Voluntary National Review 2020

In 2018, the Government of Barbados announced and began implementation of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) Plan to restore macroeconomic stability and place the economy on a path of strong, sustainable and inclusive growth, while safeguarding the financial and social sectors. The BERT Plan outlines the policies that reflect the Government’s alignment of its anti-poverty and sectoral strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the areas of fiscal policy to achieve greater equality; increased social protection access and social spending floors; improved financial innovation, regulation and inclusion and; climate-resilient, carbon neutral and marineconscious public and private investment for growth.

On the basis of the BERT plan, Barbados signed an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October, 2018. The BERT Plan and EFF are perhaps unprecedented as a series of fiscal adjustment and structural reform measures that managed to shift the burden of the adjustment away from labour and the most vulnerable towards capital and the visitor economy. A successfully completed domestic and external debt restructuring, changes to the revenue and expenditure models and ring-fencing and even increases in health, education and social protection investments have led to significant improvements in key social and economic indicators included in the SDG Framework.

This was the environment in the first quarter of 2020 in which the Government of Barbados was preparing to deliver its VNR. It was also the moment in which the global community was called upon to completely reprioritize and reorganize expenditure, global supply chains and economic structures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overnight, we have seen the sharpest, deepest and most farreaching economic recession since the Great Depression, presenting, beyond the disease itself, a further threat to lives and livelihoods. Entire industries have halted activity, millions find themselves unemployed, and decades of global, human development progress are at immediate risk of being reversed. Small, vulnerable, highly-indebted, tourism-dependent states like Barbados are among the hardest hit. The tourism-dependent islands of the Caribbean see on average an over 45% contribution of their GDP from this sector, with comparable levels of employment. As of May 8, 2020. The National Insurance Scheme, the Government’s national social security programme, had received over 35,000 unemployment claims, representing a quarter of the workforce.

For this reason, and as this event has served to reset every development baseline, we propose to present the Barbados VNR 2020 in the context of the country’s broad-based, COVID-19 response, which has not only seen a sharp scaling up of social protection investment and fiscal/financial inclusion policies, but also has implications for the achievement of other targets on which we will report. This VNR will discuss the ways in which the BERT Plan and the COVID-19 response are likely to impact SDG achievement, as well as the opportunities they create to fast-track progress in the goals and targets outlined below. Finally, the Barbados VNR will discuss the perennial challenge of country capacity to monitor achievement, as well as address Goal 17 on the global partnership for development, which has perhaps never been more relevant than it is today, as the world battles a global pandemic, with countries’ having varying levels of access to the key resources needed in this fight.

Focal point
Mr. Ronnie Griffith
Chief Economist
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment of Barbados

Partnerships & Commitments
The below is a listing of all partnership initiatives and voluntary commitments where Barbados is listed as a partner in the Partnerships for SDGs online platform.
9 Jun 2017
6 Jun 2017
20 Jun 2012
12 May 2011
7 May 2010
5 May 2010
9 May 2008
9 May 2007
11 May 2006
21 Apr 2005
29 Apr 2004
United Nations