Letter: Small island states deserve G20 attention

Your Datawatch on the front page of the FT (“Island hopping”, May 5) highlighting the economic dependence of small islands on tourism, and the help they will need to offset the costs of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting from the loss of tourism receipts , is the most timely.

The Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including Saint Kitts and Nevis, are one of the most tourism-dependent regions in the world, with the tourism sector recognized by the World Tourism Organization of United Nations as a key economic driver and source of foreign exchange.

The small states of the Caribbean welcome 30 million tourists a year, supporting 14% of jobs and contributing more than 15% to gross domestic product.

Unlike other regional groups, SIDS face an increased level of risk as a result of Covid-19, given not only the closures affecting important tourism revenue streams, but also the less reported but equally devastating natural disasters caused by climate change. This results in increased vulnerability.

We welcome the recent decision by G20 countries to freeze official loan repayments from low-income countries until the end of 2020 in the face of Covid-19.

But we urge the G20 to target aid more flexibly by exploring specific country-by-country solutions for middle-income countries, taking into account existing debt burdens and wider vulnerabilities, funding plans development of small islands and thereby contributing to their sustainable development goals. .

Middle-income SIDS are just as vulnerable as low-income countries to the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain their economic, social, educational, as well as tourism programs, already cut off from official development assistance funding due to their status as middle-income countries.

Dr David Doyle
Ambassador of St Kitts & Nevis to Unesco
Dr. Everson Hull
Ambassador of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the Organization of American States

Lynn A. Saleh