Developing countries bear the brunt of upheaval in global economy: Belize

Janine Elizabeth Coye-Felson, representative of Belize

NARRATOR: The international community has had to grapple with the negative effects of successive interlocking crises – from the food crisis and the fuel crisis to one of the most devastating financial crises of recent times.

That's what the representative of Belize JANINE ELIZABETH COYE-FELSON told the General Assembly's Economic and Financial Committee as it opened debate in the 66th session of the Assembly.

Speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and aligning with the Group of 77 and China, Ms. Coye-Felson said that amid upheavals in the global economy, there was additional widespread concern that the world was on the cusp of another major downturn, a prospect of particular concern to developing economies, especially small and vulnerable economies that had yet to begin recovering from the 2008 crisis.

TAPE: "Despite not having caused the initial crisis, developing countries have borne the brunt of its negative effects due to their pre-existing vulnerabilities. The effects on the small, open economies of the Caribbean have been particularly severe. We have experienced reduced revenue from tourism, a downturn in remittances, the contraction of our financial sectors and a steep decline in the demand for export commodities. The incipient recovery in the CARICOM countries' main industrial economic partners was too "anaemic and irregular" to translate into immediate strong, positive effects on economic activity in our region. According to the Caribbean development Bank, in 2010, economies contracted in 12 Caribbean countries and increased by 0.5% to 3.6% in 6 countries. Labour market effects were severe with rising levels of unemployment, reduced working hours and wage cuts or wage freezes, all of which in a widespread situation of price inflation decreased household real incomes and depressed levels of living, especially among the socially and economically marginalized. A further downturn in the global economy will no doubt exacerbate these negative developments and, like other developing countries, CARICOM member States will require support to forestall the potentially long lasting negative impact which the crisis may have on their levels of production, economic stability and their development prospects more generally.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Coye-Felson noted that the depth and breadth of the ongoing crisis have laid bare the extent of our interconnectedness,

She said what is needed is the undertaking of comprehensive reforms.

TAPE: Such reforms must reflect current global realities rather than the state of play nearly 70 years ago, if we are to have an international financial system that is more responsive and development-oriented. In this connection, CARICOM reiterates its call for steps to be taken to ensure that the perspectives of developing countries, particularly those which are small and vulnerable, are brought to bear on the deliberations of the Bretton Woods institutions. While we acknowledge the reforms which have taken place to date, they have been insufficient. We again call for effective follow-up to the Conference on the World Financial Crisis and its Impact on Development and wish to register our concern that, some two years after the conference, the working group is yet to be constituted. CARICOM looks forward to the Fifth High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development which will take place during this session and which, we anticipate will serve to underscore the inextricable links between Financing for Development and the fulfillment of Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.

NARRATOR: Noting that the G-20 countries had met recently to address development issues for the first time, Ambassador Coye-Felson said its actions must respect the central role of the United Nations. The G-20 should also endeavour to include the perspectives of a wider cross-section of developing countries in its deliberations. She called for the challenges faced by middle-income developing countries — a category encompassing the majority of CARICOM States — to be addressed, underscoring the need for attention to their concerns in the areas of debt and debt sustainability.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 4’06″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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