CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque continues to champion the cause for vulnerable states to receive concessional financing due to issues related to climate change.
The Secretary-General has been focusing on this matter in many of his recent engagements and was vocal about the issue at the Small States Forum that was recently held in Peru. The Forum was held under the theme ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Small States to finance Sustainable Development in the post 2015 Development Landscape’.
The CARICOM SG reiterated that continued access to multilateral and bilateral concessional financing, notwithstanding the classification of CARICOM Member States as middle income states, was critical to the sustainable development agenda. He once again expressed the view that the criteria for concessional financing must not be based solely on GDP per capita, and must be changed to include the economic and environmental vulnerability of SIDS. The Secretary-General also addressed this matter during the International Conference on Financing for Development that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last July. He also met with the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark in New York recently where there was also significant discussion in relation to the issue.
The Forum addressed matters such as financing sustainable development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), considered the impact of the current global economic situation and discussed prospects for the future.
A summary released by Chairman of the Forum, Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy, Seychelles, H.E. Jean Paul Adam, noted that “the economic performance of our countries in the recent past is a reflection of the more limited availability of policy tools and resources and also the challenge that small states face in diversifying economic structures and re-orienting economic activities in new markets and sectors.”
In addressing the issue of concessional financing for SIDS the Chairman said it was important to examine important, “augmented donor support to help our countries build resilience, address inherent vulnerabilities, and break the low growth, high debt, limited fiscal space spiral, which will continue to have important and long-lasting impacts on our development prospects.”
He said small states were grateful for the considerable financial support that the World Bank and other partners have provided in recent years, and looked forward to renewed targeted support. He called for scaled-up global assistance to build resilience and ensure that there were no impediments to the Green Climate Fund financing reaching small island states.
The Chairman noted that the Forum benefited from an extensive exchange of views on the recent conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, as well as discussions on the upcoming Twenty-first Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) in Paris. He said the need for stronger fiscal positions to enable faster restoration of policy space was emphasised.
The World Bank has lauded the Forum for providing an opportunity for participants to discuss the implications for small states of the emerging development architecture just after the Addis Ababa conference on Financing for Development and ahead of COP21. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
The Small States Forum was an occasion for participants to deliberate on how the World Bank and other bilateral and multilateral organisations can help small states leverage and make effective use of various financing streams to accelerate progress on the SDGs while building resilience against and mitigating the impact of natural disasters and climate change.
Attendees included Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki Moon, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, as well as UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark.