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Prime Minister of Barbados calls for ‘urgent action’ on climate crisis

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The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is calling for ‘urgent action’ on the climate crisis, a major topic of discussion at the Meeting.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is calling for ‘urgent action’ on the climate crisis, a major topic of discussion at the Meeting. Image: World Economic Forum

Spencer Feingold
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum Geneva
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This article is part of: Annual Meeting of the New Champions

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  • The World Economic Forum's 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions convenes in Tianjin, China, from 27-29 June.
  • Over 1,500 participants from nearly 90 countries are gathering at a crucial time for the global economy.
  • The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is calling for ‘urgent action’ on the climate crisis, a major topic of discussion at the Meeting.

Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, has urged governments and private sector leaders to take immediate action on addressing climate change. She was speaking at the 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions as part of a panel on 'Braving the Headwinds: Rewiring Growth Amid Fragility'.

“I think we are all agreed that first and foremost, the world is facing a climate crisis,” Mottley said during the World Economic Forum’s gathering in Tianjin, China. “What is required is urgent action.”

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Barbados is one of the Caribbean’s most vulnerable nations to climate change. In recent years, the island has endured major and more frequent hurricanes alongside rising sea levels, leading to coastal erosion and major flooding.

Mottley stressed that addressing the climate crisis requires both public and private investments. In particular, the private sector is suited to advance mitigation and adaptation strategies, she said.

“Let’s take hotels that are on beaches,” Mottley noted. “If coastal erosion is bad, their revenue is going to be compromised.”

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Mottley added that facilitating flows of capital — the “oxygen” needed for climate action — between developed and developing countries is critical.

In 2022, Barbados released a plan to reform the way wealthier countries finance poorer countries in a climate crisis. The Bridgetown Initiative, named after the island’s capital city, calls for emergency liquidity to mitigate the debt crisis faced by many countries and expand multilateral lending by $1 trillion.

The project has been compared to the Marshall Plan, the 1948 US aid programme that provided more than $13 billion of foreign aid to help Western Europe recover after World War II.

“The problem is that there is a serious disparity in the pricing of capital between the global north and the global south,” Mottley explained during the session in Tianjin. “We therefore have to start where we can make meaningful progress and we believe that is in the area of finance.”

Mottley is said to be leading the global fight for this money and jointly hosted the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris last week.

In Tianjin, Mottley added that private-sector funding is also key, stating that an estimated $1.5 trillion would likely be needed.

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