PRAVIND KUMAR JUGNAUTH, Prime Minister of Mauritius, said the pandemic caught the world “totally unprepared” with unparalleled intensity, disrupting Governments and societies, the multilateral system and human lives and livelihoods. “Almost two years later, we are still grappling with the pandemic and its mutations,” he said, noting that just as many countries found challenges in providing basic protective equipment at the start of the pandemic, they now face similar challenges in accessing affordable and effective vaccines. Meanwhile, advanced economies have been able to deploy massive fiscal stimulus to cushion the pandemic’s impact and have succeeded in achieving mass vaccinations, while developing countries remain constrained in their responses, and the virus continues to mutate.
Welcoming the United States initiative to organize a Leaders’ Summit on those issues, he called for more vaccines to be produced more rapidly and for their decentralization. Multilateral facilities, such as COVAX, should be fully funded and empowered to redistribute surplus vaccine doses, and the necessary technology and resources should be shared with developing countries, including small island developing States, such as Mauritius. In the same vein, unilateral economic sanctions should be reviewed in light of the humanitarian urgency to fight the pandemic. Noting that his country’s GDP contracted by 14.9 per cent in 2020, he said that, at the same time, spending on public health and other critical sectors had to be significantly scaled up.
All that came against the backdrop of already‑high levels of debt distress and environmental challenges facing the world’s small island developing States, he said. While welcoming the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, he stressed that it should be extended to include all small island developing States, as well as middle-income countries. “A new global financial architecture focusing on fiscal space and debt sustainability is urgently needed for [small island developing States],” he said. On the climate crisis, he emphasized that the world has great expectations of the Glasgow conference. It is not sufficient to simply raise ambitions, but also to deliver on them.
Emphasizing that the protection and promotion of human rights and gender equality should remain at the centre of the international community’s endeavours, he went on to note that misinformation and criminal activities in cyberspace have flourished during the pandemic and must be addressed globally. Mauritius supports the elaboration of the international Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes. He voiced concern about rising incidents of terrorism and the resurgence of violent extremism in Africa, expressed his country’s solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and called for a just and lasting settlement for the Palestinian people. In addition, he voiced his hope that the process of reforming the Security Council — making it more representative of the world’s new realities — will be accelerated, and called for the lawful completion of the decolonization of the Chagos Archipelago in line with the ruling of the International Court of Justice.
Read the full statement, in PDF format.
Access the statements from previous sessions.