Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS seeks global partnership to tackle public debt for sustainable island futures

By Economic Commission For Africa (ECA)
Africa Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS seeks global partnership to tackle public debt for sustainable island futures

Addis Ababa, 14 June 2024 (ECA) - The Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS (ABAS) a Renewed Declaration for Resilient Prosperity released at the 27-30th May 4th International Conference of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) calls for increased effectiveness of development finance. This is to be achieved through the establishment of a dedicated SIDS Debt Sustainability Support Service. The service aims to enable sound debt management and devise effective solutions for SIDS in relation to immediate-term debt vulnerability and long-term debt sustainability.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is assisting developing countries, including SIDS member States through the Sustainable Debt Coalition (SDC) initiative to enhance their capacities for the sustainable management of public debt. Strategies include Credit Enhancement for Climate Finance and a platform for Global Debt Architecture Reform. Progress under the SDC has facilitated improved access to low-cost climate finance through mechanisms such as blended finance, credit enhancement, and debt swaps.

During a dialogue on Leveraging Partnerships for Climate Resilience and Sustainable Finance held for the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea (AIS) countries at the SIDS4 Conference, the SDC chair and Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Egypt, Sherine El Sharkawy, emphasized the importance of debt sustainability and climate resilience for SIDS. She noted that limited access to finance severely constrains their ability to invest in resilience, climate, and sustainable development.

“Over 80% of developing countries, including SIDS, are already forced to spend more on interest than they do on climate action,” she stated. She added that the SDC’s practical role in addressing these challenges is “to assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability while realizing climate-related goals.” She expressed the SDC’s availability to continue supporting SIDS and encouraged them to actively participate in the Coalition. She also invited them to join the next high-level meeting hosted by Egypt later this year.

The AIS Dialogue was co-organized by Seychelles as chair of the African Island States Climate Commission (AISCC), alongside the other African Island States, ECA, Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), and various partners. It included two segments: a high-level and a technical one. During the event, key solutions to the main challenges for SIDS outlined in the ABAS were discussed. This comprises the SDC and other ECA flagship programs, such as the Great Blue Wall Initiative and the RESIslands Initiative. Besides, the UN Resident Coordinator Offices (RCO) study on Financing Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in African SIDS, the Joint SDG Fund actions to support SIDS, and the role of universities and research in supporting the SIDS agenda were exposed.

For their part, AIS Island States highlighted the need to unify their voices to tackle financing challenges and debt burdens. The SDC plays a key role in enabling affordable financing for members of the Coalition.

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