EU commits €665,000 to reduce spread of Zika in the Caribbean

EU representative, Daniela Tramacere
EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere

The European Union has committed €655,000 to help Caribbean States reduce the spread and impact of Zika and other mosquito borne diseases in the Region. The activities will be implemented by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) under the leadership of the Caribbean Forum for ACP States (CARIFORUM).

The specific objective is to support CARPHA’s activities to strengthen health systems to effectively monitor, prevent and control Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases in the Caribbean region, ultimately to contribute to improving public health of the Caribbean population.

The main activities are to promote early detection and effective monitoring of Zika, to enhance laboratory capacity for detection, to assist in the development of national registries of pregnant women exposed to Zika, and to strengthen public education and behaviour change regarding Zika and other airborne viruses. (more…)

Commonwealth finance ministers urged to change rules to make it easier to access funds

The Meeting in progress (Photo via Commonwealth Secretariat)

In a powerful intervention at the Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting (CFMM) in Washington DC, the prime minister of Saint Lucia called for the rules to be changed so countries affected by natural disasters could access funds more quickly.

Over the past few weeks the Caribbean has been battered by three category five hurricanes which have left devastation in their wake. Parts of South Asia have faced floods, leading to hundreds of deaths. In Africa, Commonwealth member states have had to contend with the dual perils of mudslides and desertification.

Speaking after the meeting at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Saint Lucia’s prime minister, Allen Chastanet said, “While we’ve been theorising about the impact of climate change, this summer and other summers previously, we have seen in reality what it means. It requires us to accept the fact that some of our economies are going to be wiped out. We’re having to deal with the reality that our future is not within our control.

“We came here and we’re continuing to plead with the donor agencies that the SIDS (small island developing states) be carved out and that we compartmentalise resilience building and we allow there to be a special fund that we can access, that’s at concessionary rates. Time has run out against us and it requires us to bring the human side back to what has taken place.”

Read more at: The Commonwealth Secretariat

Today is International Day for Disaster reduction – Is this year’s string of hurricanes a sign of things to come?

Codrington, Barbuda after Hurricane Irma  (Photo via UN)

Joint Op-Ed by 

Achim Steiner is Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme www.undp.org

Patricia Espinosa is Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change www.unfccc.int

Robert Glasser is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction www.unisdr.org

 

From Miami and Puerto Rico to Barbuda and Havana, the devastation of this year’s hurricane season across Latin America and the Caribbean serves as a reminder that the impacts of climate change know no borders.

In recent weeks, Category 5 hurricanes have brought normal life to a standstill for millions in the Caribbean and on the American mainland. HarveyIrma and Maria have been particularly damaging. The 3.4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico have been scrambling for basic necessities including food and water, the island of Barbuda has been rendered uninhabitable, and dozens of people are missing or dead on the UNESCO world heritage island of Dominica.

The impact is not confined to this region. The record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have made life miserable for some 40 million people.  More than 1,200 people have died and many people have lost their homes, crops have been destroyed, and many workplaces have been inundated. Meanwhile, in Africa, over the last 18 months 20 countries have declared drought emergencies, with major displacement taking place across the Horn region.

For those countries that are least developed the impact of disasters can be severe, stripping away livelihoods and progress on health and education; for developed and middle-income countries the economic losses from infrastructure alone can be massive; for both, these events reiterate the need to act on a changing climate that threatens only more frequent and more severe disasters.

Read more at Thomson Reuters Foundation

Message by the CARICOM Secretary-General on Caribbean Statistics Day

MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY-GENERAL,

CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM)

AMBASSADOR IRWIN LAROCQUE

 

ON THE OCCASION OF THE

NINTH OBSERVANCE OF CARIBBEAN STATISTICS DAY

15 OCTOBER 2017

 

 

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

This year’s observance takes place against the background of another significant achievement for Regional Statistics. CARICOM Heads of Government at their Thirty-Eighth Regular Meeting (July 2017) endorsed the preparation of a Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS) in CARICOM.  The endorsement of the RSDS initiative is in addition to their endorsement of the Action Plan for Statistics at their Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting in 2016.

 These decisions on Statistics at the highest level of the Community reaffirm the recognition of the vital role of statistics in the development of the Region.   It is in this spirit that the National Statistical Offices of Member States agreed that the 2016 theme – “Improving the Lives of People – Advancing the Action Plan for Statistics in CARICOM”   should remain as the theme for this year’s observance of Caribbean Statistics Day.

CARICOM countries continue to face increasing demands for statistics that must be timely and reliable.  Evidenced-based decision-making is important in enabling the socio-economic development of countries and for the efficient management and use of resources. In particular, given the environmental concerns faced by CARICOM countries as Small Island and low lying coastal Developing States (SIDS), the timely dissemination of high quality statistics facilitates national policy development, planning and the monitoring and evaluation required for the achievement of successful outcomes. The importance of access to reliable data is a key factor in the recovery and rehabilitation efforts following natural disasters such as the recent Hurricanes Irma and Maria. (more…)

Grenada supports Barbados’ call for new vulnerability index

In the wake of the recent hurricane devastation suffered by the Caribbean, Grenada is supporting calls made by Barbados for a new vulnerability index to determine the region’s eligibility for concessional aid.

Grenada Minister of Tourism the Hon. Clarice Modeste-Curwen
Grenada Minister of Tourism the Hon. Clarice Modeste-Curwen

Immediately following the passage of Hurricane Maria last month, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had appealed directly to the international community for such support, saying “we are vulnerable countries in this region, and assessing us on the basis of how our economies are doing at any particular time is misleading because all of our gains can be wiped out in a few hours by a serious hurricane as is now the case with Dominica; as was the case some years ago with Grenada, Jamaica and others.

“Therefore, when we talk about vulnerability and the use of a vulnerability index to determine our eligibility for concessional aid, that is what we are talking about and Hurricane Maria makes the point more eloquently than any of us could have made it,” he said at the time.

In echoing pretty much the same sentiment last night, Grenada’s minister of tourism Clarice Modeste-Curwen told the opening of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference at the Grenada Radisson Hotel that the recent spate of superstorms – including Irma, which wreaked havoc on Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands and St Martin -– was proof enough that the threat of global warming is real.

Read more at: Barbados Today