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(Debt to Island States) Shifting the Climate Paradigm: Ensuring access to finance for SIDS

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Climate finance has been a core issue in international climate policy for over a decade. The COP26 UN climate conference, was an opportunity to meet and begin addressing SIDS, LDCs and other vulnerable nations’ access to climate finance. What are other opportunities exist for indebted island states?

Speakers

Senior Associate/Solicitor, Dentons Delany

Rachel Welch-Phillips

Rachel Welch-Phillips is a Senior Associate in the Trinidad & Tobago office of Dentons Delany and is a member of the regional Corporate and Commercial practice group where she focuses on mergers & acquisitions, commercial contract drafting and negotiation, project development, debt financing, and regulatory advice across a variety of industry sectors. In addition to corporate and commercial matters, Rachel has a particular focus on environmental compliance and advisory matters and holds undergraduate and masters degrees in Environmental Policy.
Rachel is co-leader of Dentons’ Caribbean-wide ESG Steering Committee. She holds a deep passion for assisting clients on their ESG journeys both internal and client facing. Rachel spent several years practicing law in London assisting clients across Europe with access to ESG financing, developing internal ESG strategies, complying with the ESG regulatory landscape in Europe and embedded their ESG goals into commercial and procurement contracts. Now that she has returned to her home country of Trinidad, she is eager to assist in the national and regional discourse around ESG and assist businesses and regulatory bodies with accelerating progress in this space.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda & Chair of AOSIS

Hon. Gaston Browne

During the past eleven years, Browne served as s a senior bank manager with the Swiss American Banking Group managing in excess of $400 million in assets, as Minister of Planning and Trade and Member of Parliament. He is presently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a company involved in construction and land development. Mr. Browne also served as director of several companies including LIAT (1974) Ltd (Aviation), Antigua Pier Group Ltd. Infrastructural Development) and Community Motors Ltd.

Mr. Browne’s motto is “to serve and empower,” a creed by which he lives. This can be seen in his contributions to the empowerment of the people of Point & Villa. He believes in empowerment and is passionately oppose to poverty. MP Browne frequently refers to poverty as the greatest scourge on the planet. Among his achievements at the constituency level are: An EC$30 million Fishery Development Centre, The establishment of a sporting, entertainment and leisure facility at Dredge Bay, An Information Communication Technology Centre in the Point, a Library, Computer Centre at the Villa Primary School and an affordable housing project at Dredge Bay. His achievements during a time of fiscal crisis are remarkable, were as a result of his resolve to succeed and his commitment to serve.

Led by Browne, the ABLP was returned to office in the 12 June 2014 general election after 10 years in opposition, winning 14 out of 17 seats. Browne was sworn in as Prime Minister on 13 June 2014.

Browne successfully led the ABLP to a second consecutive election victory on 21 March 2018. He was sworn in as Prime Minister for a second term on 22 March 2018.

Debt Manager, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Governance, Antigua and Barbuda

Nadia Spencer-Henry

Nadia Spencer-Henry has over 20 years’ experience in fiscal and debt management. She has worked with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission of Antigua and Barbuda. She is currently debt manager in the Ministry of Finance of Antigua and Barbuda and has served in this capacity for the last 10 years. She has been appointed to serve for the fourth term of the Board of the Green Climate Fund to represent SIDs from 2022-2024.

She is a doctoral candidate with the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus and her research interest is climate finance.

Head of Advocacy, Jubilee Debt Campaign (U.K.)

Jerome Phelps

Jerome is an experienced advocacy professional and NGO leader. He has a track record of developing successful strategies for radical change, using a wide range of activities and tactics. He is adept at framing key issues, designing and conducting research, developing collaborative strategies, advocating to key targets and bringing together multiple stakeholders in the process of change. He has worked at the national, regional and global levels, with partners and stakeholders from grassroots activists to intergovernmental bodies.

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) Chair, Small Island Developing States

Kerry McCarthy MP

In April 2020 I was asked by Keir Starmer to join his frontbench as shadow Green Transport Minister. My brief includes the decarbonisation of transport, active travel (ie cycling and walking), Brexit and roads policy.
I’m active in a number of All-Party Parliamentary Groups – ranging from the APPGs on Agroecology, Climate Change, Oceans Conservation and Net Zero, to Music, Theatre and Snooker! I also play an active role in some of the country APPGs – such as Tibet, Belize and Somaliland – and I’m now setting up an APPG on the Small Island Developing States, specifically with a view to lobbying for their interests to be represented at COP26, the UN Climate Talks being hosted by the UK later this year.
I’m not a musician, but I’m a member of the Musicians Union, and a patron of the Music Venue Trust. I also belong to SERA (Labour’s Environment Campaign), LAWS (Labour Animal Welfare Society), the SHA (Socialist Health Association), the Co-op Party, and support organisations like Greenpeace, the Wildlife Trusts and Compassion in World Farming.
Over the years I’ve introduced a number of backbench bills – including my current Supported Housing (Regulation) Bill, which has recently led to the Government setting up pilot schemes to investigate the scale of the problem in the supported housing sector, and whether regulation is needed.
I’ve previously introduced two Food Waste Bills and set up/ chaired the Food Waste APPG to campaign for the issue to be given greater priority in Government policy, which is now happening. I’m also an officer of the APPGs
on School Food and the National Food Strategy, and helped set up Feeding Bristol, which has done so much to alleviate food poverty in our city.
I’m well-known for being a vegan. It will be 30 years by the end of 2021; a rare example of making a New Year’s Resolution and sticking to it. I’ve spoken frequently in Parliament about the links between our food system and the environment, and I’m pleased that these arguments – for which I was once roundly ridiculed! – are now gaining common currency.
Some years ago I introduced a Kinship Care Bill, to highlight the contributions and sacrifices made by people who have taken on the children of family members or friends who are unable to look after them anymore, and I was a member of the Kinship Care Taskforce.

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