Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley delivering opening remarks at the Gender and Development Forum. (PMO)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has expressed the view that a complete reset of the global economic development model is urgently required.

Ms. Mottley shared this view today as she addressed the opening ceremony for the inaugural three-day UNCTAD 15 Gender and Development Forum.  

She told participants that the emerging priorities likely to preoccupy the ministerial discussions at UNCTAD 15 include the COVID-19 crisis; the climate crisis; food security; the debt crisis and the issue of financing for development.

“Dealing with just one of these issues would be seriously challenging. Dealing with all of them at once is nothing short of catastrophic. This unprecedented convergence further exacerbates the very inequalities and vulnerabilities that we are aiming to address, and, as I certainly don’t have to tell you, the economic and social impact of our current circumstances falls, regrettably, disproportionately on women and girls.

“That is why, at this moment in time, your Forum matters; your advocacy matters, and your solutions-oriented critical thinking matters. You will be meeting on the eve of the first Trade Ministerial to be convened post-COVID.  UNCTAD 15 will certainly be affected by the realisation that there is now no “normal” left to be returned to, and that a complete reset of the international economic development paradigm is urgently required…. If at this unique moment of history, we cannot succeed in moving the policy needle, then … we never will,” Ms. Mottley insisted.

She reiterated that moral strategic leadership was the most critical requirement needed right now, and explained that political leadership was required, but not exclusively so, since governments alone could not help countries build forward better.  

She stressed that countries could only succeed if there was leadership at every level and in every sector of societies.

In recalling that Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, recently said he thought it was scientifically provable that women have been better leaders in this crisis, the Prime Minister highlighted three appointments of females to important international institutions.

They are the Director-General of the World Trade Organization in March this year; the Secretary-General of UNCTAD in September, and Executive Director of the International Trade Centre.

“These are certainly … not token appointees, and their combined presence and influence at the heart of the international trade and development structure in Geneva sends a powerful message that more inclusive and gender-sensitive trade and development policies might now be there, given the priority they deserve. And we say that, knowing that Ngozi [Okonjo-Iweala], Rebeca [Grynspan] and Pamela [Coke-Hamilton] will be a powerful triumvirate to represent our gender,” Ms. Mottley said.

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