British overseas territories hit by natural disasters could get access to foreign aid under plans agreed by the richest nations, the BBC has learned.
Some Caribbean islands damaged last year by hurricanes did not get official development assistance because their national incomes were too high.
After UK pressure, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has agreed a new mechanism.
It would see them appear on the official list of poorer countries.
This would mean the countries are eligible for official development assistance – known as ODA.
Until now, there was no procedure for middle income countries to register for ODA if they suffered an unexpected economic decline as a result of a natural disaster.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told the BBC the “significant rule change” was “a major victory” for the UK which now had “more options in how it can help a nation recover and become more resilient to shocks”.
In autumn 2017, the British overseas territories of Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands were badly damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
But there was controversy after the BBC revealed that Britain’s £14bn aid budget could not be used to help repair the islands.
The money had to be found from other budgets.