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Small Island Developing States “drowning in debt,” seek relief from donor countries

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louis young

Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020. 9:33 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are seeing massive hikes in external debt attributed to the COVID-19 global pandemic and are calling on donor countries to assist, Reuters reports.

The charge is being led by Belize’s own ambassador Lois Young, permanent representative to the United Nations and chairwoman of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

Young told international media that the alliance is calling on donor governments and development banks to provide debt relief, aid, and climate finance for its 44 member countries, which includes Belize.

Reuters quotes Young as saying: “SIDS (small island developing states) are sinking, and it’s not due to just the sea level rise and climate change. We are actually sinking in debt…COVID and the collapse of the tourism sector – basically, they just pushed us over the edge.”

The AOSIS has issued a statement back in June regarding the debt of its members, noting that many economies of member countries were contracting between 8-14 percent, and many of them relied on Tourism for up to 40 percent contribution to their Gross Domestic Product, but the pandemic flatlined tourism almost overnight.

The statement stressed that SIDS nations were struggling and could see developmental progress set back “by decades” is the desired relief is not granted. The issue of debt relief for SIDS countries is expected to form a part of the discussion at the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

 

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