Minister Shahid calls for structural change and innovative financial instruments to assist the most vulnerable countries in embarking on a post-COVID-19 resilient economy, at the Forty-Fourth Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Group of 77 and China

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, today participated in the Forty-fourth Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China. The annual meeting was held virtually this year under the theme “Global Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the obstacles it poses to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs”. The meeting brought together Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all Member States of the Group of 77 and China to discuss priority areas for the Group and a Ministerial Declaration was adopted at the meeting.

In his statement, Minister Shahid reiterated the importance of the goals of the Group in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including solidarity, cooperation required to build back better and upholding the value of the multilateral system during this pandemic. He also said that COVID-19 is expected to induce a much deeper recession due to its effects on demand and supply both in developed and developing countries. He further noted that COVID-19 will intensify poverty and inequality, derailing progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Minister Shahid also highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable countries such as Small Island Developing States. He welcomed the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative, while urging G77 to call on the G20 countries to extend their initiative until the end of 2021. He echoed G77’s calls for debt relief support measures and for additional financing to developing countries not to be tied to any conditionality, and encouraged comprehensive solutions towards debt sustainability. He further called for an international climate finance regime that considers the multi-dimensional vulnerability index to achieve the goals outlined in the SAMOA Pathway, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. He reiterated that G77 must call upon financial institutions and development banks to become more flexible in their approach to concessional financing and commended the south-south cooperation of G77 countries in supporting each other during the crisis.

Furthermore, he noted the importance of gender equality for sustainable development and acknowledged that prolonged lockdowns around the world have led to a stark increase in abuse. He outlined Maldives’ commitment towards enhancing the capabilities of helplines, shelters and emergency funds for victims and survivors of gender-based violence. Minister Shahid further noted that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda will require recognizing the contributions of young people, increasing investments in their projects and including them at all levels of decision-making. This, Minister Shahid said, will allow the youth to build a fairer, more sustainable and inclusive society.

In conclusion, Minister Shahid called for the demonstration of unity through collective action and commitment to a robust multilateral system that aims for a resilient recovery in line with the 2030 Agenda. He reiterated that multilateralism is a key tenet to creating a more just and peaceful world that leaves no one behind.

The Group of 77 and China (G77) at the United Nations is a coalition of 134 developing countries, designed to promote its members’ collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations.


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