Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne built a clear and compelling case for the use of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) at the launch of the groundbreaking measure held during the annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Prime Minister Browne, who co-chairs the United Nations High Level Panel on the MVI, has been at the very forefront of an exercise to construct a new index that would allow for vulnerable developing countries to access concessional financing, in order to build resiliency and offset the crippling effects of climate change and other external shocks.
Prime Minister Browne being interviewed by CNN’s Climate Writer Rachel Ramirez while in attendance at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Left to their income alone, many small developing countries do not qualify for the grants and financing available from international financial institutions required to rebuild their fragile economies when impacts like hurricanes and pandemics undermine their debt-burdened fiscal resources.
Prime Minister Browne participating in the launch of the MVI Report
Under the circumstances, Prime Minister Browne pressed home the point that “the MVI is the one lifeline that (SIDS) are grabbing onto,” as the outdated mechanism of using gross national income to determine a country’s needs is long outdated and ineffective.
“The destructive force of a hurricane is absolute.
It has no respect for deceptive per capita metrics,” Prime Minister Browne argued.
“In a sudden onset disaster, a small island nation like my own can lose everything overnight.
Without an MVI that shows in a data-driven manner how some countries are more vulnerable than others, the ability of the most vulnerable countries to withstand pandemics, economic shocks, disasters and climate change, will be lost,” the Prime Minister continued.
The High Level Panel recently presented its report to the UN General Assembly after 18 months of intense work, collecting data, scientific evidence and detailed analysis on the creation of an MVI framework, that provides a deeper and enlightened understanding of a country’s true vulnerability and development requirements.
The report, a first of its kind, contains a series of recommendations to UN Member states on the next step of the MVI including its use by all stakeholders.
“The Multilateral Development Banks (MDB’s) are strongly encouraged to pilot test the MVI.
Put it to use, test it out. This has already begun by the Caribbean Development Bank.
We also encourage the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to consider how the MVI could be incorporated into the governance framework for Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility and graduation, to complement World Bank income data,” Prime Minister Browne stressed.
Ultimately, according to Prime Minister Browne, the goal is to have a globally accepted MVI that will provide vulnerable countries with the accurate metrics by which their vulnerabilities can be accurately and precisely measured.
Prime Minister Browne fields questions from Ahmed Jechtimi, a correspondent with international news agency, Reuters.
The high-level panel, chaired by Prime Minister Browne and the former Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, hold the view that consensus on an MVI that works in harmony with traditional measurements like Gross National Income or GNI, has the potential to revolutionise global development.
“…the index can empower our countries and the international community in making informed decisions, craft effective policies and build lasting resilience.”
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