Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne has been appointed to lead a high-level United Nations panel of experts to establish a Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index.

Prime Minister Browne officially accepted an appointment by the president of the United Nations General Assembly, to serve as one of the two co-chairs for the panel.

Prime Minister Browne, who also serves as the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, AOSIS, says he is “humbled” to be charged with such an important responsibility.

He will share his responsibilities chairing the panel with the former Prime Minister of Norway, the Hon. Erna Solberg.

Prime Minister Browne is quoted as saying: “this is an important first step on a long road back to economic solvency for many islands, and I will do everything in my power to get us over the line.”

President of the UN General Assembly, Abdullah Shahid of Maldives has requested that the panel complete its mandate before the end of his presidency this year.

Small island developing states have been calling for such an index to replace per capita gross domestic product as the measure used to determine a country’s eligibility for concessional financing.

Prime Minister Browne has always argued per capita GDP has given a skewed picture and has deprived some of the most vulnerable states in the region to well-needed grants and low-cost financing.

Under the per capita GDP criterion, Antigua and Barbuda is precluded from some funding sources because it is considered to be a high-income country.

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