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Holness laments 'upper middle-income' status for developing states

Featured Prime Minister Andrew Holness being greeted by  Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, after arriving at the G7 Summit. (PHOTO: OPM) Prime Minister Andrew Holness being greeted by Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, after arriving at the G7 Summit. (PHOTO: OPM)
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has again highlighted the disadvantage to which small island developing states (SIDS) like Jamaica are placed, when they are classified as upper middle income countries based on their Gross National Income.

Holness said the situation was compounded when such countries, which are vulnerable to climate change, attempt to recover from natural disasters, as the classification “severely impacts their eligibility for access to certain sources of funding primarily in the reconstruction and recovery phase of the disaster management cycle.”

The Prime Minister added that even as we take responsibility, and while initiatives have begun to yield some measurable benefits, “we need cooperation and partnerships with countries like the G7, to address some of our challenges.”

In this regard, he pointed to the high public debt and the lack of fiscal space to invest in climate change adaptation measures, and developing resilient public infrastructure, which are features of SIDS. Such states he said “can ill-afford to borrow funds for disaster recovery, and investment in resilience building.”

Holness also pointed to what he described as the insufficient capacity among SIDS to access global funding windows, such as the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund. And he called for support in SIDS accessing appropriate risk transfer mechanisms to support recovery at the national and community level.

“We continue to emphasize the need to review financing policies so that true investments can be made,” he told the leaders of the world’s richest countries. “Ultimately our answers could lie in partnerships with countries like the G7, through trade and investment and technology transfers, as well as creative solutions to debt and risk, which support economic growth,” he told the G7 leaders.

“It is ultimately sustainable growth which will empower us to ensure prosperity for our people, while taking care of our oceans and seas and land environment,” Holness argued, noting that there are no forces with greater capacity to transform the lives of millions, from poverty to prosperity, than the forces of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

“Yet, Jamaica and the Caribbean have struggled with low levels of economic growth and high debt, made worse by the ravaging effects of climate change on our islands which are situated in the midst of great bodies of water.

The Jamaican Prime Minister who takes over from Haiti's President Jovenel Moise Chairman of CARICOM next month, lamented that “our challenges with growth and high debt, have constrained our ability to effectively and sustainably exploit the vast resources and potential that exist in our surrounding oceans and seas. 

We also have not been able to effectively respond to the threats emanating from our oceans and seas, such as rising sea levels, and the stronger hurricanes carried over ever warming waters,” he said.

Holness further argued that SIDS like the countries of the Caribbean need to be empowered to take charge of their development and prosperity, through economic growth rather than debt, while being good stewards of our environment.

This, he said will undoubtedly require enlightened thinking and partnerships, as already recognized by each and every country which has signed on to Agenda 2030.

Last modified onMonday, 11 June 2018 23:05
  • Countries: CARICOM

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