Barbados severely challenged by global financial crisis

By added on 02/10/2012

Barbados said Monday it is severely challenged by the global financial and economic crisis and that climate change and other environmental issues are also posing significant threats to the island, reports the Jamaica Gleaner.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Maxine McClean told the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that the global economic and environmental situation has had a disproportionate effect on the successful, but nevertheless vulnerable economy.

"We bear the burden of rising food and fuel prices and a decline in foreign investment," she said, adding that efforts to address the threats have been severely undermined by international financial and cooperation mechanisms, "which fail to take account of the vulnerability and capacity constraints that we face".

The foreign minister said Barbados and similar vulnerable countries have been graduated from grant and concessionary financing by multilateral institutions, such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, while ignoring its unique situation.

"There is clear need for greater equity, fairness and transparency in the process used to determine classifications and resource allocation," she said, noting that the "persistent use of international classification and ratings systems, which are solely based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita and other narrow criteria must be expanded in scope to take into account meaningful variables such as vulnerability".

In this context, McClean said Barbados welcomes the assertion by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that "the use of per capita income to classify countries as a means of guiding development cooperation disregards the nature and multidimensional nature of development".

She said Barbados endorses the need for the adoption of new indices and measures of development, and applauds ongoing work of bodies such as the Commonwealth and the UN Statistical Commission to develop new indices.