UK calls for ‘long term’ approach to prepare for future pandemics at World Bank meeting

0
69

By Caribbean News Global Caribbean News Global fav UK calls for ‘long term’ approach to prepare for future pandemics at World Bank meeting

LONDON, England – International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said Friday, 17 April at the bank’s Spring Meetings that the World Bank must help developing countries build stronger economies and healthcare systems – leaving them better able to deal with future disease outbreaks and protecting the UK from new infections.

The UK governor to the bank, Trevelyan, warned, “it was also necessary to think longer-term – and with greater international co-operation to make sure more countries can fight against future pandemics to protect the world from more deadly outbreaks. Health experts have warned that if coronavirus is left to spread in developing countries, this could lead to a second wave of the virus in the UK later in the year, putting further pressure on the National Health Service (NHS),” she said.

On the matter of relieving the debt burden to tackle the pandemic, low-income economies spend on average around ten percent of their government revenues on interest payments, with many countries spending far more, such as Ghana where the figure is closer to 40 percent – far more than they often can spend on healthcare.

A G20 agreement this week to pause $12 billion worth of debt repayments for the poorest countries means some of this money can now be channelled towards helping them deal with the impacts of the pandemic. This will reduce the risk of a second wave of infections, including the UK, and help manage the impact of a global economic downturn.

On Thursday, April 16, the Chancellor reiterated the government’s commitment to helping the world’s poorest countries recover from the outbreak – doubling the UK’s £2.2 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, allowing it to expand support for low-income countries.

The World Bank governor’s statement, co-authored with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak; Trevelyan called for the World Bank to help the poorest countries “build back better,” making them more resilient and better able to deal with future crises which would help protect the whole world.

“The World Bank Group should ensure that any post-crisis recovery builds resilience to natural disasters, climate change, threats to the environment and biodiversity; supports investment in the long term and low carbon sustainable development, green jobs, and green energy, and responds to other economic vulnerabilities. The support provided to health systems must leave a legacy of strengthened global health security so that we are better prepared for the next pandemic,” she said.

Speaking at the World Bank meetings, held virtually Friday because of the pandemic, she repeated the need to plan for the future. Trevelyan spoke of the importance of getting children back into school, saying the disease was “creating an education emergency that could have devastating impacts on girls in the poorest countries of the world”.

Trevelyan welcomed the $160 billion funding package agreed last month by the World Bank to help developing countries fight and recover from the pandemic and its economic impacts, also aiding the whole world economy.

“No-one is safe until we are all safe. We must now all use this firepower to address the health and economic challenges ahead. We should deploy this firepower effectively, to make the tough choices and target the resources to the most vulnerable countries and people and especially, to women and girls,”  she said, alluding to the G20 debt relief package and the World Bank’s financial support.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here