Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott. (FP)
The UN Sub-Regional Team today launched a COVID-19 Multi-sectoral Response Plan (MRP) and a US$29.7 Million Funding Appeal for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
And, this UN effort, which is to support countries in fostering international solidarity and help mobilize financial resources to meet some of their needs over the next eight months, has been praised by Barbados’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott.
During the launch, Senator Walcott expressed appreciation for the extraordinary support of the United Nations agencies, commending them for trying to help mobilize vital resources to meet the immediate to medium-term needs of the countries.
“We certainly welcome the efforts of the UN in responding to our pleas and our needs at this point in time ….
“And, I am calling on our development partners to try to help us address a number of these challenges, which are now being posed, and indeed exacerbated by COVID-19, by earmarking resources to the Eastern Caribbean through funding to this appeal,” he urged.
The Minister said small island developing states (SIDS) were already facing a number of challenges, and noted that the pandemic would have a tremendous impact on the vulnerable states.
“We have our fragile economies, dependent primarily on tourism, which has been devasted by this pandemic. We have to face external economic shocks; I believe some of us are facing…the blacklisting…from the EU as we try to create another niche for our economies.
“We have, indeed, limited access to funding; we have been told we have graduated to middle income level and we don’t qualify in terms of grant funding. We have limited fiscal space and indeed we face every year the scourge of climate change in the forms of hurricanes. And so, as we battle with all of these, we are now faced with the pandemic of COVID-19,” he lamented.
UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq, said at this time of greater global uncertainty, the Caribbean had never needed the level of assistance it required today.
“The region not only requires adequate fiscal space and resources to embark on a comprehensive socio-economic response to COVID, but it also needs technical expertise to effectively target the most vulnerable now, as well as in the longer-term as they seek to restore livelihoods and income security following this crisis.