Barbados hosting conference on challenges facing small island states

BarbadosFlag-1Bridgetown, Barbados (CMC) — Barbados is Wednesday hosting a two-day conference aimed at identifying practical solutions to the challenges facing small states in accessing funding for development.

The Commonwealth Conference on Finance for Development in Small States brings together senior officials from Ministries of Finance and representatives from national, regional and international organisations – including UN agencies.

The initiative, which was proposed by the Commonwealth Open-Ended Ministerial Working Group on Small States, will prepare small states to effectively participate in the UN’s Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj stressed the importance of ensuring that the needs of small states are considered during negotiations at international forums.

He said: “The policies that will be decided at the UN’s Third International Conference on Financing for Development are going to have a direct impact on small states’ ability to secure development finance.

“Our conference in Barbados will allow Commonwealth small states to identify specific ways in which their financing concerns, including debt and limited access to concessional resources, can be highlighted and reflected in the outcome of the UN meeting.”

The Commonwealth conference will focus on understanding the implications of the post-2015 financing for development framework, and deciding how small states can take advantage of current domestic and international funding opportunities.

The event will also see the launch of the Commonwealth publication ‘Migration and Development; Perspectives from Small States’, which examines the relationship between migration and development in small states.

The book includes case studies from countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, and will inform policy geared towards reaping the greatest benefits from migration.

Commonwealth Small States Economic Advisor, Dr Denny Lewis-Bynoe, said “in a complex global environment with new and emerging challenges, it is important for these countries to fully capitalise on opportunities to improve access to finance.

“This is critical to their ability to build resilience and achieve their social and economic development goals in key areas such as education and health,” he added.

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