Basseterre – 18 April 2023 – Island Innovation’s Island Finance Forum kicked off on Tuesday morning bringing island leaders and stakeholders from across the world together virtually. Foreign Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas joined the Governor of Guam, the Deputy Premier of Bermuda, and fellow Foreign Minister from Tuvalu in addressing six thousand island stakeholders representing government, research, and innovators and private sector representatives from across the world.
The Foreign Minister, during his intervention, urged the global community to reform the global financial architecture that locked small island states out of concessional financing for sustainable development. He lauded the efforts of Prime Minister Motley of Barbados and expressed hope for a positive outcome of the joint meeting organised by Barbados and France in Paris in June on a New Global Financial Pact. The Foreign Minister, who also holds responsibility for Industry, Investment and Economic Development, underscored that the Administration’s Sustainable Island State vision depends on the ability of vulnerable islands like Saint Kitts and Nevis to access finance on the international market. He reiterated the Prime Minister’s call for the IFIs to implement a Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) that privileges the Caribbean’s unique vulnerability to natural disasters like hurricanes.
In calling for an overhaul of the neo-colonial world order and international financial architecture the Foreign Minister called for “bridging the gap between the G7 and the G77. In recalling the institutional bias against small island states in the Global South, the Foreign Minister invoked anti-Apartheid activist Randall Robinson by stating, “We all have to die, and I preferred to have just one death. But it seems to me that to suffer insult without response is to die many deaths.” The calls for climate justice, environmental justice and reparatory justice were central to the Foreign Minister’s intervention.
Dr. Douglas’ intervention was a call to action for Small Island States and an invitation from potential partners to visit and work with the Federation for win-win partnerships on strategic projects in green technology, sustainable agriculture, and light manufacturing. Dr. Joyelle Clarke, the Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment will also join the conference to talk about the future of sustainable development policy. The Island Finance Forum takes place from 18th-20th April under the theme “Investments for Sustainable Development”.