(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has renewed his call for International Financial Institutions and development partners to review the criterion for access to concessionary development financing by small developing states.
He told the opening of the 9th Biennial CARICOM-UN General Meeting in New York on Thursday 20 July 2017 that access based on GDP per capita was not an adequate measurement since it does not take account of the inherent vulnerability of SIDs.
CARICOM and the United Nations Systems are holding the two day meeting to build on areas of cooperation in relation to the regional and global development agenda.
CARICOM’s consistent advocacy for consideration of the special circumstances for SIDs was commended by the UN Secretary-General H.E. António Guterres. As the Community leverages this engagement, Ambassador LaRocque said small and vulnerable states were not a factor in shaping the global changes which impact them.
He noted that climate change was one of those factors which threaten the very existence of SIDS.
“It is not coming. It is already here. We are faced with increased and more severe climatic events. Our Member States must continue to rebuild social and economic infrastructure destroyed by these events, thereby incurring more debt, and at graduated interest rates in many instances,” he said, amplifying the special circumstances IFIs should consider in granting access to concessionary financing.
Further, the CARICOM Secretary-General noted that CARICOM remained committed to the United Nations as a principal forum for multilateral cooperation and a platform from which small states can be seen and heard.
In this context, he expressed satisfaction that the UN System had been actively engaged with CARICOM in convincing the international community that vulnerability must be considered in determining the sustainable development needs of SIDS.
“UNDP has been instrumental in establishing a Working Group, comprised of the World Bank, the OECD and the Commonwealth to examine the issue of vulnerability. UNECLAC has also been active through a proposal for a debt for climate adaptation swap within the Caribbean Community. This innovative proposal encourages recognition of the peculiar circumstances of CARICOM SIDS. It has been discussed and will receive further attention from our Ministers of Finance later this year,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated.
He noted that CARICOM had been strengthening its resilience to buffer shocks from exogenous factors.
“We have committed to building our resilience in pursuit of a strengthened Community to mitigate their effects. We have committed to strengthen regional integration as our best vehicle for sustainable growth and development. We have committed to a recalibrated approach that seeks to strategize more intently, to adapt more quickly and, ultimately, to deliver more efficiently,” Secretary-General told the United Nations.