UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Leaders from the Caribbean have called for strengthened global cooperation and financing mechanisms to overcome the health crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and recover from its massive socio-economic fallout.
They made the appeal in their pre-recorded addresses to the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
Nations have to re-imagine the ways they cooperate as they respond to COVID-19, said Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Saturday.
"Persistent global problems require consistent cooperation to achieve strategic global solutions," he said, citing the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund as an excellent example of such effective multilateral cooperation.
The fund supports low and middle-income countries in overcoming the health and development crisis caused by the pandemic and support those most vulnerable to economic hardship and social disruption.
Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago told world leaders on Saturday that as with other small island developing states battling the impact of COVID-19, his country had to "walk a thin line" between saving lives and preserving livelihoods. It closed its borders and implemented physical distancing, making adjustments as needed to protect the most vulnerable.
He applauded the World Health Organization for its leadership and commended healthcare and frontline workers everywhere for saving lives.
"The COVID-19 pandemic presents an existential threat of unmatched proportions to human health and safety around the world," he said.
Hubert Minnis, prime minister of the Bahamas, on Friday expressed his solidarity with all other nations in fighting COVID-19 and his condolences over the loss of lives.
"Little did we know that just a few months later, an even greater challenge would emerge, forcing the world to come to a grinding halt, at a proportion not witnessed since the Second World War," he said.
The Bahamas, like so many others, had to act decisively to keep the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading, but with tourism as the main earner for the islands, the closure of borders led to the sharpest decline of visitors, precipitating widespread economic slowdown and unprecedented unemployment, he said.
In response, his government rolled out unemployment benefit and social security programs, including national food distribution initiative.
The prime minister applauded the G20 for suspending debt service payments for the least developed countries.
In terms of vaccines, the prime minister said developing countries should be able to access vaccines "via a transparent procurement process at affordable market rates." Enditem