During the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held in Marrakesh, Morocco, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, launched the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) and made a compelling case for its use.
As co-chair of the United Nations High-Level Panel on the MVI, Prime Minister Browne has been leading an effort to create a new index that would enable vulnerable developing countries to access concessional financing.
This would help these countries build resilience and offset the crippling effects of climate change and other external shocks.
Many small developing countries do not qualify for grants and financing available from international financial institutions, leaving them highly vulnerable to impacts like hurricanes and pandemics that can undermine their already debt-burdened fiscal resources.
The MVI would allow these countries to access the financial support they need.
Prime Minister Browne argued that the outdated mechanism of using gross national income to determine a country’s needs is ineffective.
He emphasized that a hurricane’s destructive force is absolute and has no respect for deceptive per capita metrics.
Without an MVI, the most vulnerable countries’ ability to withstand pandemics, economic shocks, disasters, and climate change would be lost.
After 18 months of intense work, collecting data, scientific evidence, and detailed analysis, the High-Level Panel recently presented its report to the UN General Assembly.
The report contains recommendations to UN Member states on the next steps of the MVI, including its use by all stakeholders.
The Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are strongly encouraged to pilot test the MVI and incorporate it into the governance framework for Official Development Assistance (ODA) eligibility and graduation, complementing World Bank income data.
Prime Minister Browne’s ultimate goal is to have a globally accepted MVI that accurately measures vulnerable countries’ true vulnerabilities and development requirements.
The high-level panel believes that consensus on an MVI that works in harmony with traditional measurements like Gross National Income (GNI) has the potential to revolutionize global development.
The index can empower countries and the international community to make informed decisions, craft effective policies, and build lasting resilience.