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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Prince of Wales to visit Antigua and Barbuda, BVI, Dominica

Prince of Wales (Photo via Clarence House)
Prince of Wales (Photo via Clarence House)

(Caribbean Media Corporation) LONDON, Nov. 15, CMC – Britain’s Prince Charles is scheduled to visit Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and the British Virgin Islands for a first hand view of the widespread devastation caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

During the tour, the Prince of Wales will meet members of the local communities and hear about ways in which they have been recovering .

Prince Charles is scheduled to arrive in Antigua and Barbuda on Friday.

He will visit Barbuda and The British Virgin Islands on Saturday and on Sunday, the final day of the tour, the Prince will conduct engagements in Dominica. (more…)

CARICOM issues call for nominations for Energy Personality Award

Caricom Energy Month Logo Theme 2017

Energy Personality Award poster

Do you know someone who is involved in the regional energy sector?

Have they made a tangible contribution to achieving the sustainable development goals, especially those related to renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access?

Were their actions consistent with the Region’s vision for sustainable energy development?

Then there’s a chance they could win the CARICOM Energy Personality Award being introduced this year as part of CARICOM Energy Month (CEM) activities. (more…)

 

Coordinated approach necessary to manage external relations – COTED hears

The importance of effectively managing the external relations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was strongly underscored at the opening of the 45th meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Thursday in Georgetown, Guyana.

Chair of the COTED, the Hon. Paula Gopie-Scoon, Trade and Industry Minister of Trinidad and Tobago,  and Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary General referred to the current international trade climate and stressed the need for coordinated approach to external economic relations.

While many of the agenda items focus on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, the Region’s flagship programme, and trade in goods, Ministers will place emphasis on matters such as future trade with the United Kingdom post-BREXIT; developments within the World Trade Organisation (WTO); and the state of the rum industry in CARIFORUM.

“We must remember that our strength as a Region depends on a coordinated approach to policies. This includes the external economic and trade relations of the Community which we will address during the course of this Meeting”, Minister Gopie-Scoon said at the opening session.

(more…)