Advertisement 87
Advertisement 323
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, June 3, 2024.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, June 3, 2024.
Advertisement 219

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (CMC) — St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves Monday said he had used the opportunity at the just-concluded 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS 4) to raise the issue of developed countries not meeting their financial and other obligations to SIDS.

Gonsalves told a news conference here that pressure has been mounting on the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank to make it harder for SIDS to acquire loans at concessionary rates or even grants from international development partners to ensure the future socio-economic development of SIDS.

He said at one of the side events of the conference, together with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, they sought to change the paradigm regarding softer loans to SIDS.

“There were a lot of proposals as to what we will do day after tomorrow and day after. I am concerned about those, but also concerned about defending what we have at the moment because it doesn’t make sense to go after the shadow inside of the water and leave the real bone.

“Look, the commitments we have had from developed countries, those commitments have not been met. Countries are not meeting their pledges with respect to official development assistance, which are grants,” Gonsalves said, adding that some of these commitments date back to 2009.

Advertisement 21

He said then there was a commitment that by 2020 developed countries would provide US$100 billion annually for developing countries affected by climate change.

“This has not happened. Nothing. I haven’t seen any of that as yet. Nobody sees any of that money. Then the loss and damage fund they set it up … without any money in it. A fund without any money in it is an oxymoron,” Gonsalves told reporters.

He said in Dubai last year, countries made “small” contributions to the loss and damage fund, describing the donations as “nothing very significant.

“The point is that we have to make all the time that for loss and damage what about helping me with things to prevent loss and damage taking place. Upfront monies, grants and soft loans for me to deal with my bridges and my roads…”

Gonsalves said an important source of funding come from IDA “but they had internally put about this proposal to harden the terms for small island developing states, small island economies, where their per capita income annually has gone above US$7,900”.

He said St Vincent and the Grenadines and several other regional countries, including Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia were above that margin.

“They want to harden those terms. At the moment we get IDA monies over the whole period between two and three per cent, they really want to harden them to between three and over 6%.

“And they want to reduce the 50-year period, 10 years’ grace, sometimes 45 years … they want to reduce that to 35 years and to increase the amount of interest roughly from three per cent to 6%”.

Gonsalves said that’s “a major problem” for SIDS, adding, “you can’t really do adaptation to climate change unless you get cheap long-term money”.

He said the SIDS are not responsible for climate change and that he uses various fora to speak quite forcefully about that.

He said he has written to almost all leaders of the world regarding the issue regarding the funding from IDA “and that’s one of the reasons I went to Antigua.

“I told you I am going to fight this and we are fighting it. I told you I was going to go to SIDS to deal with this and at the UN in September we will deal with it,” he said, adding he believes that the pressure is beginning to have an effect.

“I frame it as they want to pit the most vulnerable against the poorest …the fact of the matter is that the money going to IDA from the developed countries and the money has declined.

“One of the things they will tell the people at IDA, you have to give money to Ukraine …. all these things connect and our people have to understand the world in which we live and you have to be able to manoeuvre this world and find spaces to keep ourselves as a functioning society,” Gonsalves said, adding “you better believe it”.

4 replies on “Gonsalves wants developed countries to meet their obligations”

  1. Give back the civil servants you dismissed under the guise of a pandemic which has been long over,their jobs and compensate them. What you’ve done is counter productive for the the development of a SIDS.

Comments closed.