Gloria D. Steele
U.S. Agency for International Development
April 12, 2021
Your Excellencies, it is an honor to be here with you today.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it abundantly clear that we live in an interconnected world, and that there are serious vulnerabilities associated with this interconnectedness.
Today, we are facing a triple crisis: a global health crisis, an economic crisis, and a climate crisis. This triple crisis demonstrates that the Monterrey Consensus endorsed 19 years ago is more than just words on a page. Good governance, mobilizing financial resources, transparency and accountability, and tackling inequality all matter in addressing today’s global development challenges.
We are facing a global health crisis of unprecedented proportions. While the prospect of a fully vaccinated world offers a glimpse of life beyond COVID-19, we must remember that we are not safe until we are all safe. That is why the United States is proud to be the world’s largest donor to COVAX, with an initial $2 billion dollars and an additional $2 billion contribution planned through 2022. Our combined $4 billion pledge represents 40 percent of the commitments made to date, to the Advance Market Commitment. We urge current donors to fulfill their pledges and to call upon others to contribute to address the COVID-19 vaccine funding shortfall.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to a global economic crisis. Without further international support for developing countries, we risk seeing a widening gap in the global economic inequality. The United States strongly supports the G20/Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative. This initiative allowed low-income countries to defer $5.7 billion in bilateral debt payments in 2020 and to redirect these funds to the COVID-19 response. We are also supporting exploration of a new $650 billion allocation of Special Drawing Rights at the International Monetary Fund. These resources have the potential to enhance the global reserve liquidity, particularly among low-income countries.
When the United States invests in our partners, it is a long-term partnership, based on transparency and accountability, to achieve joint goals. These partnerships are underpinned by shared values and common goals.
And finally, by addressing the climate crisis, we will revitalize economies and create millions of good jobs. However, this also entails building sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure.
We must catalyze finance to drive a pathway to net zero emissions, and to help vulnerable countries strengthen their resilience to climate change. This is why the United States is hosting the Leaders Summit on Climate later this month, where we will announce an ambitious new climate target. We urge invited countries to use the Summit as an opportunity to announce plans for enhanced climate ambition.
To close, President Biden, in his inaugural address, noted that “we will be judged for how we resolve the cascading crisis of our era.” This crisis presents us with an opportunity to build back better to a unified, sustained global response. Let us meet that moment.