ECCB Monetary Council and IMF Discuss Climate Finance and Regional Collaboration

Representatives of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank meeting with Representatives of the International Monetary Fund.
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Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis – The 107th session of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) took place on February 16, 2024, at the ECCB Campus in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The session was presided over by the Chairman of the Monetary Council, Honourable Camillo Gonsalves, the Minister for Finance representing Saint Vincent and The Grenadines.

Representatives of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank meeting with Representatives of the International Monetary Fund.

Before the official meeting, the ECCB Monetary Council engaged in discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Deputy Director, Mr. Bo Li, and other IMF representatives. The dialogue centered on the progress and challenges within the Caribbean region, along with the policies offered by the IMF to support the region’s developmental goals.

The Chairman of the ECCB Monetary Council Honorable Camillo Gonsalves underscored the imperative to accelerate climate adaptation efforts and explore avenues to secure the financial resources needed.

Chairman Gonsalves stated, “I am pleased with the constructive and candid exchange of views during the Monetary Council’s engagement with the IMF Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Bo Li. It is heartening to see the level of care and attention being accorded by the Fund to the affairs of the Currency Union in recent times. The Fund has been exhibiting an awareness of and sensitivity to some of the challenges that the smallest and most vulnerable in the Caribbean and the world face on our development journey. The developmental headwinds that the countries in the region face are well-known – chief among them being vulnerability. In understanding where we are developmentally and structurally, we first need to address the issue of our vulnerability.”

Chairman Gonsalves further added that more can be done to address the challenges faced by Caribbean nations.

“We need to place the issue of climate finance and adaptation front and center. I thank Deputy Managing Director Li for his gracious offer to collaborate with the region on two points: (i) renewable energy – through support for the ECCB’s Renewable Energy Infrastructure Investment Facility; and (ii) to use the Fund’s convening power to help shine a light on adaptation finance. The adaptation challenges of the region are acute and cannot be financed through the paltry sums currently available. The Monetary Council is grateful for this engagement and looks forward to continuing our collaboration on climate finance”, Chairman Gonsalves stated.

The Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in his statement embraced the opportunity to forge a deeper partnership with the IMF in advancing the collective developmental aspirations of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis and the OECS.

“It is imperative that we emphasize the importance of regional collaboration. As I reflect on our collective population of about 650,000 across the OECS, I’m struck by the reality of our small size. With such limited numbers, accessing essential funding for critical initiatives in resilience and adaptation has proven challenging for small states like St. Kitts and Nevis”, Prime Minister Drew stated.

He added, “However, I firmly believe that by working together as a region, we can unlock greater opportunities. Pooling our resources and leveraging our combined population base can make investments more attractive to private sector entities. St. Kitts and Nevis wholeheartedly supports this approach, recognizing its potential to catalyze transformative opportunities for sustainable development”.

Dr. Drew further highlighted the vulnerabilities faced by Caribbean nations and expressed gratitude to the IMF for their commitment to providing feasible solutions to assist with addressing these challenges.

“In addition to financial challenges, our status as a high-income country poses its own set of vulnerabilities. Our small population and limited capacity, compounded by the looming threat of climate change, further exacerbate these vulnerabilities. Comprehensive resilience strategies are urgently needed to address these multifaceted challenges. I extend my sincere appreciation to Director Bo Li for demonstrating such keen interest in our region and for committing to assisting us in tackling our challenges. Being at the forefront of discussions and practical proposals will enable us to craft practical solutions that yield tangible results”, he stated.

Managing Deputy Director of IMF Mr. Bo Li lauded the progress made by the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in a statement issued following the meeting.

“I would like to thank Prime Minister Terrance Drew and the members of the ECCB Monetary Council for their warm welcome and constructive discussions on the potential benefits of St. Kitts and Nevis’ large renewable energy resources and ongoing policy initiatives to build a sustainable and resilient island nation”, he added, “I want to underscore St. Kitts and Nevis’ strong progress made on climate adaptation and resilience building and reiterate that the IMF is committed to supporting ECCU member countries, including through policy advice, capacity development, and the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST).”

Director Bo Li further spoke to the existential threat posed by climate change in the Caribbean and the potential for renewable energy prospects.

He stated, “The region also has large potential in renewable energy development. The immense challenges and opportunities involved in climate adaptation and mitigation require a holistic set of climate policies while ensuring that strong public finance and debt sustainability policy frameworks are in place. Adaptation investments and the green energy transition require affordable and sustainable financing. The region can benefit from greater collaboration among multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, bilateral donors, and private investors to help them explore new options for crowding in private climate finance”.

The 107th session of the ECCB Monetary Council marked a pivotal point in the region’s pursuit of sustainable development and resilience against the challenges posed by climate change. The dialogue with the IMF underscores a shared commitment to fostering collaboration, innovation, and financial solutions that can propel the Eastern Caribbean towards a more prosperous and secure future.

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