How to build back better after a hurricane with the next one a few months away

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OP-ED By Irwin LaRocque and Achim Steiner*

CARICOM SG, Irwin LaRocque
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

 Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only to find what you used to call community, city or country reduced to an apocalyptic scene.

This is no fiction. Irma and Maria, two back-to-back category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure and severely damaging the economies of small climate-vulnerable countries.

Entire islands were decimated, like Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, both Members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated while The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected. Haiti and St Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage. All of the islands are Members or Associate Members of CARICOM.

The island of St Marten, divided between Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and St Martin, a dependency of France as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were impacted, in addition to Puerto Rico and Florida, in the United States. (more…)

Help SIDS to help themselves – PM Chastanet issues call at COP23

“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

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CARICOM eyes key outcomes from UN climate change talks

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Mitigating climate risks and building resilience against extreme weather events underpin key areas of focus for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) during the ongoing United Nations (UN) climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

The Twenty Third Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 23) is being held from 6-17 November under the presidency of Fiji.

pm slu chair sg
Briefing: (l-r) Hon. Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Lead CARICOM Head on Sustainable Development; CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Keith Mitchell and CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

This year’s climate talks mark the first time a member of the Alliance for Small Island States (AOSIS) has held the Presidency. It presents an important opportunity for CARICOM and the wider Small Island Developing States (SIDs) to influence the global climate change agenda. (more…)

EIB, CDB commit US$24M to post-disaster reconstruction in Caribbean

EIB Vice President responsible for Climate Action, Jonathan Taylor (left) and CDB President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith (right) sign the agreement in Bonn on November 13, 2017.(Photo via CDB)
EIB Vice President responsible for Climate Action, Jonathan Taylor (left) and CDB President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith (right) sign the agreement in Bonn on November 13, 2017.(Photo via CDB)

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.

High-level officials during the event hosted by EIB at COP23 on November 13, 2017. From left to right: Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, Chairman of CARICOM and Chairman of the Board of Governors of CDB; Jonathan Taylor, Vice President, EIB; Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, President, CDB; Hon. Allen Chastenet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. (Photo via CDB)
High-level officials during the event hosted by EIB at COP23 on November 13, 2017. From left to right: Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, Chairman of CARICOM and Chairman of the Board of Governors of CDB; Jonathan Taylor, Vice President, EIB; Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, President, CDB; Hon. Allen Chastenet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. (Photo via CDB)
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
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Seize opportunity to help hurricane-hit countries build back better – CARICOM SG

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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.

See more photos here (more…)