Chambers services

ICC mobilises network to help end pandemic in the Caribbean

  • 30 April 2021

An inaugural meeting of the ICC Regional Action Network for the Caribbean took place on 28 April, uniting chambers of commerce and private sector leaders for discussions to help shape a path to end the pandemic in the region.

Co-hosted with the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber, CARICHAM and the CARICOM Private Sector Organization (CPSO), the virtual event highlighted the need for effective policies informed by business experience as well as efforts already underway to champion a global, equitable distribution of vaccines, foster safer spaces, restore global mobility and encourage vaccine confidence all as part of a holistic approach to stem the spread of COVID-19 and reopen local economies.

During opening remarks to participants, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said that since the onset of the pandemic ICC’s COVID-response activities had been anchored by three priorities: Global influence. Regional relevance. Local impact.

“The best way to return to economic growth, revitalise trade and advance sustainability is to end the pandemic through equitable access to vaccines and the restauration of global mobility,” he said.

Introduced by Master of Ceremony and CARICHAM Chairman Dax Driver, Deputy Chair of CPSO PB Scott also gave opening remarks saying the pandemic had stretched resources in the region to the limit and had impacted the ability to redevelop Caribbean economies.

ICC’s Global Policy Director and Permanent Observer to the United Nations Andrew Wilson outlined challenges to global vaccination including manufacturing capacity, supply chain issues and legal challenges while Damien Bruckard, ICC Deputy Director Trade and Investment provided a status report on the multilateral effort including updates on the ACT-Accelerator and COVAX.

Other speakers included UNICEF’s Maaike Arts, Regional Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean LAC, Survive and Thrive campaign, who outlined the distribution challenge and progress on COVAX to date, and James Fitzgerald, Director, Health Systems and Services, Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), who said the pandemic in the region had ushered in a triple crisis in health, social protection and economic stability.

Scott Ratzan, Co-founder of CONVINCE, also spoke on the ways business leaders can help to reduce vaccine hesitancy. María Merchan Rocamora, Consultant, Digital Health Passes, spoke on vaccine passports, the ICC AOKpass, and opportunities for implementation in the region.

The event featured a dynamic Q&A session moderated by Gabriel Faria, CEO of the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and was concluded by Charles Pashley, President, Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, who set out next steps for engagement.

The Regional Action Network gathering was the latest in a series of ICC outreach initiatives aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID crisis on the private sector at regional level as well as to feed the voice of business into global discussions.

Please click here to view the recording of the webinar.