The United Nations today launched a 59.4 million-dollar (US$29.7 million) appeal and a response plan to mobilize resources from bilateral and multilateral donors, private sector and international financial institutions to support recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.
The initiatives are part of the UN’s efforts to support countries in fostering international solidarity and helping to mobilize financial resources to meet some of their needs over the next eight months.
It is aimed at supporting the ongoing advocacy by the Eastern Caribbean states for differential treatment based on their vulnerability and to support their access to more resources.
The UN’s COVID-19 Multi-sectoral Response Plan is intended to contain the spread of the virus, minimize its social and economic impacts and ensure resilient recovery and to promote the protection and well-being of the most vulnerable, the UN said.
At a virtual launch of the appeal, the UN’s Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Didier Trecebq announced that up to $14 million (US$7 million) had already been garnered by the UN.
Trecebq said: “I want to assure Governments and people of the Eastern Caribbean that you have our full support.
“At this time of greater global uncertainty, the Caribbean has never before needed the level of assistance that it requires 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”
Also attending the virtual launch, Foreign Minister Senator Dr Jerome Walcott thanked the UN for its assistance even as he used the opportunity to touch on other challenges facing Barbados as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), including the possible blacklisting of its financial services regime by the European Union.
Senator Walcott said: “Barbados is extremely pleased to be part of this launch with the UN in terms of the funding appeal. We all recognize that the world has been struck by this global pandemic.
“This group of countries in the Caribbean, small island developing states (SIDS), we already face a number of challenges and it occurs almost at a time when it is too much to bear in terms of what we’re faced with daily and yearly.
“In terms of the high economic impact that this will have on us, on our already vulnerable states, we have our fragile economies dependent primarily on tourism which has been devastated by this pandemic, we have faced external economic shocks, I believe that some of us are facing in terms of the blacklisting coming from the EU as we try to create another niche for our economies.
“We have indeed limited access to funding, we’ve been told that we’ve 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 scourges of climate change in the form of hurricanes and so as we battle with all of these we are now faced with a pandemic situation, the pandemic of COVID.
“Some of us are reeling under these hardships already. We have limited healthcare resources and infrastructure and the UN is to be praised for the effort it is making in this regard in recognizing the issues that we face as developing states in the Caribbean.”
The Foreign Minister stressed the need for new global leadership and the importance of multilateralism.
Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.
Sign up and stay up to date with Barbados' FREE latest news.