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Debt and Access to Finance for Small Island Developing States in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond

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Access to finance is a critical issue for countries rebuilding their economies and to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This session will explore the approaches that island nations require and expand on existing strategies in order to create more resilient economies and drive sustainable green growth.

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Speakers:

Kavita Desai

Advisor on Sustainable Development and Global Policy, United Nations Foundation

Ms. Kavita Desai was Adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to the United Nations, from 2010 to 2016. Her duties at the Mission covered a range of topics including climate change, human rights, and legal issues, with a particular focus on sustainable development. She negotiated the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, advocating for the inclusion of SDG 16 on peaceful societies and working closely with the Pacific Small Island Developing States on SDG 13 on climate action. She also represented the Group of 77 and China during negotiations on 'Women in Development' between 2012 and 2016. Since joining the UN Foundation's Global Policy Team she focuses on supporting SDG initiatives and UN processes. Leading engagement at the regional and global level across development and human rights issues, including work around SDG implementation and reporting.
Kavita Desai

Advisor on Sustainable Development and Global Policy, United Nations Foundation

Johannes Zutt

Director of the Strategy, Risk, Results and Learning Department at The World Bank

Johannes Zutt became the Director for Strategy, Results, and Risk in the World Bank’s Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) vice presidency in January 2019.

In this role, Zutt focuses on strengthening the results focus and managing the risks of World Bank operations as well as the overall staff learning program. He also plays a key role in various strategic engagements, including for IDA.

Before joining OPCS, Zutt served as the World Bank’s Country Director for Turkey. Previously, he held several other Country Director positions for: Comoros, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles and Somalia; and also for Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

In 2008, he served as the acting head of the Department of Integrity (INT), the anti-corruption unit of the World Bank Group, and prior to that, as the Adviser to one of the Bank’s two Managing Directors.

From 2000 to 2006, he worked as the Country Program Coordinator for Angola, China, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, and Zambia, as well as the team leader for numerous country strategies and projects.

A Dutch national, Zutt joined the World Bank in 1999. He has a J.D. from Harvard University and a D.Phil. (in philosophy) from the University of Oxford.

Johannes Zutt

Director of the Strategy, Risk, Results and Learning Department at The World Bank

Deodat Maharaj

Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency

Mr. Maharaj, a national of Trinidad and Tobago has extensive experience in international trade, working with the private sector, governments, and multi-lateral institutions in a career spanning more than 25 years.
He previously served as Deputy Secretary General of the 54-nation Commonwealth where he led its work in economic and social development. He spearheaded the trade and investment agenda for the Commonwealth across its developing country membership in the Caribbean, Pacific, Africa, and Asia. Mr. Maharaj understands the vital role of the private sector as a key driver and partner in development and in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achievement in partnership with government. He also recognises the importance of creating an enabling environment for business to succeed and the imperative of attracting foreign direct investment in regions such as ours.
Mr. Maharaj supported the establishment of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council and sat on its Advisory Board for three years. Mr. Maharaj also served with the United Nations in senior roles in the field and at headquarters. He has also lived and worked in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Tanzania and Mozambique.
A graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mr. Maharaj’s academic qualifications include a BSc; Government; Postgraduate Diploma, International Relations; MSc., International Affairs; Bachelor of Laws; and Postgraduate Legal Practice Certificate.
Deodat Maharaj

Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency

Jerome Phelps

Head of Advocacy, Jubilee Debt Campaign

Jerome Phelps has been Head of Advocacy at Jubilee Debt Campaign since February 2021. His work includes scoping just solutions to address the sovereign debt crisis facing many countries in the Global South, including debt restructuring and new finance. A particular area of focus is the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to unsustainable debt as a result of their exposure to climate disasters and their ineligibility for much concessional finance and debt restructuring initiatives due to their income status.
He is an experienced NGO leader, with 16 years of management experience in the migration and economic justice sectors. Between 2016 and 2018 he led the International Detention Coalition, a global civil society network focused on developing person-centred and non-coercive solutions to migration management challenges through constructive multi-stakeholder collaboration. He has also worked on several occasions as a consultant for the Council of Europe.
He has worked at the national and global levels and in every region, with partners from grassroots activists to intergovernmental bodies and UN agencies. He has a track record of developing successful strategies for change, involving a wide range of activities and processes, including innovative policy development, research, parliamentary advocacy and media campaigning.
Jerome Phelps

Head of Advocacy, Jubilee Debt Campaign

Dr Ratnakar Adhikari

Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework Secretariat at the WTO

Dr Ratnakar Adhikari has been serving the Executive Secretariat for the EIF at the WTO as its Executive Director since October 2013. Previously, he was the Chief Executive Director of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, a Kathmandu-based regional think-tank. In the past, he also served, among others, as a Senior Adviser to the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal; as Trade Programme Specialist for UNDP, Asia Pacific Regional Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and as Credit Manager at Nepal Indosuez Bank Ltd.

Dr Adhikari has conducted extensive research as well as published in the areas of international trade, foreign direct investment and Aid for Trade. He obtained his PhD from the University of Warwick, UK; his Masters of International Law and Economics from the World Trade Institute, Switzerland; and his Masters of Commerce from the University of Delhi, India.

Dr Ratnakar Adhikari

Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework Secretariat at the WTO

Nadia Spencer-Henry

Debt Manager in the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Governance, AOSIS

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