SUVA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Fiji stressed on Friday the importance of more collective action and genuine partnerships to deal with the social-economic crisis in the post-COVID-19 period.
According to a Fijian government statement, speaking at the UN Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA), Yogesh Karan, permanent secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister of Fiji, said that with the COVID-19 pandemic directly affecting the food security, international trade and climate resilience of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), durable and genuine partnerships are important, particularly for Fiji to assist the country in its road to economic and social recovery.
Karan said the world is now in severe recession, the magnitude of which has not been experienced since the Great Depression.
"Access to concessional finance will be critical in dealing with fast-forwarded fiscal and debt risks. Also, with the bulging fiscal deficits because of our priority response to COVID-19, the role and nature of development financing instruments will become critical in trying to minimize national debt levels," he said.
"There's a need for international financial institutions, development partners and even the private sector to acknowledge the special circumstances of Small Island Developing States like ours, with targeted and accessible financing being critical now more than ever."
It is now time to bring the concerted attention on recovering better for sustainability, he said, adding that they need to invest and focus on a health system that will shield any future outbreaks and mitigate any further economic impacts.
Karan said they must resist any attempt to return to the pre-pandemic environmentally-unsustainable development path but rather capitalize on the opportunity to build sustainably, socially and economically better.
The Fijian economy is expected to contract by 21.7 percent in 2020 mainly due to poor tourism activity and its knock-on effects to the rest of the economy.
Fiji reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case on March 19. It now has nine active COVID-19 cases after 18 patients have fully recovered from the virus. Enditem