Rebuilding immediate and urgent: CARICOM SG tells pledging conference

SG_UNDP reps
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.

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.

CARICOM SG makes case for climate-resilient rebuilding of hurricane-damaged islands

CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque presenting remarks. Also at the Head Table are UNDP Administrator Mr Achim Steiner (l) and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean Ms Jessica Faieta.

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque at the Technical Consultations for the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference at UN Headquarters, New York on Monday:

We must prepare for the next catastrophic hurricane, flood or drought. We must therefore be climate resilient in time for the next event.

The immediate and urgent need is 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.

Read full address: (more…)

Technical Consultation begins ahead of CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference


The Technical Consultations ahead of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference began this morning at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters, New York. CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Achim Steiner made opening remarks.

The High Level Pledging Forum will be held 21 November, also at the UN and is aimed at rebuilding the devastated Members as the first climate resilient countries in the world and at helping the wider CARICOM Region improve its resilience given its inherent vulnerability as a Community of SIDS – Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States .

The technical sessions are aimed at providing an overview of the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the Caribbean; presenting the country recovery needs, priorities and recovery strategy; and giving partners an opportunity for technical level enquiries and inputs.

The head of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will provide an overview presentation. This will be followed by presentations by Senior Government representatives of the affected countries and territories. Perspectives will be provided by partners, including those who conducted post disaster assessments.

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