrs. Simpson Miller told the session that “sustainable development is without meaning unless it takes full account of the ‘triple bottom line’ – the social, economic and environmental pillars”. These three pillars must be used to redress historic social inequities, build an economic base to improve standards of living, and enhance the resilience of our economies to external shocks and natural hazards, she emphasised.
The Prime Minister pointed out that for its part, the Jamaican government had sought to cluster land, water and environment with climate change under a single Ministry, to ensure that it is approached with an integrated focus.
“This is a very critical area of concern for developing countries in general, and for us in the Caribbean, because of our vulnerabilities,” she said.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter