Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who first took to the stage of international climate politics with a fiery speech at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, is now urging global institutions to finally address the challenges of environmental degradation.
Why It Matters: Your efforts, known as the Bridgetown Initiative or something similar, could help prevent the suffering of billions of people in developing countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change.
- In particular, it can help countries recover as they prepare for future events, from increasingly frequent and deadly weather shocks, from droughts to stronger tropical cyclones.
Breaking News: At an intimate conference in Washington Thursday ahead of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund spring meetings, Motley said the impact of extreme weather conditions means the interests of developing and developed countries are converging.
- He was referring to Cyclone Freddy, the longest-lasting tropical cyclone of all time. In March, its rains and winds swept through parts of Malawi, Kenya and Mozambique.
- Motley also drew attention to this week's flooding in Fort Lauderdale, Florida: "How long does this have to go on?" he asked, before leaders of the largest and wealthiest countries took significant action on climate finance.
- "The Global North needs investment from the Global South if it is to maintain the stability, security and ultimately the prosperity of the planet and therefore its own."
Content: Motley spoke of "growing anger in the Global South" and pointed out that the industrialized countries have so far not kept their commitments to climate finance, let alone promise more.
- For example, in 2009 rich countries pledged to provide $100 billion in aid to developing countries every year through 2020. This figure, which many countries consider minimal, has not been reached.
- In international climate finance, developing countries continue to face an unlevel playing field in accessing credit and other financial support for climate adaptation.
Expand: Your loan repayment terms can be much shorter than a typical 30-year mortgage, and interest rates vary depending on the country's level of development.
- At an event hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, Mottley read a list of some of the original (and current) World Bank and IMF lending rates to Barbados. In one case the increase was 400%.
- Nationally, Mottley pioneered the use of catastrophe loan provisions, which allow payments to be temporarily suspended following extreme weather or climate events.
- This could allow a hurricane-prone country like Barbados to continue servicing its debt after temporarily redirecting funds for post-storm recovery.
- Mottley is now working to roll out a similar concept internationally.
Between the lines: Motley, as well as Rockefeller experts who spoke separately to Axios, said there were signs of movement at the spring meetings, but not enough.
- Instead, Motley is looking forward to the June summit in Paris, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, which aims to bring world leaders together to discuss a new global fiscal pact.
- Motley said the concrete outcomes of this meeting are very important for the credibility of the COP28 summit to be held in Dubai later this year.
- “The world no longer believes those coming out of the COP. We need to go to COP28 with a background, not promises,” he said.