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Dec 3, 2020

COVID-19 and Regional Indebtedness

John Briceño

During his address, PM Briceño highlighted the debilitating impact of COVID-19 on small island developing states, including Belize, which is already buckling under the disastrous weight of climate change. 

 

John Briceño, Chair, Alliance of Small Island Developing States

“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our countries amplified our advocacy for access to grants and concessional financing.  There was just no way that we could meet the cost of safeguarding our health systems providing social safety nets for our citizens and continue to meet our financial obligations.  SIDS just didn’t have the liquidity to meet these competing duties.  We did what we could, we repurposed where possible and borrowed when we could ill-afford it, but now the situation grows more urgent.  The existing resources in SIDS are about to dry up and the debtors are waiting by the door.  We therefore continue to call for an overhaul of the international financial system to address our challenges of indebtedness, limited fiscal space and vulnerability to market volatility.  To have emerged out of this pandemic without tangible changes to the international financial system, to enable vulnerable countries access to resources they so desperately need would be a complete loss.  This is the critical moment to galvanize our commitments to collective action so that the most vulnerable countries can catch our breath as our economies are choked by the socioeconomic impacts of this crisis.  In these times of multiple crises, it would seem that we have already lost the battle, yet some continue to belligerently advocate for update metrics and archaic systems that not only predate this crisis but is also detached from the reality on the ground.”


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