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…)

CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference begins shortly

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International Development Partners, including countries, agencies, NGOs, prominent personalities, private sector entities and Foundations, are meeting at the United Nations Headquarters today for the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference. They will be joined at the day-long session by CARICOM Heads of Government and the Secretaries-General of CARICOM and the United Nations.

The Conference is aimed at rebuilding the CARICOM Member States that were devastated by the recent hurricanes. The goal is to rebuild as the first climate-resilient countries in the world and to help the wider CARICOM Region improve its resilience, given its inherent vulnerability as a Community of SIDS – Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States.

A technical consultation was held yesterday in New York ahead of the Conference today.

The Conference, which begins at 10:00 am will be live-streamed here on CARICOM Today, on our Facebook Page, as well as on UN Web TV.

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