Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Hon. Charles Fernandez, made a call for increased partnerships among Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to build resiliency to common vulnerabilities.
In an address given at the 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference in Apia Samoa, Minister Fernandez indicated that the small size of SIDS economies increases the risk for large investment projects and thus acts as a deterrent to potential investment. Such risks, he suggested however, can be mitigated if four or more SIDS approach creditors together as joint stakeholders in individual projects; offering a safer investment for creditors and reducing the financial stress on individual SIDS countries.
The Foreign Minister also urged for the international community to consider debt forgiveness or debt restructuring at levels of interest favourable to small states and a reconsideration of the criteria used to determine the eligibility of SIDS for Official Development Assistance. Additionally, he called for urgent attention to be given to the issues of gender equity, youth participation within SIDS and the operationalization of the Special Climate Change and Adaptation Fund to greater assist SIDS face the challenges of climate change.