Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne to lead High-Level UN Panel

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Prime Minister Browne on Zoom meeting

Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, today officially accepted an appointment by the President of the United Nations General Assembly, to serve as the one of two co-chairs for the high-level panel of experts on the work of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI).

An MVI in essence to show a country’s true vulnerability economically to external shocks beyond its control; be it ‘pandemics’, ‘supply chain issues’, or ‘climate-related natural disasters’. For islands, it is a much fairer indicator of who should qualify for concessional relief in times of economic distress.

PM Browne, who also serves as the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), felt ‘humbled’ to be charged with such an important responsibility.

“For decades, small island States have fought for the adoption and implementation of a universal MVI across all international financial institutions. Now we stand on the cusp of actually achieving it. As we edge cautiously into a post-pandemic future, this is an important first step on a long road back to economic solvency for many islands, and I will do everything in my power to get us over the line.”

President of the UN General Assembly, His Excellency Abdullah Shahid of Maldives, noted that “… work on the MVI is an important exercise with significant and lasting implications” and requested that the panel complete its mandate before the end of his Presidency this year.

PM Browne will share his responsibilities chairing the panel with the former Prime Minister of Norway, the Hon. Erna Solberg.

Ms. Solberg noted that whilst the panel is made up of experts from all over the world, it is imperative that the finalised outputs prioritise the needs of SIDS. She warned of ‘resistance’ from those who may view the MVI as competition for limited concessional resources and “… it is our challenge to prove the necessity of this change (from income to vulnerability).”

“I am an eternal optimist. This work is too important, our cause is too righteous and we will succeed,” said PM Browne in response.

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