New models for climate financing, the setting up of a specialist centre in health care, and nutrition security were among the areas discussed, during a courtesy call with Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, and Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska.
One area of cooperation proposed by Ambassador Wasilewska was the development of Expert Facilities between the EU and Barbados, as a mechanism by which Barbados could receive technical expertise from any EU member state in an area in which it had proven capacity.
One such area is the conservation and digitisation of historical records and the establishment of a digital archive, which the Ministry of Culture is seeking to establish. The establishment of a specialist health centre of excellence in Barbados has also been proposed.
In turn, Minister Caddle pointed to the need for a closer look at the emerging new frontier of climate and financial resilience.
She explained that emphasis must be placed on a new international financial model for Barbados and the region’s response to the climate crisis.
She stated: “Those are questions that are still pending ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCC COP 26). We have been very clear as small islands about what we are willing to contribute to mitigation, but equally, how the world needs to respond to finance adaptation – that is, how countries are able to adapt to global warming trends and the intensity of disaster events that come with them.”
Minister Caddle continued: “The fact that we have been able to include natural disaster clauses in our new instruments has been for us, a very concrete way to give us some elbow room in the context of a disaster, where we do not need to service debt for two years. We are calling on partners in both public and private finance to adopt these instruments as well.”
She also called for an appropriate climate risk investment instrument to protect the region from the impact from a natural disaster that can lead to the total wipeout of economic sectors.
“What makes us vulnerable is not just the likelihood of an event happening, but the wipeout risk islands like Barbados face. A single event can cause total physical and financial ruin. This risk has to be built into the measures that determine our access to concessional and blended lending terms,” Ms. Caddle said.
The two officials also discussed the need for strengthening social protection systems, and Minister Caddle thanked the Ambassador for the grant agreement that would soon be signed for EU financial support to the sector.
Those attending the courtesy call included Head of Cooperation, Luis Maia; Head of the EU’s Economic and Social Section, Janet Coto Moreno; Acting Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs, Annette Weekes, and Manager of the Public Investment Unit, Dale Foster.