President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Gene Leon, is urging regional governments to institute strong accountability and compliance mechanisms to ensure that corruption does not limit access to climate finance from multilateral and private sources in light of the Caribbean’s extreme vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
“As is the case with most small island developing states, the need for climate finance and favourable access conditions is a matter of life and death for Caribbean countries. However, the sizeable financing required to address infrastructural and economic vulnerabilities and to recover from shocks, may also present opportunities for corruption. At all costs, access to affordable climate financing must be protected from mal-administration and corruption,” Dr Leon said.
The CDB President emphasised that the issue was of specific concern to the Bank, which is spearheading initiatives to secure affordable climate finance for its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).
“Given the immense need throughout the region, our member countries cannot risk any form of sanction that could limit their access to these resources. We, therefore, urge our BMCs to be vigilant and to put in place strong monitoring, compliance, and accountability frameworks to not only secure climate financing, but to facilitate timely implementation of climate change interventions for the benefit of the peoples of our region,” he said.
Dr Leon made the call today at the opening of CDB’s second annual Caribbean Conference on Corruption, Compliance, and Cybercrime (3Cs). The two-day event is at the centre of the Bank’s efforts to promote strong governance as standard practice for regional institutions.
In his address, the CDB President also emphasised that strong governance systems are a pre-requisite for the success of the region’s sustainable development agenda. He cited a disclosure by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals can be derailed through many forms of corruption. He also quoted research from the International Monetary Fund which estimates the global cost of bribery is equivalent to a total economic loss of approximately 2% of global gross domestic product per year.
“Weak governance, therefore, places our economies and societies in peril; and CDB’s anti‑corruption outreach is yet another means through which we can support sustained and resilient economic development in our region,” Dr Leon said.
The 3Cs conference agenda for Day 1 includes panels on the role of governance in the drive to end poverty and drive growth in the Caribbean, new insights on cybercrime: lessons for the Caribbean and the role of the private sector in curbing corruption, money laundering and cybercrime. The event continues tomorrow with discussions on corruption and climate financing and corruption and COVID-19 financing. Conference panellists and presenters include regional and international speakers, and the audience includes participants from more than 45 countries.
President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Gene Leon has pledged to work even more closely with Trinidad and Tobago as the Bank seeks to strengthen ties with the twin island republic.