Fiji’s full recovery will be measured in years: PM
June 4, 2020 12:49 pm
Fiji’s full recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will be measured, not in months, but in years says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
This as 40 percent of our GDP is dependent on Tourism, and with travel restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus, the industry has been at a standstill for three months.
Bainimarama says in Fiji, Tropical Cyclone Harold arrived on the heels of our first COVID-19 case.
He says Fiji, climate-proofed its public health response to prevent the storm’s chaos from worsening the spread of the virus, and the containment strategy has since proved decisive.
But 43 days removed from the last confirmed case, Bainimarama highlighted that it’s clear the pandemic’s economic fallout is far more destructive than any storm, and far beyond Fiji’s own capabilities to constrain.
While speaking to leaders from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific in a zoom meeting, the Prime Minister highlighted that global financing frameworks were already ill-suited to confront the climate emergency, and COVID-19 has further exposed their inability to rapidly and sustainably respond to the complex realities across our regions.
Bainimarama stated that in the coming months, COVID-19 will trigger financial decisions that have the potential to reshape the world as we know it.
The Prime Minister says it is estimated that Pacific Small Island Developing States require additional economic stimulus packages of at least 15 percent of the value of our GDPs to maintain our social and economic orders.
He highlights that with our traditional revenue sources gutted, the support of our development partners, including within the European Union, and multilateral development banks is critical.
Bainimarama stated that just one third of the way in our journey towards the 2030 Agenda, we’ve arrived at a defining crossroads.
He says the world stands by and watches this crisis drive vulnerable economies into the ground, the SDGs will be all but impossible to achieve.
Socio-economic support systems will be crippled, and existing inequalities will deepen.
The Prime Minister says the ten years separating us from 2030 was meant to be a period of great unification, uplifting the lives of billions.
Bainimarama says if the international community mishandles its response to COVID-19, we risk this being a lost decade – one of irreparable consequence for our planet and human-kind.
He stressed that the developing world deserves a seat at that table and we demand to be consulted about considerations that will determine our fate.
He highlighted that the world leaders must stand in solidarity with one another, and the EU must not settle for unilateral outcomes that more closely resemble a return to colonial inequities than the inclusive future we sought to achieve.