Guyana’s VP to lead regional mechanism to unlock financing for Caricom Development Fund

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has been selected to lead a regional working group that would be responsible for unlocking financial resources for the Caribbean under the Caricom Development Fund (CDF).
This decision was made during the recently concluded 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) held in Georgetown this week.

(L-R) Caricom Chairman President Dr Irfaan Ali and Guyana’s Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

At a closing press conference on Wednesday evening at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Caricom Chairman, President Dr Irfaan Ali, outlined the importance of mutual agreement among member states to unite efforts towards regional financing that will promote growth and enhance resilience.
“We just don’t want to look at raising financing but we want to align the financing that comes into the region now, to the growth and development and prosperity of the region while at the same time, we ensure we coordinate our financing through a common mechanism to deal with adaption and resilience,” the Guyanese Leader stated.
The Caricom Development Fund was established by the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas to assist disadvantaged Member States that are susceptible to climate change.
During the recent meeting, leaders of the 15-member regional bloc committed to the third round of replenishment of the Fund. In addition to financial commitments from Member States, however, CARICOM would also be mobilising funds especially from the private sector in the financial institutions of the Region – both bank and non-bank.
Consequently, it was agreed that Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who is leading the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) initiative in Caricom, will coordinate the establishment of a Working Group on Financing for Caribbean Development.
That working group will be convened and headed by Vice President Jagdeo – tasked with addressing the mobilisation of financing to be intermediated through the Blue-Green Investment Bank and the CDF to advance the objectives of regional resilience and growth.
Additionally, this Working Group on Financing for Caribbean Development was given a deadline to conclude its work within the next four months and submit its Report by the next meeting of Heads of Government scheduled for July in Grenada.
PM Mottley said during Wednesday’s press conference that she will be working also with the Guyanese Vice President on this.
“Vice President Jagdeo will chair that working group look into see how we will unlock the liquidity from the private banking system and how they a win-win situation,” Mottley said.
Further, the Barbados Prime Minister informed media operatives that in the next four months, a report inclusive of recommendations to unlock funding will be formulated.
“It is our view that the region is full of liquidity but what is missing is the appropriate mechanism to unlock that liquidity and to allow those countries that need access to concessional funding, as is available under the Caricom Development Fund, to be able to access them so that we can build up the systems to promote growth, rather than treating to it just purely for the adaptation and resilience aspect of it,” she noted.
Additionally, Caricom leaders have pledged to support the Blue Green Investment Bank – an institution that aims to inject investments in climate-prone countries and regions.
Commitments have already been made by the Governments of Guyana, Bahamas, and Barbados, with each country pledging US$15 million and the Green Climate Fund committing a similar amount.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has also pledged US$2.5 million.
“We hope that we can reach at least $100 million in seed capital. Barbados has the draft bill for the institution and we hope to operationalise this institution as a matter of urgency to service the needs of the Caricom with respect to resilience and adaptation,” PM Mottley highlighted.
Meanwhile, on the issue of Climate Change, the 15-member region bloc expressed concerns that while COP 28 was widely regarded as a historic event, with the completion of the first global stocktake (GST), on progress in achievement of the Paris Agreement goals, the outcomes of GST show that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of Parties will not keep global temperatures below the 1.5-degree goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

New Finance Goal
Heads of Government are also concerned about heading into COP 29 where a New Finance Goal will be articulated to replace the 100 billion goal, which has not yet been met when developing countries including those in the Caribbean require trillions to deal with the escalating impacts of climate change.

Developed country parties have not provided enough finance at scale, technology and capacity building support required to help developing countries tackle their pressing needs to build their resilience, especially in adapting to the adverse and increasingly catastrophic impacts of climate change. The clear absence of definitive timelines for action and quantitative commitments for scaling up of investments, and particularly adaptation finance emerging out of COP 28, cause great concern to the Region.
The Conference noted that Small Island Developing States (SIDS), recognized as the most vulnerable group of countries and a special case for sustainable development, have been facing strong push back against the recognition of their special circumstances especially in the context of climate finance. There is limited international support for special allocations for SIDS within financing arrangements and available climate finance from international and private sources is limited, expensive and too onerous to access.
In light of the preceding, Heads of Government called for Caricom to take a strategic, unified and coordinated approach to ensure that the Region remains influential in the climate and development arena through engagements with key partners and advocacy groups.
They further pushed for a renewed focus by the Region to advocate for inclusion of forests, nature-based solutions and blue carbon into market mechanisms with the aim of articulating clear regional positions and strategies.
Heads of Government reiterated the call for improved readiness programmes, simplified approval procedures, a change to the criteria for determining access to low-cost finance, and for the adoption of programmatic approaches to address the bottlenecks in accessing finance.
The Region reiterates its support for the Bridgetown Initiative’s call to expand capital adequacy of international financial institutions.
Heads recognized that the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled to be held in Antigua and Barbuda, 27 – 30 May 2024, will be an inflection point for many of these discussions to be articulated. As such, the Region remains committed to participating in the Conference at the highest level. (G8)