By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are continuing to push for a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index, says prime minister Mia Amor Mottley, as she underscored its importance to these countries; said these countries were continuing to make the argument that they needed to access money based on their vulnerability.
“It is important that we succeed in being able to have vulnerability, at the very least, seen as an essential criterion. But if not, what we really want, ultimately, is a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index that looks at our vulnerability to economic shocks,” she explained.
The prime minister was speaking during a press conference on Thursday, to update on her participation in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
A Multidimensional Vulnerability Index will allow for the inclusion of more than just income-based criteria to assess eligibility for concessionary finance. As it stands now, many small island developing states have middle-income status but they face risk and vulnerability.
In strengthening her point about the vulnerability of these countries, the prime minister highlighted what is happening with oil.
“The price of oil is going up again, and that means that we got to look for more foreign exchange to buy the same volume of oil, and that’s why we have to convert to renewable energy. That is why I have said to minister [Kerrie] Symmonds that he has to introduce, which I believe that they are completing now, the revised framework because the whole process of approving renewable energy projects is taking way too long,” she stated.
During the wide-ranging conference, Mottley said Barbados was on the verge of signing a major loan with the Chinese to rehabilitate the roads in the Scotland District area. In addition, she noted that under the last government, a National Coastal Risk Information Planning Platform was undertaken with the Inter-American Development Bank.
Prime minister Mottley explained that it allowed officials to make judgments about the various risks communities would face, as she disclosed that the platform would be updated; said the minister of maritime affairs and the blue economy has been working with the fishermen to see how best their livelihood and the marine area could be protected.
The prime minister again stressed the importance of water conservation in Barbados because of the groundwater situation and encouraged the public to use water-saving devices.
“That is why I have been so hard on the Barbados Water Authority for not moving with alacrity in being able to establish the fund that will allow Barbadians to be able to benefit from the access to water conservation devices. […] But in fairness to them, they are managing on so many other fronts…. “You need toilets that flush using the water-saving devices…, showerheads that can help conserve water. We…need to change our behaviour, and that’s the major task in the next few years – we’re going to have to educate from our children right up,” she stressed.
Mottley underscored the importance of Barbados rolling out those water conservation methods, saying it was not only about getting the international community to assist, but each Barbadian doing what was necessary to make the difference.