PSIDS LEVERAGES STRONGER INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO CONTAIN COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Fiji being the hub of the Pacific and member of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) has called for stronger international and regional solidarity and cooperation to amplify the global efforts towards containing COVID-19 pandemic.

This was alluded to at a virtual meeting held today between People’s Republic of China and the Pacific Small Island Countries (PSIDS) on strengthening collaboration towards containing COVID-19.

Whilst representing Fiji, the Permanent Secretary of the Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yogesh Karan emphasised that multilateralism is central in all aspects of the region’s response to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Fiji, therefore looks forward to the adoption of the COVID-19 resolution in the World Health Assembly that not only recognises the challenges posed by the pandemic to the global community but also identifies corresponding strategies to address the current impact and curb any future outbreak through global cooperation and commitment from Member States and partners.

“Fiji believes that the pandemic will be defeated by exchanging factual information, sharing knowledge, sharing best practices and by applying the relevant guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation. The unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic can be mitigated and successfully reversed through strong leadership guided by the most updated available science and sustained global cooperation” PS Karan said.

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In commending the assistance provided by the People’s Republic of China towards Fiji and the Pacific Region, PS Karan said that the coordinated approach demonstrated the importance of a robust response based on the principles of unity and global solidarity.

The meeting provided a platform for Fiji and PSIDS to put forward its proposition and synchronize the response in consideration of the challenges and needs of the Pacific Region.

“The small states of the Pacific have special needs and circumstances. Most of us need assistance in public health and medical infrastructure to prevent and respond to the pandemic. We have limited social safety nets, some face high levels of debt and lack access to financial markets, and have a very narrow fiscal space.

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“For this reason, we have supported the call by the United Nations Secretary-General to the international community to provide significant financial resources; provide urgent debt relief and increase development assistance to help small states to respond to the scale and urgency of the challenge. Our special needs and circumstances need to be reflected in all global and bilateral responses,” PS Karan elaborated.