Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has lauded a decision by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to change the way Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are classified as high or middle income countries based on per capita income.
Chastanet told reporters Wednesday that the decision was taken at an OECD board meeting Tuesday.
“This is a massive breakthrough,” he stated.
According to the World Bank’s classification, the majority of small states are categorised as middle or high income, despite the fact that the GDP per capita does not capture vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks.
Prime Minister Chastanet explained that after the hurricanes that have battered the region, the United Kingdom took the lead in presenting the case for small vulnerable countries like Saint Lucia.
“We should be hearing very soon that the smaller states like ours will be reclassified to enable us to get concessionary funding,” Chastanet disclosed.
He expressed his gratitude to United Kingdom Prime Minister, Theresa May and the Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers of the UK for taking quick action on behalf of small countries.
Chastanet explained that the issue of identifying funding now has to be addressed.
He said two meetings are due to be held shortly.
“We are talking about the possibility, for example, of creating a resilience bond or finding another way in which money can be specifically earmarked for the SID countries to help build resilience,” Chastanet stated.
“Once we have been able to identify the funds the third part is to review the processes used in the past to draw down on the funds. Sometimes as we have seen, it takes years for that to take place and what we are saying is that we don’t have years at this point,” the Saint Lucia prime minister observed.
He expressed the hope that before the end of the year the entire process can be finalised so that solving the problems of small countries will be expedited.