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Commonwealth finance ministers meet


Finance Ministers from the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth, many of who are Africans, are converging at the margins of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings this week in Bali, Indonesia.
Ms Josephine Latu-Sanft, Senior Communications Officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said that the meeting would discuss financing solutions to help counter the risk of natural disasters in their countries.
Under the theme ‘Enhancing national capacity to reduce disaster risk’, the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting would consider Commonwealth proposals.
The proposals, includes an online portal to simplify access to disaster finance and placing long-term advisors in member countries to develop funding applications for disaster risk management.
The Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, said: “Natural disasters are increasingly inflicting massive negative economic and environmental impacts on Commonwealth countries.
“There are dreadful human and social costs resulting from the loss of lives and livelihoods they cause.
“We have seen rising levels of frequency and intensity in the devastating disasters that have affected countries in many regions of the world in recent years, including fatal hurricanes, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis.
“However, finding the means to respond to disaster risks can be complicated.
“The measures to be discussed by ministers directly address the obstacles linked to mobilising disaster finance, in order to assist member countries with reducing, managing, and adapting to disaster risk.”
Ministers would also discuss Commonwealth work on defining and measuring vulnerability at the meeting on Thursday, which would be chaired by Nauru’s Minister of Finance, David Adeang.
It would feature a keynote address by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori.
The proposed Commonwealth Disaster Risk Finance Portal would serve as a ‘one stop shop’ for streamlined access to the numerous financing tools already available.
It would include guidance on navigating the complex funding processes and broad range of providers, each with differing eligibility and access criteria, and challenging terms and conditions.
Ministers would consider extending the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub’s advisory and technical support to cover disaster finance more widely, especially for smaller and more vulnerable Commonwealth countries.
The support would broaden the success of the of the programme, which already has been instrumental in helping to mobilise more than £4 million for climate projects in various parts of the Commonwealth, with a further £140 million in the pipeline.
Ministers would also discuss the concept of a new universal economic vulnerability index to focus on the economic, environmental, socio-political causes of vulnerability.
The meeting of finance ministers is the longest established annual ministerial meeting in the cycle of intergovernmental Commonwealth gatherings.
It provides an opportunity for ministers collectively to consider approaches to emerging global issues and the economic development work programme of the Commonwealth.
Senior officials and Commonwealth Central Bank Governors would meet on Wednesday, prior to the ministerial meeting, to discuss disaster risk reduction and financial technology issues respectively