Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday urged regional heads of state to advocate for fairer criteria for international financing for developing countries.
Intensifying climate disasters in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic have galvanized small island developing states to call for a globally accepted vulnerability index, that would increase the eligibility for SIDS to receive greater financing to address their unique vulnerabilities.
Addressing the opening session of the Seventh Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Davis again reiterated the “discriminatory” practices that disadvantage small island nations and make it difficult for them to meet the eligibility requirements that are currently in place.
“Even while we pursue national development, other international partners pursue policies which harm our progress. The Bahamas will continue to voice its displeasure with the discriminatory practice of the blacklisting of countries. I invite you to join us. We will also continue to advocate against the unfair use of GDP per capita to determine how or if developing countries, in vulnerable developing regions, qualify for reasonable concessionary financing or grants,” he said.
“The use of the Multi-Vulnerability Index in assessing eligibility for help, rather than the blunt, outdated measurement of GDP per capita, is a fairer measurement. I invite you to join us in advocating for mutual agreement of alternative eligibility criteria for international financing and overseas development assistance.”
Last week, during a visit to the White House in Washington, DC, the prime minister again brought up the issue of fair access to climate financing, during his meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris.
He called for the US to take action on its commitment to the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030), which is the Biden-Harris Administration’s new initiative involving fresh commitments to, and integration of climate adaptation and resilience and clean energy programs across the Caribbean region.
Yesterday, the prime minister urged developed nations to honor their commitments to smaller states like those in the Caribbean.
“Rising sea levels pose an existential threat to my country. In 2019, a Category 5 storm devastated two of our main islands. We are not and have never been the polluters, yet we suffer from the greatest vulnerabilities caused by carbon emissions. Our debt burden remains high, in part due to these climate risks, including the need to regularly rebuild homes, businesses and infrastructure after devastating hurricanes,” he said.
“Our cost of borrowing also prices in the risk of future hurricanes. We are already paying a high price for the intensifying weather patterns of tomorrow. We urgently need the developed countries to honor their commitments to compensate for the loss and damage associated with climate change. And in order to build resiliency, we urgently need finance and access to technology. Each of our countries must keep the pledges we’ve made, in this and other settings, to reduce our own emissions. We have seen glimpses of a future we cannot survive. We must change course, or perish. It is that simple.”