NEW YORK: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an additional $400 million in international development funding this year in connection with the COVId-19 pandemic.
Trudeau along with Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday convened the second High-Level event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.
Heads of state, governments, and international organizations met to discuss how to bolster and urgently accelerate our global response to the immediate significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions to international development over the medium and long-term.
More than 60 leaders participated in the virtual event, which took place on the margins of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
The new Canadian funding will go to trusted partners on the ground fighting COVID‑19, and will enable Canada to support the recovery and resilience of developing countries.
It will also address short-term humanitarian and development needs caused by the pandemic and other crises. The ultimate objective is to ensure that the development gains made over the past decade are not lost, and ensure that 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not at risk.
Of the US$11 trillion that has been spent globally to respond to the financial impacts of the pandemic so far, 88% has been disbursed by high-income countries, compared to only 2.5% by emerging and developing economies.
Canada declared that it will make sure that women and girls, who have been disproportionally impacted by the consequences of COVID‑19, benefit from this new funding.
Trudeau said: “Global cooperation is crucial to protect people, save lives, and defeat COVID-19. Our investments will also help preserve the hard-won development gains we have made collectively that have lifted millions of people out of poverty these past decades.”
During the meeting, Trudeau said: “At this moment, we have the opportunity to reimagine our economic systems, reaffirm our common understanding of a more sustainable and inclusive recovery and re-establish momentum toward achieving the SDGs to build back better. Only together can we lay the foundations of a better world.”
In a tweet after the meeting, Trudeau said: “This pandemic can’t be solved by any one country alone – we must face this challenge together. Because to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere. That’s why, today, I reaffirmed Canada’s support for a global solution to this global challenge.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed almost one million lives and resulted in more than 32 million confirmed cases, has gone beyond a health and humanitarian crisis to also become an unprecedented global development emergency. The pandemic is expected to drive close to 100 million to extreme poverty, the first such increase since 1998.
An estimated additional 265 million people could face acute food shortages by the end of 2020. By the end of this year, 12 000 people could die from COVID-19 related hunger.
The International Labour Organization estimates the equivalent of 500 million jobs have been lost so far this year. This has widened economic inequalities, disproportionately impacting developing countries and vulnerable groups.
Through the High-Level event, the global community is coming together to enable recovery and build a future that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
The Jamaican leader Andrew Holness said societies of the world must come together in a deliberate way to drive the rebuilding efforts so that collectively we will rebound stronger from the far-reaching impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “We are at a critical point where now, more than ever, global cooperation and collaboration are essential to recovery.
The Government of Canada continues to further global leadership on financing for international development and is investing more while supporting developing countries on their economic recoveries and resilience.
The Government of Canada recently committed $220 million through the COVAX Advance Market Commitment to purchase vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries, because we cannot beat this virus unless we end it everywhere.
• The meeting was a follow-up to the first High-Level event held on May 28, in which participants were asked to develop proposals to overcome challenges in six areas of action, including:
1.The need to expand liquidity in the global economy and maintain financial stability to safeguard development gains.
2.The need to address debt vulnerabilities for all developing countries to save lives and livelihoods for billions of people around the world.
3.The need to create a space in which private-sector creditors can proactively engage ineffective and timely solutions.
4.Prerequisites for enhancing external finance and remittances for inclusive growth and creating jobs.
5.Measures to expand fiscal space and foster domestic resource mobilization by preventing illicit financial flows.
6.Ensuring a sustainable and inclusive recovery by aligning recovery policies with the Sustainable Development Goals.
• The proposals considered at the High-Level event will inform discussions and mobilize additional action at high-level meetings such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings and the G20 Leaders’ Summit, taking place later in 2020.
• The High-Level event follows the September 8 convening of Finance Ministers, during
which close to 40 Ministers and Vice-Ministers of Finance from around the world met to discuss a menu of policy options to identify people-centred solutions to the global economic fallout from COVID-19.
The meeting also discussed:
Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine—mobilize the resources to fund the COVAX Initiative to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and guarantee fair and equitable access for all countries around the world.
Ensuring that countries have access to sufficient liquidity—support a new US$650 billion general allocation of Special Drawing Rights and a US$100 billion voluntary redistribution of Special Drawing Rights to developing and vulnerable countries, including Middle-Income Countries.