Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Dr. The Hon. Jerome X. Walcott (MBBS, FRCS), received in audience the newly appointed Resident Representative (RR) of UNDP for Barbados and the OECS, Mr. Magdy Martinez Soliman.
The Foreign Minister, accompanied by his senior officials for Multilateral Affairs, wished the UNDP diplomat a warm welcome to Barbados and reiterated the positive collaboration between his country, the UN, and UNDP in particular. He mentioned that he wished to see the funding of UNDP for Barbados remain strong, which the UNDP RR assured would be the case. The Minister inquired about climate vulnerability, as a measure of a country’s resilience challenges in the face of climate change, and expressed the well-known position of Barbados’ foreign policy according to which per capita income thresholds should not be the only yardstick that qualifies a country to access international concessional finance.
Mr. Martinez shared these views, in the light of recent evidence, and stated that climate-vulnerable countries should not be prevented from accessing preferential rate loans because of having a good economic record, especially when they invest such loans in recovery or in resilient infrastructure. The Foreign Minister discussed the interest of the Barbados Government in the concept of Blue Economy, and mentioned several examples of positive developments in protection of natural resources and development of touristic offerings, but also negative impacts of climate, for instance on coral reefs.
The UNDP Representative offered collaboration in matters of biodiversity, protection of natural areas, including marine parks and coastal belts, as well as economic diversification in the context of the blue economy, gave examples of the work of the Blue Lab of UNDP with sargassum and alternatives to non-reusable plastics, and expressed his wish to see the technical assistance provided to Barbados grow over the coming years.
The Minister concluded the courtesy call by receiving Letters of Credence of Mr. Martinez and wishing him a successful tenure over the coming years.