Citing climate and debt crises, 50+ Caribbean organisations call on Biden administration to take action for the region


St. Michael, Barbados — Over 50 Caribbean-based civil society organisations, led by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), wrote to US President Biden and US Treasury Secretary Yellen today, urging their support for Caribbean countries facing the twin challenges of debt and climate crises. The groups are urging the Biden administration to back a new major allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), debt relief, an end to IMF surcharges, and loss and damage funding to assist countries in the region during a period of a weakened global economy and increasing prevalence of climate-related disasters.

The groups include the Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute, Civil Society Bahamas, the Dominican Republic-based Confederación Nacional de Unidad Sindical (CNUS), Haiti’s Confédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses des Secteurs Public et Privé, the Dominica National Council of Women, the Grenada National Organisation of Women, the Jamaica Environment Trust, Jamaicans For Justice, the National Workers Union of Saint Lucia, and Jubilee Caribbean, among many others.

“The Caribbean is one of the most indebted regions in the world,” the groups write. “Total debt has risen to 74% of the region’s GDP, with debt in countries including Barbados, Suriname, Belize and Jamaica surpassing 100% of GDP,” which means, “Latin America and the Caribbean collectively spend almost 10 times more on debt payments than on healthcare, and 30 times more than on climate adaptation.”

The letter goes on to note that Caribbean countries are “particularly vulnerable to tropical storms” and “face some of the greatest burdens of [climate change’s] impacts” despite being some of the least responsible for the emissions causing the climate crisis. These storms “will continue to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change; the cost of these disasters will increase in tandem. Caribbean countries have lost an estimated $30 billion in GDP
due to extreme weather events between 2000 and 2014,” the letter notes.

The letter explains how the debt and climate crises are intertwined and exacerbate one another:

“These two great challenges — soaring debt burdens and climate change — are a recipe for disaster in our region. With desperately needed resources siphoned off to service ballooning debts, little remains to prepare our nations for the continuous threat of climate catastrophes.”

The letter also notes that climate disasters and economic insecurity are among factors driving migration from the Caribbean and elsewhere and that debt crises lead to social unrest, among other reasons that the US should support initiatives to end the debt crisis and help countries better prepare for, and respond to, climate-related disasters and challenges.

A major new issuance of SDRs would quickly provide much-needed support for countries in the region. The letter describes how some Caribbean nations quickly used their SDRs to fight COVID, boost infrastructure, and pay off IMF debt following a 2021 allocation during the pandemic.

As a regional civil society organisation mobilising regional positions on the issue, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre notes that ending IMF surcharges would assist countries more heavily indebted to the Fund, like Barbados, that are forced to pay millions to the Fund in unnecessary and counterproductive surcharges. Other Caribbean countries are also at risk of having to soon pay such fees to the IMF if they become more reliant on the Fund.

According to Mr. Richard Jones, Officer in Charge of CPDC, “there is a need for major global reform to end discriminatory policies that work against the Caribbean region as it struggles to develop sustainably and build resilience.”

Additionally, a loss and damage fund has long been a priority for Caribbean countries, and while the US has voiced support for the fund, the fund remains “an empty bucket,” something that could change with US leadership as well as contributions.

Beyond the Caribbean, there is much common recognition of these historic challenges. Ahead of the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in July, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva wrote: “Agile multilateral support is vital to tackle common challenges posed by debt vulnerabilities, climate change, and limited concessional financing—especially for countries hit by shocks not of their making.”


About Us:

The Caribbean Policy Development Centre was established in 1991, by Caribbean NGOs to work towards policy change in the interest of Caribbean peoples. CPDC’s mandate is to help Caribbean NGOs to:
• Understand how policies affecting Caribbean people are made,
• Share information about policies and decision-making processes,
• Work to influence and bring positive change to the development process, and
• Lobby for policies which are in the interest of Caribbean people.

The CPDC is a regional network, whose membership comprises other regional development organizations, national networks, umbrella organisations, national agencies, and individuals. Since its inception, the CPDC has undertaken research, analysis, advocacy and lobbying and has formulated policy positions on a variety of issues relevant to Caribbean society. With a history of lobbying and an impressive portfolio of projects and programmes implemented on
behalf of Caribbean peoples, CPDC has been recognised as an important social partner in the development of the region.


Copyright 2012 Dominica News Online, DURAVISION INC. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

Disclaimer: The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of and its parent company or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • contain any material which violates or infringes the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or are purely ad hominem attacks
  • a reasonable person would consider abusive or profane
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote prejudice or prejudicial hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are off-topic and/or excessively long

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.


  1. Rotten heggs
    September 8, 2023

    Dominicans are the worst polluters in the Caribbean. Thousands of junk vehicles are strewn across Dominica including the “CAPITAL CITY OF ROSEAU.” The same government officials who are crying about pollution are the very same ones who refuse to clean up their backyard.

  2. Not so
    September 8, 2023

    If the Caribbean community call on Xi of China wouldn’t that be better? Chana is very thirsty for conquest and domination of the world; why call on the USA? Bunch of hypocrites. Love de Yankee Dollar? Sacres Bett.

  3. If we knew better
    September 8, 2023

    Biden alone? China, Europe. Not only america polluting the world

  4. Ibo France
    September 7, 2023

    Climate change is real. Anyone who continues to deny this fact is an idiot. However, I am not convinced that Caribbean ‘leaders’ are truly concerned about this phenomenon. They are using it to extort money from the international community to continue to support their lavished and elitist lifestyle.

    Examine closely what most of them have done to reduce the carbon footprint in their own countries. Fossil fuel is king; nothing is being done to reduce the toxic emissions from old vehicles; green spaces are being destroyed to erect concrete jungles; and the list of environmental butchery goes on unabated. Charlatans they are.

    • BS
      September 8, 2023

      The climate has always changed. According to these same climate scientists, there was a time in the earth’s history when it was completely covered in ice and I’m not even talking about the recent ice age, I mean the so called “snowball earth” where supposedly the entire earth was one huge ball of ice. What caused that ice to melt? What caused the last ice age to end? If we are basically coming out of a recent ice age wouldn’t it stand to reason that the planet would get hotter? The idea that this is being caused by humans is what is idiotic.

      • Not Nice
        September 11, 2023

        You do have a point earth is warming. It is unbelievable that you all turn this into a political Democrat vs Republican, us vs them thing. They’re only taking about human contributions, what we can mitigate to not speed it up, then let nature take its course. Only the 1%ers are taking that ‘speed’ all the way to the bank, that’s what idiotic.

  5. Ibo France
    September 7, 2023

    Caribbean heads blame everybody but themselves for their self inflicted astronomical indebtedness.This debt crisis is mainly due to CORRUPTION, wasteful spending for re-election, nepotism and cronyism, et cetera.

    There is enough economic growth generated for most citizens to live a comfortable lifestyle. The problem is the inequitable distribution of the resources of the state. Dominica is a glaringly example.

    How can the head of government be the wealthiest person in the Caribbean when 90% of the population lives south of the poverty line?

    Beggars have these amoral heads reduced us to, and beggars we will continue to be with this present crop of greedy, dishonest sad sacks at the helm of our quasi democracies.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  6. Juanita
    September 7, 2023

    Some of these Caribbean countries created their own climate and debt crises by nepotism, poor planning, and bad government policies. For example in one island, a Program Engineer is the Minister of Health while a Medical Doctor is Minister of Finance. Just not cricket, I say. So why should Mr. Biden bail them out?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available