Caribbean can only ‘build back better’ with international support, urgent climate action – UN, CARICOM Chiefs and Heads of Government

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New York, 21 November 2017 – In view of the urgent needs of Caribbean islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the “CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community ” mobilised a broad partnership to support reconstruction efforts, including through over US$1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

Support derived from nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organizations and the private sector gathered at UN headquarters today with the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help countries to “build back better” as the first climate-resilient countries in the world

Recovery costs surpass $5billion, according to the latest needs estimates. In some cases the impact is 3.5 times countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), for example in the British Virgin Islands.The principal economic sectors of tourism and agriculture have been significantly affected, according to assessments made public during the conference, organized by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) working with sister UN agencies.

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Heartening support for hurricane-ravaged countries at Pledging Conference

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque greets UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the start of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Tuesday. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner is centre.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque greets UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the start of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Tuesday. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner is centre.

Widespread concern for CARICOM countries severely affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria was evident at the opening of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, 21 November.

Addressing the large gathering which included the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, International Development Partners, and representatives of governments, the private sector and the United Nations System, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said their presence demonstrated strong interest and deep concern about the situation in the Community.

He told the UN SG:

“You were there to see at first hand the damage inflicted by the hurricanes. You have ensured it stayed in the attention of the international community and today you are here with us to emphasise your commitment.  I thank you so very much Secretary-General.” (more…)

Strong CARICOM support for post hurricane Pledging Conference

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CARICOM Member States and Associate Members provided strong support for the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference for hurricane-ravaged countries at the UN Headquarters in New York Monday.

The objective of this Conference is two-fold. It is to mobilise international support and commitment of pledges to help rebuild the countries ravaged by the recent hurricanes and  to assist the Region to build resilience, given its inherent vulnerabilities.

Further information on the conference can be found at:  http://resilientcaribbean.caricom.org/

Rebuilding immediate and urgent: CARICOM SG tells pledging conference

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CARICOM-UN Pledging Conference: CARICOM SG chats on the sidelines with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean Ms Jessica Faieta

Ahead of Tuesday’s   CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference at UN Headquarters in New York, a number of participants engaged in Technical Consultations on Monday.

The Pledging Conference is seeking to mobilise support and commitment of pledges to help rebuild the countries ravaged by the recent hurricanes and importantly, to assist the Region to build resilience, given its inherent vulnerabilities.

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CARICOM Secretary-General Amb. Irwin LaRocque (l) chats with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (r) on the sidelines of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Monday. Looking on are Missouri Sherman-Peter, CARICOM’s Permanent Observer to the UN and Neville Bissember, Advisor to the CARICOM SG

Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, told Monday’s Technical Consultations that the need was “immediate and urgent” to rebuild those countries that have suffered catastrophic damage from the two hurricanes.

“We cannot lose sight of the thousands who are homeless, jobless and simply surviving on relief for two months and counting. Rebuilding their lives is a priority,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated.

“We cannot do it alone,” he added acknowledging that rebuilding required significant investments to reduce risks and vulnerabilities in preparation for the impact of extreme climatic events.

The Secretary-General advocated for a new paradigm leading to changes in the criteria for determining Small Island Developing States’ (SIDs) access to concessionary resources, and to end the use of the dominant criterion of GDP per capita to measure development.

“We find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances which therefore require extraordinary solutions,” the Secretary-General stated.