“Financial liquidity is available around the world today and is essential to allow SIDs to rebuild better,” he said at a special high-level meeting, held online.
Caught in “a perfect storm”
There are approximately 60 SIDS worldwide, located in three geographic regions: Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS).
Although their combined population of 65 million is slightly less than 1% of the world’s population, the UN recognizes the unique social, economic and environmental challenges they face.
Although the pandemic caused severe hardship and damage globally, Akram said it particularly affected SIDS, affecting every aspect of life in these countries.
“For the SIDs, this was a perfect storm: financial, natural and social,” he said.
“Their revenues virtually evaporated with the end of tourism, due to blockages, trade impediments, falling commodity prices and supply chain disruptions. The high debt excess, high internal risk and short-term debt are creating financial problems that are impossible for their ability to recover from the crisis. ”
At the same time, SIDS has also faced the brunt of the climate crisis. “There has been an increase in climatic events, hurricanes and even the recent eruption of the volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,” he added, referring to the growing crisis in the Caribbean country.
The ECOSOC chief stressed that SIDS, however, was largely ineligible for debt relief during the pandemic. They also received little in the way of international support for climate adaptation and loss and damage. Their sustainable development is at risk, he warned.
Innovative solutions are needed
“It is said that we must ‘rebuild better, but in order for SIDs to relaunch the development path, it is essential that they receive the required financial and international support, commensurate with the challenges they are facing,” he said.
Mr. Akram called for innovative solutions to allow SIDS to access global funding.
“SIDS should be helped to prepare a pipeline of projects that are suitable for financial investments and this must be an essential part of the transformation in development modules to decrease their vulnerability to such pandemics and events,” he recommended.