Island States meet with key UN Agencies to discuss DEBT in small islands


The Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations in its capacity as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has convened an emergency meeting with key UN agencies to discuss solutions to the unsustainable debt crisis currently plaguing small islands around the world.


The two-day meeting began today, Tuesday 22nd March, at the St. James’ Club in Antigua and Barbuda.


Studies show that the socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with worsening climate impacts, have negatively affected Small Island Developing States (SIDS) worse than any other country grouping. However, because most SIDS are classified as ‘middle-income’, they do not qualify for the type of assistance that would enable SIDS to be more resilient.


One feature of the two day meeting is the ongoing work on the creation of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) that would allow all SIDS to access concessional financing. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister, the Hon. Gaston Browne was recently selected as one of the Co-Chairs of the expert panel that will put forward final recommendations to the UN General Assembly on the MVI this year.


“The UN has acknowledged the special circumstances of SIDS for years, but things seem to be getting worse, not better and as Chair of AOSIS, I am determined that this can no longer be business as usual,” said Ambassador Dr. Aubrey Webson, Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, and the Chair of AOSIS.


“This will not be another talk shop. All these agencies have a vested interest in SIDS progress. We are going to have frank discussions on a clear way forward that actually work for our people.”


The talks come at the same time that the UN Multi-Country Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, is scheduled to open a sub-regional office in Antigua and Barbuda.


“It shows that our small twin island country is having an out-sized influence both regionally and internationally. We are leaders in climate action and piloting innovative debt relief mechanisms, and the rest of the world is taking notice,” said Dr. Webson.


The outcomes from the meeting will be taken forward to UN member states for further action.



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