Historic agreement reached in the creation and use of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index by United Nations member states

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PM, Blair and Ambassador

At 6 PM Wednesday 10th July, the member states of the United Nations have reached agreement for the adoption and use of a Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) following an exhaustive process of final deliberations over the past few days and nearly three years of unstinting work led by Antigua and Barbuda in making the pioneering initiative a reality.

The final document emerged last evening from a critical UN process known as “Silence Procedure”, during which member states have the opportunity to raise objections or dispute positions from the final negotiated text. Silence on the MVI was unopposed, signifying full and unanimous endorsement by all UN member states.

This historic initiative marks a momentous milestone for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who have championed the need for an MVI for over thirty-years.  SIDS fought tirelessly for an MVI in order to access crucial development support, including concessionary financing as traditional means of measuring economic needs have repeatedly failed to consider their unique vulnerabilities.

The agreement reached on the MVI is a notable and proud achievement for Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaston Browne who was appointed as co-chair of a High-Level Panel on the MVI by the President of the General Assembly in 2021, along with the former Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.

“The MVI is a game-changer for SIDS. It significantly enhances our ability to recover from external shocks by using scientific and accurate data to demonstrate to lenders, financial institutions, and the global community our unique vulnerabilities as SIDS,” Prime Minister Browne stated.

He added, “We need not look any further than Hurricane Beryl as an alarming example of the threats facing our people and our fragile economies, underscoring the undeniable urgency and necessity of the MVI.”

Prime Minister Browne also lavished praise on the staff at the Antigua and Barbuda Mission in New York for their unwavering diligence and steadfast commitment throughout the entire process.

“I wish to single out Ambassador Webson, who was appointed as Co-facilitator of the intergovernmental negotiations of the MVI, for his sterling leadership, along with the Ambassador of Portugal. Also, Deputy Permanent Representative, Tumasie Blair for his tenacity and expert guidance during the three years of the negotiating process to ensure we achieve consensus from stakeholders, in particular UN member states and the international financial institutions,” Prime Minister Browne added.

“I take the opportunity to commend my co chair Ms. Erna Solberg, former Prime Minister of Norway and the other members of the UN expert panel that presided over the development the MVI, which will complement GNI per capita in determining a country’s eligibility for concessional funding,” he added.  

Agreement on the MVI promises to usher in a new era of renewed commitment to equitable and tailored support for SIDS and other vulnerable groups of countries, paving the way for more resilient economies and their overall sustainable development.

The MVI was a prominent agenda item during SIDS4 in Antigua and Barbuda and received wide political support at the Conference. Consequently, the MVI is a key feature in the Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS).

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) within the next few weeks will formally approve the MVI resolution by adoption, making way for the governance structure and funding arrangements for the management and upkeep of the MVI to be adopted.

Ambassador Webson informs that the next step after adoption of the MVI by the UNGA will be the introduction of a process of implementation by the UN Development System, global development partners and a phased approach of implementing the MVI by the international financial institutions and regional development banks.  

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