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Excerpt from the World Economic Forum’s Agenda

  • Saint Lucia is paving the way for scalable local solutions to raise funds towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Ambitious targets are necessary to ignite change that supports Small Island Developing States and other emerging economies to adopt new and innovative funding mechanisms.
  • Sustainable development and long-term resilience will require regional cooperation and integration to amplify our collective impact.

The start of 2021 on one hand shines a ray of possibility and hope for positive change in many areas of global concern. On the other hand, there is an intensified feeling of urgency and a growing imperative to develop and enact sustainable development solutions across thematic areas. In Saint Lucia and beyond, the existing consequences of COVID-19 have carried over, hand in hand with reports of a new and threatening coronavirus variant, reiterating the importance of identifying needs for post-pandemic survival and preparing for unexpected changes.

The new year is also a testament to the existing, pre-pandemic vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It is no secret that many SIDS depend on tourism – accounting for more than 40% of GDP in Saint Lucia before the COVID-19 outbreak – as a large portion of their economy and, with rapidly-decreasing amounts of post COVID-19 foreign direct investment, time is not on our side. Moreover, the recent impact of Cyclone Yasa in the Pacific has reminded us of the constant threat of climate emergencies and natural disasters faced by small island nations.

Placing humanity at the forefront of the development finance sphere is crucial now more than ever before, to rebuild livelihoods and create a better future for global communities. While long-term development financing to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is paramount for overall social inclusivity and environmental sustainability, we know that it will take concrete, solutions-based planning to get there. Here are three ways SIDS and other developing economies can unlock innovative financing to achieve the SDGs:

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