UNCTAD meet here ‘chance to bid for more funds to recover from, protect against shocks’ – PM

UNCTAD meet here ‘chance to bid for more funds to recover from, protect against shocks’ – PM

Article by Sandy Deane – Barbados Today

Published on October 3, 2021

With Barbados suffering more than $200 million in losses this year from the ashfall from the Soufriere Hills Volcano, the June freak storm and Hurricane Elsa in July, Prime Minister Mia Mottley says the country must fight for adaptation and resilient funds. This is why the 15th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which officially opens on Monday is critical for vulnerable small island developing states, she told a COVID-19 update at Illaro Court Sunday evening. Barbados is the world’s smallest country to host the week-long meeting which will be addressed by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres who arrived here on Saturday.  The conference’s theme is From inequality and vulnerability to prosperity for all. The talks will examine the coronavirus pandemic, the climate emergency, rising inequality and vulnerability among other global crises. Mottley made clear that the week-long talks were not “esoteric“ but a critical forum for small island developing states (SIDS) to have a voice.

Noting that the world’s temperatures appeared set to surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius as recommended by SIDS to probably 2.1 degrees or higher, Mottley said this development would lead to more threats including storms, hurricanes and increased sargassum seaweed and therefore, SIDS would have to take action. Mottley said: “The ashfall cost the country about 87 million dollars in losses and this hurricane and freak storm will probably cost us 110/120 million dollars in housing replacement. And the reality is that the majority of people who lost their houses are below the poverty line, 90 per cent of them. “We believe, therefore that it is critical that we fight for adaptation funds and resilient funds. “That’s why we are hosting this conference here.  it is one of the ways where we give our voice more reach and we start to say look, you can’t only lend me cheap money on the basis of how much earnings I have as a country because you are penalising me for being successful over the last 55 years. You need to start lending me money not on the basis of GDP per capita; you need to start lending me money on the basis of my vulnerability. “This is about us being able to get policy space so that we can protect our farmers and our farmers can help up with food security so that instead of the market being flooded with food imports that we can protect our farmers. This is about us being able to get the voice and the message across that if we have to keep borrowing money because of the climate crisis, then it makes it difficult for us to do the other things that we want as a country.”

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