“I call on developed countries to help SIDS help themselves. We cannot wait till 2020 to see finance to deal with the emergency situations, build resilience in our countries as far as possible, and the loss and damage that is already occurring.
“Our people have proven to be and will continue to be resilient. But here, on the international level, I say to you: all it takes is a pen; a pen to create the policies to prioritise the resources; a pen to change the protocols used to disperse funds; a pen to change macroeconomic targets, realising that we cannot invest in resilience without putting our counties into deeper economic volatility. This means that the frameworks we have under this process must be sensitive to the urgent needs of SIDS … and not simply wrapped up in bureaucracy.” – Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Jon. Allen Chastanet, Lead Head of Government in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet with responsibility for Sustainable Development, including the Environment and Disaster Management and Water, at COP 23
November 13, 2017, BONN, Germany – The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) have set up an emergency post-disaster reconstruction financing initiative to help the Region recover from recent hurricane events.
The arrangement will support investments for infrastructure reconstruction projects in the Caribbean in the wake of the recent hurricanes. The new US$24M financing package is an addition to the US$120M Climate Action Framework Loan II signed in May this year, and which remains the EIB’s biggest loan to the Caribbean.
Eligible investments under the new loan will include infrastructure reconstruction, with a focus on “building back better” and integrating climate risk and vulnerability assessments into the projects. This will help reduce the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries’ vulnerability to future natural disasters and worsening climate change impacts. As well as infrastructure, financing to communities for low-carbon and climate-resilience measures such as improved water resource management are also foreseen.
CDB President Wm. Warren Smith and EIB Vice President responsible for Climate Action, Jonathan Taylor, signed the new agreement during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany. Small Island Developing States is a key theme for the event this year under the Fijian Presidency. Against this backdrop, CDB and EIB presented innovative solutions to climate challenges during an event focusing on climate action in the Caribbean, attended by the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Allen Chastanet and other stakeholders.
Caribbean Development Bank
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), is a regional financial institution which was established by an Agreement signed on October 18, 1969, in Kingston, Jamaica, and entered into force on January 26, 1970. The Bank came into existence for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean and promoting economic cooperation and integration among them, having special and urgent regard to the needs of the less developed members of the region (Article 1 of the Agreement establishing CDB). In the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the CDB is recognised as an Associate Institution of CARICOM
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States must seize the opportunity to help the countries that were devastated by the recent hurricanes to build back better and become the first climate-resilient nations in the world.
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, delivered this charge in remarks he made at the opening of the Forty-Fifth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, Thursday morning.
The impact of the hurricanes wrought on some CARICOM Member States and Associate Members have affected various sectors including agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, housing, infrastructure, energy, and communications. The impact has also caused ripple effects across the Region, given the level of integration, the Secretary-General pointed out.
2017 will go down as a landmark year given the huge impact of hurricanes on the economic, social and ecological environments in the wider Caribbean. The decimation of several island territories, such as Dominica, Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, US and British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico have taken hundreds of lives and destroyed livelihoods in key sectors like tourism. Take the case of Dominica that had a direct hit from category 5 hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017.1 It is estimated that 35% of the reefs at dive sites in Dominica were damaged, and a month later only 43% of accommodation properties are operational. Hurricane Maria went on to hit Puerto Rico that is now facing a humanitarian crisis.2
The economic losses for the Caribbean are staggering. For instance, the initial estimates from damages by hurricane Irma are larger than the annual GDP of the smaller territories (see figure )3 — about 130% of the GDP for St. Maarten, 250% for St. Martin, 140% for the British Virgin Islands, 37% for Turks and Caicos, 95% for Anguilla, and 15% for Antigua and Barbuda. In contrast, the impact for larger territories like Florida and Cuba are 5.3% and 2.6%, respectively. This data illustrates how vulnerable small island developing states (SIDS) are to the environmental impact of climate change and how quickly these economies can accumulate high debt-to-GDP ratios because of the rebuilding costs from a weather disaster.4
Heavy-hitting and repeated cyclones in the Caribbean, intense and devastating flooding across South Asia – and this in just the last few weeks. Unabated, unmanaged disaster risk is wreaking havoc across our planet, killing, destroying and setting back progress.
A few months ago, not far away from where Harvey, Irma and Maria touched land, a key international conference took place in Cancun – the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which ended with a call for all countries to “systematically account for disaster losses by 2020”, a critical baseline to assess progress, challenges and opportunities ahead.
Several weeks earlier, Robert Glasser, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, blogged that “disasters – 90 percent of which are classed as climate-related – now cost the world economy US$520 billion per year and push 26 million people into poverty every year”.