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Prime Minister’s opening remarks at the United Nations High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

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Hello everyone. Welcome.

Thank you all for joining us.

And thank you to my co-hosts, Secretary-General Guterres and Prime Minister Holness.

We have organizations like the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, the private sector, and over 50 countries represented here today.

We wanted to bring this diverse group together because to address the current crisis, we need to think outside the box.

I don’t need to tell you that over the past few months, far too many people have died and far too many communities have been shattered because of the global pandemic.

COVID-19 is a health crisis, but on a global scale, it has prompted an economic and social crisis as well.  

And that’s why we are here, at the United Nations.

This is truly a global challenge, with many dimensions.

As Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados has so eloquently put it, this virus transcends borders, threatening lives and livelihoods everywhere.

We have all been affected by the pandemic, but some countries have been hit harder than others.

The pandemic is testing our social, economic, and political resilience.

And those who are most vulnerable in our societies—including seniors, refugees, small business owners, and young people—are suffering the worst consequences.

The magnitude of these economic and social shocks could plunge tens of millions of people into extreme poverty and threaten hard-won development gains in a number of countries.

The situation will likely be especially catastrophic for women and girls living in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which could intensify the difficulties they will face when the recovery stage begins.

We cannot let this happen.

This pandemic is a stark reminder of just how interconnected our world has become.

To keep our citizens safe and healthy, we must defeat COVID-19 wherever it is found.

And for the global economy to recover, and for our domestic economies to bounce back, we need a global, coordinated plan.

Our citizens need to have confidence in international institutions that leave no one behind and are capable of overcoming global challenges.

We know that jobs and businesses in each of our countries depend on the health and stability of economies everywhere.

It matters to all of us how this global economy weathers this storm.

Our success – both at home and together as an international community – hinges on it.

Slowing the spread of the virus, protecting our citizens, and preparing for recovery is an unprecedented—and very expensive—challenge, even for countries like Canada.

So we cannot expect small countries, which have neither the same resources nor the same infrastructure as ours, and are facing much more serious consequences than we are, to be able to beat the virus on their own.

We need to recognize the specific challenges that developing countries in Africa and small island states are facing.

We must implement a comprehensive and sustainable international response.

And that’s what has brought us together here today.

We’re bringing together not only world leaders, but also key experts from various fields who can help us better understand and address economic implications of this pandemic.

This is our chance to begin a conversation on how we can emerge from this truly global crisis as a stronger and more cohesive world – one that creates growth for everyone, addresses inequality, and cares for the most vulnerable.

Over the coming months, we will all be working together in different work streams to bring forward ambitious but pragmatic solutions.

Canada is ready to do our part as we help bring the world together in the fight against COVID-19.

COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for our modern world, but it’s also a unique opportunity to build a better future, to create a safe and prosperous world, and an international system that recognizes who’s left behind and strives to lift them up.

Once again, thank you all for joining us in this important discussion.