Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has repeated her call for agreement on a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index to replace the historic per capita income criteria.
Ms. Mottley made the appeal while speaking virtually at the 20th Session of the High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, being held from June 1 to 4, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
A multidimensional vulnerability index will allow for the inclusion of more than just income-based criteria to assess eligibility for concessionary finance.
The Prime Minister said Barbados’ classification as a middle-income country had meant that for more than a decade, there had been limited access to concessional development funding.
She continued: “We have been advocating over the course of the last few years that this needs to change and that we need more inclusive mechanisms that will allow our countries to truly benefit from the concessional funds that are available….
“We have called for a more enabling global environment to consider the unique vulnerabilities faced by countries such as ours that are small island developing states. What we need is a fairer measure of that vulnerability. As chair of the Development Committee, I have been making this call and again I am calling for agreement on a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index, which would replace historic per capita income,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley stressed that the per capita income measurement was unfairly applied in many instances to small island developing states, which were on the frontline of different levels of vulnerabilities, namely financial, social, and environmental.
“We have been arguing this issue of vulnerability for over three decades and we believe that it is now ripe for us to see movement on this criteria, largely because we are seeing the vulnerabilities…. It is therefore imperative that we harness South-South solidarity and action to reshape it,” she stressed.
The Prime Minister reminded her audience that Barbados would be hosting UNCTAD 15, from October 3 to 8 this year, using a blended format. The theme is: From Inequality and Vulnerability to Prosperity for all, and Ms. Mottley said it would offer the nations of the world a platform to devise new ways to use trade as an enabler of sustainable development.
“We have been placed off track in the last 16 months because of this awful pandemic. It is therefore…critical that we meet to see how we can do these things to achieve this enabling of sustainable development through trade as we go forward.
“We also believe the conference will play a pivotal role in supporting and strengthening South-South cooperation through trade integration, as well as regional, sub-regional and inter-regional economic integration,” she pointed out.
Ms. Mottley said the South-South cooperation had already generated benefits for many countries during this global COVID-19 crisis.
She noted that Barbados had also received assistance from several countries, including those in this region, United Arab Emirates and China.