OLIVER JOSEPH, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Business and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Affairs of Grenada, said that the pandemic disrupted the Grenadian economy, which contracted by 13.7 per cent in 2020 after an upward trajectory since 2013. Unemployment rose from a record low of 15.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 28.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, with 14,000 jobs being lost as a direct consequence of the pandemic. Tourism and air transport were among the sectors experiencing the most stark declines.
He highlighted the need to address his country’s reclassification status by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistant Committee, which resulted in the marginalization of development assistance to the region. In that regard, support was needed from international organizations, including the United Nations, in the dismantling of unfair rulings. He urged that a multidimensional vulnerability index be created by 2022 that adequately addresses the vulnerability of Caribbean States, in addition to the economic data, such as gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
Stressing the need to regain access to concessional financing, he noted that, like many small island developing States, Grenada faces extreme risks in the agriculture sector, which affect its food security, main export crops, fruit crops, forestry, livestock and fisheries. To reduce these impacts, Grenada has been implementing climate-smart agriculture and adopted a blue growth agenda to sustainably utilize its vast maritime resources. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, his country also advocated for the One Health agenda at a global level to promote the link between well-being, prosperity and a healthy environment, he said.
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