UN Secretary-General joins new model financing call

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The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has added his voice to calls for a new financial model to assist the hurricane-stricken Caribbean islands.
The SG’s comments were made during his Sunday visit to Dominica after a first-hand look at the devastation on Barbuda the day before.
“It is clear and it must be clear for the international community that the level of support that Dominica requires cannot be achieved through the traditional instruments,” Guterres said.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne had made the call during his address to the UN General Assembly in September, saying a revamp of the international financial architecture was necessary if small, disaster-hit countries like his were to recover.  He dubbed as absurd the financial model that sees developing nations denied aid and concessionary borrowing terms because of their classification as high income countries despite the economic realities within those countries.  
Guterres took up the message in an address to the Dominican media.
“There must be, even if Dominica is a middle-income country, but a middle-income country with an enormous vulnerability that was proven in a very dramatic way, there must be a review of the way middle-income countries that are particularly vulnerable to external shocks, are supported with direct support with concessional loans. “
According to the UN chief, there must be new financial instruments, bonds of different natures, linked mainly to the buildup of resilience.
“There must be a way to look into the debt of these countries and to transform it into an instrument of reconstruction and resilience,” he said. “There must be a number of innovative ways of financing that are essential for this country to be able, even with the extraordinary effort of the government of the people, for the country to be able to rebuild itself.”
Guterres also lauded Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s vision of rebuilding his devastated country as the “first entirely climate resilient country in the world.”
“In whatever we will be able to do, the United Nations is entirely at your side,” the secretary general stated.  The UN and its partners recently launched an appeal for U.S. $31.1 million to reach over 90 per percent of Dominicans – some 65,000 people – in the next three months
Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, smashed into Dominica on September 18 with extreme winds and rain. At least 27 people were confirmed killed with more than 20 missing.  It left people without electricity and water, destroyed homes, and isolated communities on the mountainous island.

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