Slovenia, CARICOM forging closer relations

The Republic of Slovenia and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are moving to further deepen relations.

New Ambassador of Slovenia to CARICOM, His Excellency Stanislav Vidovič, in a ceremony for the presentation of his credentials to Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Wednesday, pointed to several areas for closer cooperation including sustainable development, environmental issues, climate change and economic integration.

He said as a member of the European Union, Slovenia took an active role in developing the Joint Caribbean EU Partnership Strategy and was one of the chief proponents of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM which was signed in 2008, the year Slovenia held the EU Presidency.

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CARICOM needs very concessional financing for climate resilience – Secretary-General LaRocque

The Caribbean Community’s goal of creating a climate resilient Region requires significant grant funding and very concessional financing, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Monday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Ninth Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government at the Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel in Haiti, he said “without access to such financing, already high debt levels across the Region would be exacerbated.”

He explained that most CARICOM countries were categorised as middle or high-income and were largely ineligible for concessional development financing and Official Development Assistance (ODA), due to the use of GDP per capita as the principal criterion.

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Caribbean felt full brunt of climate change in 2017

Dominica hurricane

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – In 2017, the Caribbean felt the full brunt of climate change with a warning that current trends indicate that there will be no respite.

Within a two-week period, Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought home the reality of the impact of climate change as they churned their way across the Lesser Antilles destroying everything in their paths. Hurricane Harvey had in August set the stage for what was to come; with devastation in Houston, Texas, amounting to nearly US$200billion.

“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,” the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in a message to United States President Donald Trump, as Harvey made landfall in the United States after whipping up strong winds and heavy rains in the Caribbean.

It took less than a month for his statement to bear fruit. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms left so many Caribbean islands devastated in September that the CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said “there can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat”. (more…)

Major Financial Institutions willing to reassess development financing policy

(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General
(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are now willing to reassess the policy of GDP per capita attached to concessionary development financing.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said that this was a major result of his recent discussions in Washington with the President of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the IMF.

Speaking on Tuesday, 17 October, at the accreditation ceremony of the new Ambassador of Spain to CARICOM, His Excellency Javier Carbajosa Sanchez, the Secretary-General said the Banks were willing to work with CARICOM, but they cautioned that a final decision resided with the countries which sat on the boards.

CARICOM has been lobbying consistently for a reversal of the policy of graduation which sees some Member States denied access to concessionary development financing. Their graduation to middle income status, with the use of GDP per capita as a major criterion, has attracted commercial rates for development loans. This situation increases already high debt burdens in Member States.

“That debt burden was significantly incurred by reconstruction after major climatic events in a Region designated as the most natural disaster-prone in the world,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.

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