In light of the devastation caused by the recent hurricanes, and the anticipation of more frequent events of a similar nature, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held an official COP23 Side Event on ‘Bolstering Resilience for Vulnerable Countries Facing Acute Risks and Sustainable Development Challenges’ on Tuesday, 13 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany.
The reality of increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters could exacerbate already high debt levels across the Region, particularly in the absence of development support.
Prime Minister of Grenada, Chair of the World Bank Small States Forum and Chairman of CARICOM, Dr. The Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell, stressed the severity of the region’s plight using Dominica as an example – still not fully recovered from Tropical Storm Erika, which struck in 2015, the country was devastated by hurricane Maria in September of this year.
“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
British billionaire Richard Branson called it a Marshall Plan for the Caribbean.
Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne called it ”building on a sustainable basis in order to limit the impact” of future natural disaster.
Whatever it’s going to be called, Caribbean leaders, planners and citizens are increasingly talking about the need for a fresh approach to coping with all that Mother Nature has to throw at their archipelago of territories, prone to geo-faults and cross-Atlantic high winds.
Immediately after Hurricane Irma had wiped out most of Barbuda, St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was part of the first delegation to arrive in Antigua.
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.
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
St. Lucia News Online – With climate change reality confronting the Caribbean, OECS Chairman and Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Hon. Allen Chastanet has met with the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary General H.E Angel Gurria to examine ways in which to bolster Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the region.
The meeting comes in the wake of three disastrous hurricanes, two of which decimated Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, Barbuda and Puerto Rico.
Speaking from OECD Headquarters in Paris, Prime Minister Chastanet said unprecedented events suggested that a new era of climate reality was upon the Caribbean and that an enhanced international development assistance framework was urgently needed to combat what was likely to be severe growing threats to the region.
“As one Caribbean family spread across Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we don’t lack resilience but we do lack disaster management resources and the meetings I have had with Secretary General Gurria has proven fruitful in fortifying OECD assistance” said Prime Minister Chastanet. (more…)