Castries – Canada’s Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, is the new Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Sajjan, who succeeds Saint Lucian Prime Minister, Phillip Pierre, accepted the mantel at the closing ceremony of the Bank’s 53rd Annual Meeting held Wednesday in Saint Lucia.
The incoming Chairman signalled that “partnership and inclusion” were principles he would champion, and said Canada remained committed to working in close partnership with the Caribbean on climate resilience, economic growth, and responsive governance.
“Much of our work together will also be centred on economic resilience and climate finance. Canada recognises that small island developing states (SIDS) are very vulnerable to economic and climate-related shocks,” Sajjan said.
“These countries are also particularly at risk of biodiversity loss that, quite frankly, the world cannot afford. Tangible action is needed to address these unique vulnerabilities. That is why Canada advocates for SIDS to gain increased access to financing, capacity building, knowledge sharing, and engagement opportunities.”
CDB president, Dr Hyginus “Gene” Leon, said the Bank was anticipating effective collaboration with Sajjan on areas critical to the Caribbean’s development trajectory, including climate action, access to finance and strengthening productive, economic and social resilience of Borrowing Member Countries.
“CDB is eager to strengthen our partnership with the Government and people of Canada who have been strong supporters of the Caribbean’s development agenda. We anticipate building on Canada’s active involvement in the region through this Chairmanship and both sides stand to benefit greatly from closer collaboration,” he said.
The newly installed Chairman explained that he has been “working with CARICOM Member States to keep amplifying SIDS priorities and find solutions that work”, including through his role as Small States’ Champion under the UN-Commonwealth Joint Advocacy Strategy for Small States.
“Over the coming months, there will be further discussions on these themes at the G20, the UN, the World Bank Group and COP28. We also expect the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index to be released in the coming weeks. We can see the momentum building towards refining the international development paradigm, which must include strengthening policies and building partnerships, including between the private sector, governments, and the international community. As CDB chair for the year ahead, I am committed to continuing to engage with the bank and our Caribbean partners to advance this critical work. It’s an exciting time – and we have much work to do together,” Sajjan said. (PR/SAT)