CARICOM records noteworthy successes in 2017 despite challenges

Secretary-General at the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference with the UN SG Antonio Guterres and Head of UNDP Achim Steiner
CARICOM Secretary-General Amb. Irwin LaRocque (l) at the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (r) and Head of UNDP Achim Steiner

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The more than US$2B pledged at the CARICOM-UN Conference for long-term recovery for hurricane-affected countries and the establishment of the regional renewable energy center are among the successes CARICOM recorded for 2017 in spite of the year’s challenges.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said in his End of Year Message that the Community was ending 2017 with several other noteworthy achievements, including a change in posture by International Financial Institutions and some Development Partners with respect to access to concessionary development financing.

“It is encouraging to note that our relentless advocacy with respect to the lack of access to concessional development financing appears to be bearing fruit. There is some re-thinking on this issue taking place at the level of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and some of our international development partners (IDPs),” the Secretary-General stated.

Adding that CARICOM will continue to advocate for this change he said the Region’s vulnerability to external shocks, which the hurricanes laid bare, emphasised the urgent need for the international community to dispense with GDP per capita as a primary criterion for access to concessional development financing. (more…)

Rebuilding immediate and urgent: CARICOM SG tells pledging conference

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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.

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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.

Region’s UN Representatives prepare for post-hurricanes Pledging Conference

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Permanent Representatives of CARICOM Member States to the United Nations met on Friday with CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and  Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ms Jessica Faieta, ahead of next Tuesday’s CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference.

The Conference, to be held at UN Headquarters, New York,  will seek to mobilise international support for rebuilding in CARICOM Member States devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria and to help the wider CARICOM Region improve its resilience.

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Information on the Conference can be found at:  http://resilientcaribbean.caricom.org/

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All set for CARICOM UN High Level Pledging Conference

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (r) and Ms Jessica Faieta, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) share a photo at the Banner for the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference to be held at the UN Headquarters, New York on Tuesday 21 November 2017.

The Conference is aimed at rebuilding the CARICOM Members devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria as the first climate resilient countries in the world and at helping the wider CARICOM Region improve its resilience.

Information on the Conference can be found at: CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference 

 

 

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…)