Prime Minister John Briceño delivered his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier today during its thirty-first Special Session. PM Briceño’s presentation spoke to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the magnitude of the very widespread disease, there is need for a truly international and multilateral response so as to ensure that countries are able to respond and recover from the pandemic. Today’s Special Session on COVID-19 serves as an opportunity for heads of state and government of all United Nations members to evaluate and strengthen the international community’s response to the pandemic. PM Briceño is the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.

John Briceño, Chair, Alliance of Small Island Developing States

“Despite our best efforts and the exhaustion of all available resources, the COVID-19 global lockdown has forced Small Islands Developing States to our knees. Our health systems are struggling. There are no prospects for short term recovery for our economies, leaving our people to face an uncertain future. We need your support and tangible, measurable actions, but in the present circumstances we need a new compact with SIDS that more effectively addresses our vulnerability and exposure to risks. As SIDS, it seems that our limited resources are constantly chasing behind building resilient societies and addressing emergency situations, but the times are rare when they can serve both masters. Our development gains are at constant risk of erosion. Before COVID-19, SIDS clamored for better treatment and reiterated time and again that our income levels have disguised our inherent vulnerabilities. COVID-19 didn’t place SIDS in a difficult situation, it exposed the situation that exists in SIDS. If anything, this pandemic has made our situation more urgent.”