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Summit of Caribbean States Embraces ECLAC’s Proposal for Debt Relief
The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) fully supported the debt relief initiative presented by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) which, among other measures, proposes the creation of a resilience fund as part of a strategy based on a swap proposal for climate change adaptation.
The VII summit of the ACS, which concluded on Saturday, June 4 in Cuba, was attended by Heads of State and Government and high-level governmental representatives from the association’s 25 member countries, who approved by consensus the 44 points of the Havana Declaration.
In point 13 of the document, the summit agreed that it “fully supports the consideration of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Debt Initiative, which takes into consideration the highly indebted nature of many Caribbean nations and recommends an approach that recognizes the principles of the Financing for Development, the Sustainable Development Goals and proposes, among other initiatives to be considered, a Caribbean Resilience Fund for the countries benefitted by debt relief.”
The indebtedness of Caribbean countries is a dilemma linked to external impacts, aggravated by the inherent structural weakness and vulnerabilities faced by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean, which have limited capacity to respond. Many Caribbean countries are categorized as middle income, which restricts their access to financing under favorable conditions, ECLAC says.
As indicated in the document Horizons 2030: Equality at the Centre of Sustainable Development, presented during the Commission’s thirty-sixth session held in late May in Mexico, the United Nations regional organization sustains that Latin America and the Caribbean has a historic opportunity today to change its development pattern and reduce the economic, social and environmental inequalities that affect its inhabitants. To achieve this, progressive structural change is needed with a big environmental push that promotes development based on equality and sustainability.
The debt relief initiative for Caribbean countries proposes that resources from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) be used to reduce the Caribbean public debt held by multilateral and bilateral lenders, and to once again issue debt to private creditors at a significant discount. With the new fiscal space obtained, the governments of Caribbean countries could then make payments to the Caribbean resilience fund, which in turn would be used to finance resilience capacity for climate change adaptation and mitigation and to invest in green economies.
The ACS summit is that organization’s most important gathering. It is held periodically at the highest level and facilitates the convergence of the Heads of State and Government, or their high-level representatives, from associated countries.