COVID-19 - Indian assistance of US$ one million to Antigua and Barbuda
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COVID-19 - Indian assistance of US$ one million to Antigua and Barbuda

The Government of India approved an assistance of plan outlay of US$ one million for community development projects in Antigua and Barbuda, in the context of the current situation of COVID-19 with an immediate assistance of US$ 150,000 for medical supplies and equipment. Given the extraordinary situation relating to the COVID-19 fallout and the urgent humanitarian nature of the crisis, a request for immediate assistance was received from the beneficiary government through the UN Office for South South Cooperation (UNOSSC) for the procurement of ventilators, etc. This assistance is extended considering the urgent nature of the request involving procurement of life-saving equipment.  This proposal was jointly coordinated by the High Commission of India in Guyana and Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in New York along with the Foreign Ministry of Antigua and Barbuda and its Permanent Mission to UN  in New York.  The ‘in principle’ approval for the grant as requested by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda has been conveyed to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). As an update, we have learnt from UNDP OECS & Barbados that procurement of medical supplies and equipment has already been completed - they are waiting to receive the shipment in two weeks.

The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi has been interacting with a number of world leaders in connection with India’s initiatives and efforts to fight the global pandemic of COVID-19 together.  PM Modi had offered Indian assistance to our friendly partner countries world over with sharing the best practices of India in controlling and containing COVID-19 as well as to share the strategy, methods adopted and efforts taken by India in this regard.  Following the Prime Minister’s discussions with various Heads of State/Government, India has since assisted 55 countries with medical supplies and equipment. Essential medicines like Paracetamol, Hydroxychloroquine, etc. to fight the pandemic are being supplied on priority basis when the world is facing acute shortage of these medicines. India also plans to assist 108 countries in the near future in their fight against the coronavirus.

Prime Minister had interacted with the leaders of the SAARC countries through video conference on 15 March to chart out a common strategy and way forward in order to combat COVID-19 in the region and proposed setting up of COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC countries which demonstrated the shared resolve of countries in the SAARC region to fight together the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister had then announced creating a COVID-19 Emergency Fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India to meet the costs of immediate actions. It is encouraging that, in the spirit of collaboration, contributions have also been committed by Sri Lanka (USD 5 million), Bangladesh (1.5 million), Nepal (USD 1 million), Afghanistan (USD 1 million), Maldives (USD 200,000) and Bhutan (USD 100,000) taking the total amount in the COVID-19 Emergency Fund to USD 18.3 million.

 The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi had met the CARICOM leaders in the first India-CARICOM Summit held on 25th September 2019 on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.  During the meeting, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India had made three offers of assistance to CARICOM coutnries: (i) US$ 14 million Grant (US$ 1million per CARICOM member state) for quick impact community development projects in CARICOM countries; (ii)  US$ 150 million Line of Credit (US$ 10 million per CARICOM member state) for CARICOM countries for solar energy and climate change related projects; and (iii) Special capacity building courses, training and deputation of experts based on the needs and requirements of the CARICOM countries.

In response to the above offers of assistance by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda had submitted a proposal in early April for assistance and collaboration under a project entitled 'Strengthening national Health capacities and reducing socio-economic and human development negative impacts of COVID-19 crisis in Antigua and Barbuda'. The project was received under India-UN Development Partnership Fund which is managed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

The project aimed to address the negative effects of COVID-19 on the population of Antigua and Barbuda by strengthening national health capacities and reducing socio-economic and human development negative impacts of the crisis, with following specific objectives to address (i) the immediate challenges in providing healthcare services to respond to COVID-19, including support for purchasing equipment for a specially designed infections disease and isolation center; (ii) Support to assess the socio-economic and human development impacts of the crisis, provision of policy recommendations and support the implementation of agreed recommendations; and (iii) Support food security through economic transformation and economic recovery interventions in main industries: (tourism, the gig economy, fishing and small businesswomen and men). These will be targeted with short-term measures designed to mitigate the immediate impact of the crisis and strengthen the capacity for medium and long-term recovery.

This project was processed under the guidelines of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UNDP will be the Implementing Agency and National Institutions of Antigua and Barbuda will be partnering in it. The modalities for implementing the project will follow the guidelines of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

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20 April 2020

 



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