Skip to main content

Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

High Level Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond

High Level Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond

28  May 2020

Remarks by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, T.D.

 Secretary-General, friends,

The onset of Covid-19 has tested each of our societies and our people have responded with heroism and generosity.

Our global solidarity is also being tested – none of us will be safe until everyone is safe.  In the face of the pandemic, we must all step in and step up, working together as a community of nations for our individual and collective wellbeing.

In coming together in response to today’s interlocking health, economic and social challenges which the virus presents, we have a responsibility – the opportunity - to keep working towards our shared vision, the Sustainable Development Goals.  The SDGs, which Ireland was proud to co-facilitate with Kenya, set a pathway to overcoming today’s and tomorrow’s challenges - to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people ensure peace and prosperity.

The challenge is perhaps greater than we thought in 2015 but so is the responsibility on us to deliver. 

Today, we have an opportunity to state our ambition and reinvigorate a sustained political debate within the United Nations and also in our capitals on financing for development and the achievement of our Global Goals by 2030.

We know the global economic environment.

Too many otherwise healthy economies continue to have liquidity crises due to the pandemic and the actions Governments had to take to stem its spread.

In approaching solutions, we need to continue to ask ourselves what more can we do.  Do we need, to paraphrase JM Keynes: “to escape from some old ideas”?

How can we encourage greater engagement with private sector innovation, ingenuity and capital?

What is our role, as donors, as creditors, as regulators?

A good start has been made on debt.

I know what it is to grapple – successfully – with debt sustainability.  It is very difficult.  It requires a shared understanding amongst all stakeholders working towards an agreed plan or objective.  It needs forbearance and patience if shared, agreed objectives are to be met.  I also  understand  how market mood can matter in determining sustainability. 

How can we collectively influence that mood in the right ways?  How can we work to ensure that all the right people – those in and out of the Paris Club, MDBs, public and private sector creditors and debtors – have the conversations that need to be had, when they need to be had?

Remittances are also an important source of liquidity and foreign exchange but are currently under strain.  We remember their importance to 1950s Ireland.  The G20 has made recommendations on lowering their cost, which Ireland will take forward next week as part of a wider discussion with Bangladesh, Benin and Mexico on remittances.  This should also include fair access to financial services, at a fair cost for all. 

Kristalina Georgieva has highlighted the importance of digitisation of financial services to “Building Back Better”.  With our growing global role in Financial Technology, Ireland is prepared to play our part in this work.   

It is important too that we continue to work on Domestic Resource Mobilisation, where Ireland’s work with development partners was recently lauded by the OECD.

We should also be open to new opportunities, such as that provided by Green and Sustainable Finance, where the Secretary-General and Mark Carney are doing such good work – and where Ireland is a leading hub.  These areas offer  new opportunities for raising capital  and to a sustainable recovery.  For example, the increasing use of Green covenants can allow debt to be scaled back as targets are met.

We know the scale of the challenge ahead.  We have the energy, the ingenuity.  It is time, as Socrates said, to focus our energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

« Previous Item | Next Item »