Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith has said Jamaica’s participation in the G20 on behalf of CARICOM is important for the country and the region in light of changing global dynamics.
Minister Johnson Smith was representing CARICOM at the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting held in Buenos Aires Argentina May 20-21, the third such meeting to ever be held, and the first time a small island state other than Singapore would participate.
Speaking on the experience, Minister Johnson Smith said “It was an honour for Jamaica and for me personally, to represent CARICOM in the context of this being the first time a small island developing state has been invited to participate in the G20.It was also particularly important for us as a country and as a region, to have a voice at this extremely powerful table at a time when so many global shifts are occurring which impact us directly and indirectly.”
Minister Johnson Smith advised that during her interventions, she outlined the priorities of the region which include, Climate Change, Energy Transition, Sustainable Debt, Sustainable Development and De-risking and Corresponding Banking. She emphasized the challenges presented to Highly Indebted Middle Income Countries, such as those in the Caribbean, as a result of graduation based on GDP only. Additionally, the Foreign Minister made clear the realities of vulnerability to more frequent and intense weather events, including their impact on fiscal space, growth and the achievement of development targets.
Minister Johnson Smith continued, “I asked the G20 to recognize that they are in the perfect position to address the misalignment of the international financial architecture with the attainment of the sustainable development goals. Regarding Climate Change in particular, I also spoke to the need for innovative, predictable and sustainable means of financing and the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as the specific need for more creative and simplified access to funding for resilient infrastructure in vulnerable regions such as the Caribbean.”
The Minister also explained that in speaking in support of multilateralism, she emphasized the importance of a rules based global trading system, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). She also presented another perspective on to on the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty and the links between gun crimes, social instability and migration.
The G20 is a group of countries accounting for 85% of the world’s GDP and 2/3 of its population. It is largely credited with having enabled the world’s emergence from the financial crisis of 2008.