Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addressing the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond. (PMO)

Small to mid-sized, middle-income countries like Barbados need a global vulnerability index to better capture their ability to absorb shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley expressed this view today as she addressed the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.

Ms. Mottley told her audience those countries, as well as small island developing states, also needed fair and predictable access to non-market finance.

She insisted that the debt suspension proposed by the G20 “does not assist” the vulnerable middle-income countries which were now at risk of pauperisation.

The Prime Minister told her audience: “The impact of this COVID … is on the same scale as a world war. In order for us to recover from this war, we must ring-fence the debts that arise from responding to COVID.

“They must be financed separately, off the balance sheets of countries, over the long-term, at concessionary rates. We need a wartime loan for the 21st century of repayments over 50 to 100 years with a seven-year moratorium that allows us to resume the development trajectory.”

Ms. Mottley voiced support for the Liquidity Sustainability Facility and indicated that a Growth and Resilient Fund was needed for CARICOM countries, which were on the front line of these crises.

“Anything less than that will allow COVID to cause permanent devastation that would permanently hobble developing countries and permanently hold them back from progress and development,” she insisted.  

She argued that in times of crisis, there should be automatic targeted increases in liquidity, such as an automatic increase in concessionary finance from the international financial institutions or for those countries lying on the fault line of the particular crisis.

“The international system should provide liquidity when and where it is most needed in times of systemic crisis,” Prime Minister Mottley suggested.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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