Jamaica and Costa Rica have called for an end to the ’inequitable distribution of vaccines’, as countries worldwide race to vaccinate their populations against COVID-19.
During the inaugural Jamaica-Costa Rica Political Consultations on May 12, 2021, Jamaica’s Foreign Minister, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith and His Excellency Mr Rodolfo Solano Quirós, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship of the Republic of Costa Rica underscored the importance of timely, equitable and affordable access to vaccines for developing countries.
Minister Johnson Smith shared perspectives on Jamaica’s COVID-19 response, including securing vaccines for social and economic recovery. “Countries such as ours, which are extremely tourism-dependent, require ease of travel, healthy populations and healthy workers. We truly commend Costa Rica on their advocacy for equitable access to vaccines, as this remains a priority for Jamaica and the region.”
For his part, Minister Quirós stated that “Costa Rica supports joint efforts to address and avoid the monopolization and inequitable distribution of vaccines.”
Noting that Jamaica is monitoring the critical debate on the waiver of intellectual property rights and patents on COVID-19 vaccines, Minister Johnson Smith posited that “the sharing of knowledge, intellectual property and data is crucial at this time.”
Financing for development in COVID-19 Vaccine Era and Beyond
Both Ministers expressed similar views on financing for development, particularly in a post-pandemic world, with calls for changes to the international financial architecture. Minister Johnson Smith endorsed the Costa Rican President’s position that “no country should be excluded from just (fair) financing for development,” as she compared it to the United Nations (UN) adage of ’Leaving No One Behind’. She also commended Costa Rica on its participation in the High-Level Meeting on International Debt Architecture and Liquidity co-convened by Jamaica, Canada and the UN SG, noting the progress signalled on that occasion.
Bilateral Co-operation for Economic Diplomacy & Diversified Trade
The Ministers discussed expanding Jamaica’s exports to Costa Rica, including non-traditional products such as teas, sauces and spices.
They also agreed to intensify collaboration through their respective Economic Diplomacy programmes, noting that Jamaica’s Promotions Agency (JAMPRO) and Costa Rica’s Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) would explore investment possibilities in areas including logistics agro-processing, ware-housing and renewables.
Recognizing the impact of climate change on both nations and the potential benefits of a sustainable ocean economy, the Ministers concluded the meeting with a commitment to deepen collaboration for a “peaceful Green and Blue sustainable recovery”.