Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 3, 2016 (SKNIS): Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, will be among Commonwealth Finance Ministers this week at the 2016 Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting (CFMM) to be held at the Headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., U.S.A. on October 6.

In the run up to the October 6th meeting, Prime Minister Harris is expected to participate in significant policy-making discussions occurring in Washington D.C. on the problem of derisking by correspondent bank, Brexit, mobilization of diaspora flows/remittances and investment opportunities.

Additionally, the prime minister will have consultations with citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis residing in the Washington D.C./Maryland area; he will also meet with staff of the St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Embassy in Washington D.C.

The prime minister will be assisted by a technical team which includes Financial Secretary, Hilary Hazel; Deputy Financial Secretary, Sylvia Gumbs; Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OAS, His Excellency Dr. Everson Hull; and St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Thelma Phillip-Browne.

The discussions at the CFMM will focus on topical issues that have arisen from the global response to the Panama Papers and practical action to enhance Commonwealth access to climate finance and new financial instruments to help countries manage climate shocks.

Prime Minister Harris told the 193-member body of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 24 that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) remain extremely vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and are in need of “a strategy to promote climate financing.”

“Mr. President, St. Kitts and Nevis, like so many of the Small Island Developing States remains inherently vulnerable due mainly to our small physical size, open economies, diseconomies of scale and small population,” he said, while emphasizing “as we have seen time and again, a climatic event of a few hours can wreak havoc on every single aspect of life on our islands.”

“We have in the past asked that a strategy to promote climate financing be addressed and I once again reiterate that call. It means nothing to say that billions of dollars are available for climate financing, if the mechanisms for accessing them are opaque, prohibitive and extremely difficult to penetrate. Again, I urge common sense cooperation and partnership,” he added. The Chair of the CFMM discussions will be Finance Minister of India, Honourable Shri Arun Jaitley.

The keynote address of the CFMM will be delivered by Professor Lord Stern, I.G., Patel Professor of Economics and Government, at the London School of Economics. His address will highlight the economics of climate change and the opportunities and challenges with financing climate adaptation and mitigation activities.

Also, a meeting of Commonwealth Central Bank Governors, will be held on 5 October, which will focus on the impact of de-risking, the sharing of national and regional policy responses, as well as action that should be taken by the international community. Governors will have the opportunity to engage with the US Treasury on this issue.

The Central Bank Governors will also have the opportunity to provide their individual and regional perspectives on the impact of ‘Brexit’ and specifically the challenges it poses for monetary policy.

The meeting of the Commonwealth Bank Governors will be chaired by Governor Enari from the Central Bank of Samoa.

The outcome of the October 5th meeting with the Central Bank Governors will feed into the CFMM agenda.

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