‘Bridgetown Initiative 3.0’ unveiled to tackle debt, climate crises At SIDS4 In Antigua


Barbados Today: Prime Minister Mia Mottley has launched the Bridgetown Initiative 3.0 for consultation at the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States in the Antiguan capital. The new version marks a key moment in an international drive to address unsustainable borrowing, debt sustainability and climate-related shocks affecting small island nations.

Unveiled in 2022, the Bridgetown Initiative has sought a paradigm shift in the global discourse on scaling capital flows and reshaping the financing system to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and spur climate action. Progress includes the creation of an International Monetary Fund Resilience and Sustainability Trust, a G-20 commitment to re-channel $100 billion in Special Drawing Rights, the launch of a $700 million Loss and Damage Fund, and the inclusion of natural disaster clauses by lenders like the Inter-American Development Bank.

However, Mottley said the current initiative “falls woefully short of what is required”. The third version proposes changing “the rules of the game”, better shock-proofing economies and ramping up financing.  

“We have a date with destiny, and finance is not the destination. Finance is only the medium by which we achieve the resilience that we need to achieve,” Mottley said as she provided more details on the Barbados Initiative 3.0 and its potential impact during a sit-down with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Secretary General of UN Trade and Development Rebecca Grynspan,  and host Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

Mottley underscored the urgency of addressing fundamental rules issues: “We are spending so much time and energy trying to get the financial reforms up to scale that we’ve forgotten that when we get that, we still have a marathon to run with respect to procurement, feasibility studies, execution.”

Bridgetown 3.0 seeks to change rules around representation at international financial institutions and the use of per capita gross national income as a criterion for access. It also aims to shock-proof economies by scaling adaptation funding and addressing interconnected issues like climate, health and crime.

“There are a number of countries that, if they were given a shot of adrenaline, a bit of liquidity, would not find themselves needing to go into full IMF programmes or full structural transformation. And if we give them that, it will ease the pressure on all of us,” Mottley said.

“We’re not one-issue people. We can save the planet and die from the pandemic. We can save ourselves from the pandemic and die from the planet or die from crime.”

The initiative further seeks to increase overall financing volumes “not because we want to go on a spending spree but if I don’t do coastal infrastructure at the same time that I’m doing resilient housing all while making access to do your labs so you can do the public health monitoring… If you don’t do these things all at once, you’re going to be in trouble”.

An 18-month consultation will focus on securing significant funding for small islands and extending the length of IMF extended fund facilities.

A draft notes: “If this agenda is not showing real progress on the ground at country level by the end of 2025, then the world will have failed to address the most critical issues of our time, putting the SDGs in jeopardy. This will result in unthinkable costs to lives, livelihoods and our planet. We can and must do better.”

The government has set a June 30 deadline for email comments on the draft upgrade to [email protected], after which it will finalise and formally launch version 3.0 in July. 

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