Rethink Criteria For Concessionary Financing

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has repeated his view that the per capita Gross Domestic Product should not be the only criterion for determining access to concessionary loan financing.

But rather, Mr. Stuart believes that special consideration should be given to the special needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing states (SIDS).

He made the comments on Wednesday, while delivering the feature address at the inauguration of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He pointed out that a single climate event in the Caribbean could destroy an island. He indicated that Tropical Storm Erika, which recently affected Dominica, had set back its development by about two decades.?????What would ordinarily be a local event of damage in a large developed country could be a national disaster of monumental proportions in one of our small islands.

???Our region has very limited fiscal and policy space to deal with these issues, since resources that ideally should be devoted to reducing poverty and providing greater educational and other opportunities for our people have to be devoted to mitigating these challenges,??? Mr. Stuart stated.

According to him, these situations emphasised the urgency of the need to build resilience in these economies, and he stressed that access to the resources was required for that purpose.

Mr. Stuart noted that the Caribbean was rich in renewable energy resources, from hydro to solar, and wind to geothermal; however, it did not have the resources to exploit those sources of energy.

???We must, therefore, enter into meaningful partnerships with the international community, being acutely aware that Caribbean states, which will be among those most heavily impacted by climate change, must be in the vanguard of the efforts to ameliorate its impact.

???As a region, we must seek not only to eliminate the linked challenges of tackling climate change, promoting clean energy and achieving sustainable development, but also we must do so through the forging of essential partnerships and synergies,??? he stressed.

Therefore, the Prime Minister said those key messages would be taken to COP 21 in France in December this year by CARICOM countries, in an effort to ensure that the sustainable development of SIDS remains a leading issue in international fora and on the multilateral negotiating agenda.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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