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Statement delivered by H.E. Ryan Straughn, Hon. Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Barbados

Statement delivered by H.E. Ryan Straughn, Hon. Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Barbados


H.E. Ryan Straughn

Hon. Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Barbados



10:00 pm Dhaka time/12:00 pm Washington DC time

Statement delivered by H.E. Ryan Straughn, Hon. Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Barbados

H.E. Ryan Straughn

Hon. Minister of Finance Economic Affairs and Investment of Barbados


Thank you very much, sir, and good afternoon to all colleagues around the world. Let me take this opportunity on behalf of the people and government of Barbados to encourage the V20 to continue to advocate for these very critical issues that confront us as countries, small island development states, particularly in the context of Barbados, and us in the Caribbean to be able to unlock resources that are so critical with respect to responding to adaptation and building further resilience within our economies.

Naturally, COVID-19 has been a very critical disruptor with respect to development trajectory for all of us, and the ability to finance through the pandemic over the last two years, I must thank not just only the national fund, but certainly the World Bank, the IDB, and other international development institutions for helping all of us to navigate not just the economy, but finding solutions for the way of life for all of our citizens and our business communities within our member states. But specifically on adaptation and resilience, I want to continue to underscore the importance of the speed with which we must be able to have access to whatever funds have been devised, and I know that the International Monetary Fund is just a pool with the structure with respect to the RST  and we welcome that as a small country hoping to be able to build and respond to the challenge of climate change, but also be able to unlock, certainly in the post-COVID environment, critical growth strategies for our domestic economy and our continuous thrust to engage the world.

But colleagues, I must raise an important matter as it relates to adaptation and resilience.  Just yesterday, we hosted a roundtable here in Barbados with members of the US congress to respond to a very long-standing issue in relation to President Biden. And I raise this very important and fundamental issue as a small island, developing state, and economy, because we have been over the course of the last decade been faced with not just the challenges with respect to climate change and all of the other issues with which we have to respond, but our reality as a country and certainly within the context of the Caribbean space is that we are faced with increasing challenges with actually being able to pay for trade and to finance a way of being able to grow our businesses and economies.  And whilst it has something that has been on the agenda for some time, I wish to place it on the record with respect to the V20, and as we support the initiatives for our building, and responding to adaptation with respect to the climate and climate change, as well as building resilience. This is only possible if small states, like Barbados and those of us in the Caribbean, can actually truly participate within the global economic framework.

And therefore, the inability or lack thereof with respect to President Biden to actually transact business, not just regionally, but certainly globally is a significant factor.  I do believe that this has to be one of the things that we solve certainly in the shortest possible time in order to accelerate a response with respect to building — with responding to the adaptation challenge and building for the resilience. Equally, we also want to continue our strong advocacy, Chair and colleagues, for the fact that these last two years we have all had to incur debt that we would not ordinarily have incurred due to COVID. And therefore I, again, call on behalf of Barbados and the Caribbean, that we must find a cooperative way to work out the debt that we have all incurred because of COVID and to refinance it for a 40-50 year workout, which provides some of the fiscal space within which we want to know to be able to engage in an accelerated response in adaptation and building resilience within the contexts of our discussions here within the V20.  And I say this because these are two very practical ways that allows us as vulnerable countries collectively to be able to continue to meet the challenge with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals, respond to the climate adaptation issues, which we all highlighted in our various meetings, and therefore it is absolutely, absolutely imperative that we continue to work the institutions on a multi-level as well as the private sector to be able to ensure that our responses to the climate crisis, that our responses to initiative are unique to the vulnerabilities, whether they are small states, developing states, or just in the context of our nature of our vulnerabilities. That the multi-dimensional nature of our vulnerabilities must be at the center of our response.

And therefore, I want to say to the colleagues that Barbados will continue to work strongly with the V20 and other for in order to ensure that our ability to respond to the adaptation challenges, to build not just physical resilience but truly economic resilience by being able to foster greater economic and inclusive recovery that we must work together, Chair and Excellencies, in order to ensure that we can bring to fruition the policies that have been put on the table by the international communities, getting ease with which we can execute and push our agenda for such that these meetings can happen and they report absolutely clear progress with respect to our own individual circumstances but keep pushing for the development of all of our countries on behalf of all of our citizens. So let me thank you, Chair, for the opportunity to contribute to the round table today and I wish everyone all the best as we move forward in this post-pandemic era.  Thank you very much, sir.


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