Mr President,I join others in congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. We are confident that your extensive diplomatic experience will guide your leadership of this Session. You can be assured of the support and cooperation of Jamaica during your tenure.
I extend Jamaica’s appreciation to His Excellency Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann for his energetic and visible leadership of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly.
Global Economic Crisis
Mr. President,
We meet at a critical juncture, as the world confronts multiple crises – the global financial and economic crisis, food, energy and the climate crises, joined by the H1N1 pandemic. Both developed and developing countries are affected by these crises. It is the poorest and the most vulnerable, however, who are disproportionately affected, and who are least capable of responding.
Even as major economies are reporting their emergence from the global recession, the outlook for most developing countries remains bleak. For many developing countries, there are no early signs of so-called “green shoots” of economic recovery.
For the majority of these countries, the impact of the recession will be deep, it will be prolonged and it will be painful. The irony is that developing countries are hapless victims of a crisis for which they are inculpable.
The synchronized nature of the downturn in the world economy means that its repercussion is evident in virtually every sphere – inflows of financing and investment have plunged precipitously; exports are weak; and commodity prices are low; Official Development Assistance has diminished drastically.
These consequences are reflected in Jamaica and throughout the CARICOM region. Countries like ours now face the daunting challenge of protecting the most vulnerable of their citizens in a responsible and sustainable manner in the context of declining export demand, contraction in services, including tourism, and lower remittances. Like most developing countries, the fiscal and financial stress has forced us to make significant adjustments to our expenditure programmes.
The distressing reality is that we in the developing world have limited scope and capacity to mitigate the impact of the crisis. We neither have the fiscal flexibility nor the policy space to afford ambitious stimulus packages to respond effectively to the upheavals in our economy.
A major corollary of the economic downturn is the problem of debt servicing and debt sustainability. Many developing countries could be on the verge of a debt crisis and require special support to help them attenuate the impact of the global crisis. Jamaica has always supported efforts to assist Highly Indebted Poor Countries who have benefited from debt relief initiatives.
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