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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has called on members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to work together to address the development challenges posed by the current global pandemic.
Mr. Holness, who was addressing the first virtual Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of Heads of State and Government of the OACPS on Wednesday (June 2), said that the pandemic has severely eroded the resilience of countries and even reversed the hard-earned gains of sustainable development.
“CARIFORUM states have experienced devastating impacts in multiple areas including health, education, culture, trade and finance,” he pointed out.
“The mainstay of most of our economies – agriculture and tourism – were hardest hit by staggering fallout in revenue and employment.
These experiences are certainly echoed across ACP States,” he added.
The Prime Minister noted that when the OACPS last met in Nairobi, Kenya, the members had resolved to deepen and strengthen their solidarity as a group of developing States.
“In Nairobi, we committed to strengthening multilateralism for development. Let us, therefore, engage our institutions to consider innovative solutions,” he urged.
Mr. Holness noted that while the pandemic has summoned increased coordinated responses from the international community, including the United Nation (UN) Secretary General’s launch of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, there is need for a comprehensive revision of the system of global economic governance to promote sustainable development.
“This includes redefining development indices, ameliorating inequalities and addressing economic imbalance,” Mr. Holness said.
At the same time, he said that the pandemic has provided an opportunity for developing countries to reconfigure their societies to work smarter and safer by further integrating technology and innovation in their productive activities.
The OACPS summit, under the theme ‘Transcending the COVID-19 Pandemic: Building Resilience through Global Solidarity,’ was held to assess the current global COVID-19 situation, and in particular, the effects and consequences to the members of the OACPS.
In addition, it provided an opportunity for members to identify areas for global solidarity and action.