In the age of climate disasters, pandemic concerns and economic uncertainty, development financing mechanisms must be re-tooled, leaders said this week at the Caribbean Development Bank’s 53rd Annual Heads of Government Meeting in St. Lucia.

This year’s meeting — themed, “Marshalling Finance for Development: Access to Adequate and Affordable Financing” — was chaired by St. Lucia Prime Minister Philip Pierre and attended by Virgin Islands Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.

Mr. Pierre told the attendees, who make up the bank’s highest decision-making body, that the session was a “great opportunity” for leaders to discuss issues that affect their respective jurisdictions and to find solutions to improve lives.

The year’s theme is fitting, he said, “particularly at this time, as small island states continue to struggle with improving infrastructure while reducing poverty.”

Mr. Pierre also acknowledged the pandemic’s damage on economies now struggling with “sluggish growth” and supply-chain issues that have been exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“These global external events continue to affect the lives of our people, particularly by the rising food prices caused by global inflation,” he said.

Recovery adjustment

To address such issues, Mr. Pierre suggested including a recovery adjustment in the calculation of gross national incomes.

The CDB, he said, has aligned with the United Nations’ Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index, which accounts for long-term structural vulnerabilities as well as those uncovered recently by the pandemic.

“Loss and damage due to natural disasters must be an integral part of the discussion on financing for development,” he added.

He also advocated for loss and damage clauses to be included in financing packages from donors.