Fiji pushes for multilateral solidarity

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific are banking on multilateral solidarity to help support its economic and public health systems during this COVID-19 pandemic and the impact left by Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, spoke on behalf of the 12 (SIDS) at the Placencia Ambition Forum April 20-22 on how climate change and coronavirus posed threats on vulnerable communities.

“Supercharged Cateogry-5 Tropical Cyclone Harold, which caused dozens of deaths in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, is a wake-up call. You cannot practice good physical distancing in communities where homes have been blown away.”

“You cannot fly in emergency workers to provide emergency relief to communities in the path of destruction in countries which are still COVID free. Small vulnerable countries cannot respond to their worst health emergency in a century and the fiercest cyclone in a century at the same time,” Ambassador Prasad said.

In his address the Ambassador informed the forum that COVID-19 is intricately linked to climate change.

“SIDS do not have access to special concessionary funds. Middle income SIDS face particular challenges in accessing development finance at the best of times.”

Ambassador Prasad

“They compete from the same pool of resources with much larger and often higher capacity developing countries. This must change. As the most vulnerable nations in the World; SIDS must have access to earmarked funds for supporting their climate ambition and their COVID19 recovery,” the Ambassador said. 

Ambassador Prasad also commended the launch of the United Nations COVID-19 Response Fund by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to assist the (SIDS).

“SIDS should be able to access these funds to rebuild their economies while enhancing their NDC implementation at the same time. On behalf of PSIDS, I thank the UNSG for his leadership on this. I thank development partners already supporting this effort, along with Norway-UK- Denmark and others. We join the UNSG in his call upon other partners to support this effort and support this generously. Climate change is a complex development challenge that now requires a COVID-adjusted approach,” he said.

The forum is part of a series of preparatory meetings in the lead-up to COP26, which has been rescheduled to January 2021.

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