Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 24, 2016 (SKNIS)—Small Island Developing States (SIDS) remain extremely vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and are in need of “a strategy to promote climate financing” Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris told the 193-member body of the United Nations on September 24, 2016.
“Mr. President, St. Kitts and Nevis, like so many of the Small Island Developing States remains inherently vulnerable due mainly to our small physical size, open economies, dis-economies of scale and small population,” Prime Minister Harris said, while emphasizing “as we have seen time and again, a climatic event of a few hours can wreak havoc on every single aspect of life on our islands.”
“We have in the past asked that a strategy to promote climate financing be addressed and I once again reiterate that call. It means nothing to say that billions of dollars are available for climate financing, if the mechanisms for accessing them are opaque, prohibitive and extremely difficult to penetrate. Again, I urge common sense cooperation and partnership,” he said.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister said that the Caribbean is at a disadvantage and is being further marginalized by the global financial system, a situation, he said, calls for urgent attention.
“We are being further marginalized in the global financial system. Already, in the Caribbean, as of the first half of this year, “some 16 banks, across five countries have lost all or some of their correspondent banking relationships putting the financial lifeline of these countries at great risk”. In our tourism-dependent economies, where remittances factor greatly in national development, such actions threaten to derail progress, undermine trade, direct foreign investment and repatriation of business profits,” Dr. Harris highlighted.
Prime Minister Harris called on the powerful international brokers to do more in helping Small Island developing states especially in terms of how they make their assessments of which countries are in need of financing.
“Furthermore, we urge the G7, G20 and the International Financial Institutions to reevaluate the methodologies used to assess how and whether a country qualifies for concessional support or access to certain types of international funds,” he said.
“The arbitrary classification of certain small countries like St. Kitts and Nevis or Dominica, as middle income countries can never make sense – when one of these countries could grow its economy one year by 4 to 6% and then watch nearly 100% of its GDP wiped out that very same year by a tropical storm with 6 hours of rainfall. Any new formula must include vulnerability and resilience indices,” he added.
The 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York convened on Tuesday 13th September, 2016, under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform Our World”. The General Debates began on September 20 and will run until September 26, 2016.