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On his final day at COP28 in Dubai, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne passionately advocated for the adoption of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) at the United Nations level.
As co-chair of a High-Level Panel, he has been dedicated to the MVI for the past year, recognizing its potential to reduce the overwhelming barriers that island nations face in accessing the concessionary financing required to deal with the various external impacts that can immobilize their fragile economies.
After months of consultation with experts and stakeholders, Prime Minister Browne and panel members presented and launched the MVI at the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Morocco in October.
Determined to see it through to the ultimate stage of its adoption, the Prime Minister used his presence at the UN Climate Summit to speak to supporting partners and key interests about the positive benefits of the MVI for developing nations like Antigua and Barbuda.
At a side event co-hosted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, UNDESA, and UNHORLLS, Prime Minister Browne spoke from a panel of intellectuals and experts, expressing confidence that the MVI will earn the endorsement and support of the member territories of the United Nations.
He emphasized that the MVI can help direct support to countries who need it most, and that it is a tool for achieving debt sustainability for small states like Antigua and Barbuda.
Leading world economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs pointed to the importance of the MVI as it pertains to access to concessional financing for vulnerable countries, and he sees the MVI as an essential element in bringing reform to the international financial architecture.
Dr. Tom Michell, Executive Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), also lent support to the MVI as a tool for achieving debt sustainability for small states like Antigua and Barbuda. Prime Minister Browne’s vision for the MVI was an innovative and groundbreaking tool that was built to take into account the current and future realities of an increasingly challenging world, especially for small island states.
He believes that the MVI can be a possible tool and evidence-based measure to assist in the administration of the Loss and Damage Fund, and can further spur the development of insurance and compensation schemes that may be the last hope when the waters rise.
Prime Minister Browne issued a fresh appeal for everyone to place their full weight of support behind the MVI, recognizing it as an important tool in the arsenal of solutions island nations need in confronting the grave impacts of the climate crisis.