Debt-for-Climate Swaps for Small Island Developing States: An Innovative Approach to Preventing a SIDS Debt Crisis

April 20 — 22,Via Zoom

  • Climate
  • Event

Mounting debt levels is arguably one of the most important factors that impede development and perpetuate poverty. There are now a number of initiatives to assuage the debt burden of the most indebted poor countries. Debt relief, when structured properly, can achieve sustainable levels of debt and provide the fiscal space and macroeconomic environment conducive to sustainable development and climate action. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a group of countries with unique characteristics and common developmental challenges when it comes to financing for development. The fears of unsustainable levels of debt in SIDS have turned into reality as SIDS debt is now significantly worse as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As part of a COVID-19 economic rescue package for SIDS, the international community have an opportunity to address simultaneously the crises of debt, advance climate protection and enable SIDS to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals, the SAMOA Pathway and the Paris Agreement. This High-Level Side Event aims to to align the discussions of debt-for-climate swap with the Financing for Development Forum and to provide space for member states, climate finance experts, civil society, the private sector and the United Nations systems and institutions to discuss and present proposals on how to advance the implementation of debt for climate swap for SIDS and how other developing countries can benefit.


13:10-13:15       Side event opens for participants to join

13:15-13:25       Introductory Remarks

  • Introductory Remarks by H.E. Dr. Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN and Chair of AOSIS
  • Remarks by H.E. Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, Under Secretary General of the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

13:25-13:45      The Big Picture: SIDS Debt Crisis and the Compounding Impacts of Climate Change and COVID-19

  • Overview of the Debt Challenges Faced by SIDS, presentation by Ms. Iolanda Fresnillo, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Eurodad
  • Two Steps Down the Debt Spiral: Debt, COVID-19 and Climate Change, presentation by Ms. Thessa Beck, Research Analyst, Climate Analytics

13:45-14:43      Interactive Panel Discussion

  • H.E. Mrs. Diann Black-Layne, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador for Climate Change and Chair of AOSIS for Climate Change
  • Ms. Babita Bisht, Deputy Director of External Relations and Lead on Strategic Outreach and Partnerships, The Green Climate Fund
  • Ms. Iolanda Fresnillo, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Eurodad
  • Dr. Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Head of Climate Science and Impacts, Climate Analytics

14:43-14:45      Closing Remarks

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