Vanuatu : PM Loughman Calls for Debt Forgiveness

DAILY POST – Adorina Massing, 28 September 2020

Prime Minister Bob Loughman has made a call of debt forgiveness while delivering his official address in a pre-recorded video during the United Nations 75th General Debate Session on September 27th.

Mr Loughman said COVID-19 has resulted in mounting deaths in countries around the world and it is essential that the multilateral financial institutions provide debt forgiveness and consent.

“This should be accompanied with tailored concessional finance packages and grants; this measure will ensure there is adequate physical space for countries to finance the implementation of their sustainable development priorities.”

He also said that Climate Financing needs to increase to ensure the recapitalization of financial instruments such as the Green Climate Fund.

“We call for the processes to access these funds to be simplified and made easier to access in order to allow small island developing states like Vanuatu to implement their climate change mitigation and adaptation priorities, reflected on various frameworks of implementation, including the national determent contribution.”

He added that the UN needs to find ways to address the risky measures adopted by large international banks that has prevented small developing islands to set up corresponding banking relationships without involvement of domestic banks.

“It is imperative to ensure that every country can get timely fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines which means working cooperatively, not competitively.

“2020 has been a year of unparalleled challenges, COVID-19 has unleashed a complex web of health, economic and social issues that has tested the Government, business and community system.

“Around the world, we see the fallout of the pandemic which results in community division, escalating political tensions, changing trade relations and threatening peace.

“This pandemic has exposed existing vulnerabilities and alerted to us, the traits of new ones.”

The Prime Minister said as a small open island economy located in the South Pacific, Vanuatu understands the importance of global solidarity.

“We know by experience that we are always better off working together than in isolation.

“This time of crisis has heightened our mutual responsibilities to strengthen people’s faith in multilateral cooperation and international institutions.

“The United Nations with each universal membership plays a vital role in addressing our shared challenges. Even though we are not able to travel or talk in person, we will continue to find ways to harness our collective commitment with this vision of ending our pandemic and resetting our planet on a sustainable and peaceful footing.”

“The global solidarity and consented international cooperation we forged today will make us stronger to tackle these challenges together.”

Mr Loughman was proud to report there are no confirmed nor suspected cases of COVID-19 in Vanuatu.

“Amidst the uncertainty and chaos, this is a special year for us. With our pending graduation on December as a success story.

“In our 40 years as an independent country, we are ready for the next phase of our development journey, we are ready to make that step despite the catastrophe that has been unleashed by the pandemic and tropical cyclone which will reverberate for many years to come.

“We are proud of our achievements and we are mindful that we still have a long way to achieve our sustainable development goals.”

He concluded by stating, “we would rather build on our efforts and those of our development partners and graduate now with an extended smooth transition period than risk spilling back into the LDC category or hold the graduation entirely, it is for that reason that we are seeking the aid of the bilateral, regional and multilateral development and trading partners to provide full support to the implementation of the smooth transition strategy prepared by Vanuatu in particular the priority measures for an extended support measures related to trade and participation in international forum.”

“We must keep moving forward and not defer back to how it was before.”

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