SUNBIZ

UK Champions Access To Finance In Virtual Meeting On 21 October

They have a high vulnerability to natural disasters, and will suffer as sea levels rise and fragile ecosystems and biodiversity come under threat.
23 Oct 2020 14:09
UK Champions Access To Finance In Virtual Meeting On 21 October

The UK, working with Fiji and Belize, brought together Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in a virtual meeting chaired from Suva on 21 October to discuss better access to finance and identify solutions for a resilient recovery from coronavirus.

The UK remains committed to supporting SIDS. We have recognised the twin impact of climate change and COVID-19. SIDS face unique challenges which global systems were not always geared to respond to. SIDS are on the frontline of climate change and are already bearing the brunt of its impacts.

They have a high vulnerability to natural disasters, and will suffer as sea levels rise and fragile ecosystems and biodiversity come under threat.

They also face significant challenges for employment, government revenues, and export income, most acutely from tourism and remittances which are highly vulnerable to economic shocks and
climate change.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these issues, putting more pressure on SIDS’ finances and diverting resources from ongoing work to protect against natural disasters and climate change.

The conference aimed to find practical recommendations for improving access to concessional finance to support continued progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Fiji Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum delivered the keynote address. He noted a need for development partners, including multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, to develop
agile solutions tailored to SIDS’ circumstances.

He said SIDS needed space to innovate through country-driven solutions also recommended a focus on reducing
the cost of accessing blended financing solutions.

He also spoke of the need for SIDS to have access to COVID-19 vaccines which would enable revival of heavily impacted economies.

In closing remarks, Lord Goldsmith, UK Minister for the Pacific and InternationalEnvironment, noted that discussions have highlighted how the pandemic has added to the challenges faced by SIDs. He underlined that as COP26 President, the UK was committed to working closely with SIDS to ensure their voices are heard, and that their
needs are met.

Jean-Paul Penrose, Head of UK Development Cooperation in the Pacific, said that “coronavirus amplified the vulnerability of SIDS like Fiji to climate change and other shocks and stresses.

It threatened to reverse the hard fought for development gains in health, education and economic development. Without support there is a risk that the Pacific would not meet the SDGs”.



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