Fiji joined the call by the United Nations for global leaders to adopt a comprehensive “menu” of policy options to accelerate actions for post pandemic recovery and beyond. The full policy package will be presented to the world leaders on 29th of this month.
On Tuesday this week, a High-Level Meeting of Ministers of Finance “Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond” was convened between UN’s 193 Member States and heads of United Nations Development Program (UNDP), The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
UN Deputy Secretary-General, H.E Amina Mohammed in her introductory remarks urged finance ministers to work in solidarity to chart the way forward for swift recovery of the global economy.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement continue to be our guides. I hope you will join us in seizing this initiative to consolidate a menu of options to support your work for the immediate economic relief people need, a people’s vaccine for COVID-19, and to tackle deep injustices, inequalities and governance, while we stand ready, together, to rethink a global financial system that works for these unprecedented times,” Ms. Mohammed said.
Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum called for reform to a multilateral financial system “out-of-touch with the realities of those most vulnerable” and urged affordable financing be made available on more “realistic terms” for small developing states.
The Attorney-General presented a menu of options and frameworks for consideration by world leaders aimed at promoting a speedy and inclusive global economic recovery.
“Small states’ recovery requires greater certainty. We need certainty if we are to stave off fiscal catastrophe; the certainty of longer-term debt relief; the certainty of more affordable financing; the certainty that –– as treatments and a vaccine become available –– small developing states are not stuck at the back of the queue.”
Fiji’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr Satyendra Prasad who co-chairs this process together with Ambassadors from UK, EU and Rwanda said “that this was an important moment for the international community. Even under a difficult political environment globally, Fiji was able to work intensely with the EU, UK and Rwanda to solicit a rich and wide range of inputs from many countries; from global thought leaders; from global trade union leaders; from international women’s organisations and civil society and distill these into a powerful, feasible and actionable set of policy proposals”.
Ambassador Prasad said that “between now and the UN General Assembly, in late September, the views of over 60 Finance Ministers attending this Forum will be further examined to present a revised set of proposals for consideration by World Leaders. Fiji’s Prime Minister, Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama will be attending this virtual meeting on 29th September.
Ambassador Prasad further stated that “international community now has in its hands the frameworks and policies that can help “reposition the World on the path to a sustainable recovery, a return of jobs and livelihoods and a health response to COVID that is inclusive and leaves no country behind. They need to take it to the next level and shape a cohesive global response”.
As the co-chairs of the UN Team at this meeting, Finance and Economy heads of UK, Rwanda, EU, and Fiji have called “for investments in resilient health systems, renewable energy, and digital connectivity to close the digital divide”. The Ministers called for “transformational changes to encourage large scale mobilisation of financial resources needed to support a sustainable recovery globally.
The Minister’s called for a “favourable consideration of new policy frameworks that is needed to restore the global economy on a path of inclusive sustainable development”. The Attorney-General joined his counterparts from UK’s Chancellor of Exchequer Hon. Rishi Sunak, Rwanda’s Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Hon Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana and the European Union’s Commissioner for Economy, Hon Paolo Gentiloni.
The Ministers’ called for “better alignment of national development plans and programs with the global goals of the SDG2030 agenda and with the Paris Agreement. The Ministers have proposed a range of measures “for raising resources to finance both emergency response as well as more sustainable recovery in the context of the global COVID-19 Pandemic. They called for prioritisation of investments in health systems, renewable energy, and for sustainable and inclusive development”.