Barbados could benefit from a major special policy-based loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as the country embarks on its environmental sustainability programmes.
IDB Country Representative to Barbados Juan Carlos de la Hoz Viñas put forward the suggestion on Monday as he addressed the opening of a panel discussion at the Courtyard by Marriott on the theme Assessing and Addressing the Impact of Natural Disasters.
He said the financial institution was in the process of developing the loan, which officials would be presenting to the board for approval in a matter of weeks.
“I think this is a flagship for the bank and for Barbados – a new policy-based loan based on sustainability which is going to be the first in the history of the bank and we are very proud of that,” said de la Hoz Viñas.
“There has been a lot of efforts and a lot of discussions and we are hoping to bring this project to the board in a few weeks and it is going to be a very interesting discussion at the board because we are going to emphasise that is a part of what we can do with a government that is pretty much committed,” he said.
Stating that the IDB has been providing assistance to government in the area of climate resilience over the years, he said the bank would also be presenting a “new type of insurance” product that it has developed to its board.
“So it is going to be a very interesting year in terms of operations and we hope in terms of bringing in expertise and [holding] discussions for policy matters in Barbados,” said de la Hoz Viñas.
Meanwhile, Minister of Economic Affairs and Investment Marsha Caddle said Government has been in discussions with the development financing institution in relation to parametric triggers.
“One of the things we have been very excited to engage with IDB on is the issue of parametric triggers – what is it that triggers disbursements under certain kinds of contingency facilities and instruments that you have done such an amazing job of being able to create for countries like us in the region,” said Caddle.
“What we looked at is that perhaps one of those parametric triggers should be slow onset events like erosion of our beaches,” said Caddle.
Pointing out that the country depended heavily on tourism, the minister said it was critical that the island’s coasts were protected.
“So it means that any event that compromises the integrity of the coast or the integrity of the reefs we have to mitigate against,” she said.
“Not only do we need immediate liquidity after a severe weather event, but we also need to be able to build resilience before events happen,” she added.
In that regard, Caddle said Government would also continue to “identify the kinds of instruments” needed and continue to work closely with the private sector.