The Caribbean Community (Caricom) on Tuesday put forward a case to raise the level of funding from its International Development Partners (IDPs) and to increase the number of Community priorities in the bilateral and regional programmes of the IDPs.
A release from the Caricom Secretariat said that Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque articulated the Community’s position at the Third High Level Forum on Donor Coordination at the Princess International Hotel, Providence, where representatives of Caricom member states, Community institutions and IDPs were gathered for talks over a day and a half.
The Secretary-General wanted to ensure that the Community’s positions were reflected in ongoing discussions on donor coordination and aid effectiveness, Small Island Developing and Low-Lying Coastal States (SIDS), and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
According to LaRoque, “Caricom, as an integration grouping, approaches such issues on a collective basis. In fact, it forms part of our coordinated foreign policy. We will advance our case for improved access to resources in the ongoing discussions on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. We will link our foreign policy positions to access to resources. We have no choice in these matters if our people are to survive and if our countries are to be placed on a path to sustainable and resilient economic growth.”
The release said that the IDPs were familiarised with the Community’s development plans, strategies and priorities and the Forum jointly examined priority areas where they could assist
“We will map out approaches intended to ensure that your assistance will facilitate development in our areas of priority and we will address how we can optimise the use of scarce resources. As a Community we are looking for results and impact and we would welcome your cooperation and support in that regard,” Ambassador LaRocque told the representatives of the IDPs.
According to the release, the Forum was held against the background of the impact the ongoing economic and financial crisis is having on the Community. The current situation, which has spawned stagnant or declining growth rates, high per capita debt, falling fiscal revenues and increasing unemployment, has limited the capacity of Caricom member states to self-finance their development, hence the importance of grant financing and access to concessional financial resources.
The Secretary-General pointed out that differentiation and graduation has added to the challenges the Community faced since such a policy could deny member states access to grant and concessional funding.
“To graduate Caricom member states from access to grant aid, concessionary financial resources or technical assistance, on the basis of per capita income cannot be right. Per Capita Income is, at best, an arithmetic ratio. It does not measure the level of poverty; it does not address the distribution of income; it does not say whether the economy is resilient and on a path to sustainable growth, and it certainly does not measure the capacity of a country to self-finance its growth,” the Secretary-General argued.
The release said that the engagement with the international development partners was one step towards meeting the mandate of Caricom Heads of Government issued to the Caricom Secretariat at their just-concluded Thirty-Fourth Regular Meeting to design a Resource Mobilisation Strategy to ensure adequate financing of regional and national priorities to catalyse growth in member states.
The previous High Level Forum was held in July 2011. The Secretary-General has proposed that the engagement be held on an annual basis so that the Forum could serve also to exchange views on important global and development issues such as aid effectiveness and management for development results.