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Jul 16, 2021

Minister Courtenay Addresses UN Political forum on Sustainable Development

Eamon Courtenay

Belize’s Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay made a virtual presentation to the United Nations today at a high political forum in Sustainable Development. The event observes the Seventy-fifth anniversary of the UN’s Social and Economic Council. Minister Courtenay spoke about Belize’s recent experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the Council is an appropriate vehicle to lead and coordinate policies small states such as Belize need. He also said there is a need for a universally agreed-upon vulnerability index.


Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I would like to thank the Secretary General for his informative reports on resilient recovery from the covid-19 pandemic. And the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Mr. President, we meet at a time when the future of our people and our planet hang in the balance. The course that we chart from now will determine whether the aspirations of a better life will be attainable for the seven hundred million people who are suffering in extreme poverty and whether our planet will be able to sustain humanity and provide for our shared prosperity. The covid-19 pandemic has had devastating impact upon the already deleterious consequences of climate change exposing he uncomfortable truth that the progress we have made is fragile. For Belize, the impact of the pandemic has been truly catastrophic. Our economy contracted by 14.1% in 2020; governments debt-to-GDP ratio ballooned to 130%. Unemployment doubled to 29%, and the latest data shows an increase in poverty now half our population. The challenges of the pandemic merely exacerbated our vulnerability and magnified the existential threats posed by climate change. While contending with the pandemic, Belize also battled a drought and the effects of two late season hurricanes in 2020 which all together caused more than 50 million US dollars in damages. The experience of Belize is mirrored by many developing countries and in particular by small island and low lying coastal states. We believe that the multilateral system is well suited to provide solutions and approaches to common challenges and to protect global gains which our countries, acting alone, cannot achieve. Therefore, the future of our planet and people will depend on the ability of the multilaterals system to deliver a post pandemic recovery that is inclusive, equitable and green.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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