Rethinking Bretton Woods | Thu, Feb 20, 2014
On February 24, 2014, RBW Project Director Aldo Caliari spoke at “The Debt Problem of Small Vulnerable States: A Time to Act,” a panel discussion organized by the United Nations Financing for Development Office. The event took place in the occasion of the first PrepCom in preparation for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in Samoa in September 2014.
One of the major challenges facing small, mainly middle-income, vulnerable states is unsustainable debt. This problem is especially pronounced in small Caribbean states where average public debt levels for the region amounted to 84.2 percent of GDP and in some states exceeded 140 percent of GDP at the end of 2012. This together with an inherent vulnerability to exogenous shocks, such as that observed throughout the global financial crisis, as well as the existential threat posed by climate change effects makes their situation very worrying. The high debt burden is hampering growth prospects in these states; is exacerbating their vulnerability to economic shocks and as a result is threatening the achievement of development objectives.
The panel discussion seeks to highlight and bring international focus to the debt and financing challenges of small states and concrete policy actions that can be taken to address such challenges.