CPDC wants improved debt arrangements for SIDSMonday, September 13, 2021
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) has made a call for a better debt deal for developing countries.
Addressing the issue of debt and vulnerability to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the Trade and Development Board of the United Nations Council on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), CPDC echoed the assertions made by Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, for international financial institutions to provide concessionary and grant terms for SIDS to deal with both the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as well as climate change vulnerabilities.
“Prime Minister Mottley, like many of her developing country counterparts, have come to many strategic positions on the global stage at a very critical time in pushing strong advocacy for a new global financial and development architecture that not only recognises the reality of SIDS' acute vulnerability, but are demanding that more equitable and realistic access to concessional and grant funding be given to developing countries, especially small and vulnerable states,” said CPDC chairperson, Kozel Peters.
“Effectively, we equally share the Prime Minister Mottley's view that immediate global action is needed to resolve sovereign debt challenges,” she said, adding that the action is urgently needed to re-profile and eliminate post-COVID-19 and climate crisis related debt, based on the creation of universally recognised and applied vulnerability measure.
“It is critical that the vulnerability measurement accurately and appropriately reflects the structural imbalances and differentiations between our economies and is utilised fully to determine who, when and how debt relief should be granted.”
She said furthermore, “this should sharply contrast with the current arithmetic [of] GDP per capita measure that does not reflect the vulnerabilities and diversities among developing countries”.
The CPDC is the convenor of the UNCTAD XV Civil Society Forum, which will be held from September 22 to 24.
Peters also expressed “grave disappointment” at the UNCTAD's current language on debt and development finance, which was deemed as inadequate.
“We believe that it lacks ambition and seemingly seeks to bend the ark of what is just, equitable and frankly urgently needed by developing countries away from the realities of the situation and more towards a meek acceptance of the status quo. This is unacceptable to civil society, particularly those in the global south.”
As a result, the CPDC called for language that balances the need to reduce debt vulnerability while also ensuring inclusive and sustainable development for all.
“For this to be realised, developing countries of all shades must be permitted full participation in and access to all decision-making fora on debt and development finance reform. In this connection, the global economic and financial governance spaces so unfairly dominated by our developed country counterparts and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) they control, must as a matter of urgency be opened up to more transparent, participatory and accountable operations,” Peters said.
She encouraged UNCTAD member states to adopt a more robust approach to debt relief and reform, starting with the full adoption of General Assembly resolution 68/304 that addresses the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for the sovereign debt restructuring processes.
She also recorded CPDC's support for resolution 69/319 which further establishes that sovereign debt-restructuring processes should be guided by basic international principles of law, such as sovereignty, good faith, transparency, legitimacy, equitable treatment and sustainability.
“We reject the notion by some members, that the UN is not an appropriate entity to engage this most critical process and further opine that UNCTAD, if it is to be true to its mandate, must be empowered by its members to be the lead agency within the UN system in developing concrete and implementable actions to tackle this existential development crisis facing developing countries and to bring timely relief thereto.”