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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CARICOM, UN Chiefs, Heads of Government call for support to build back better in Caribbean

New York, 15 November 2017 – After two back-to-back category five hurricanes swept across the Caribbean two months ago cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives and impacting livelihoods, recovery costs are estimated at over US$3billion. In some of the most impacted island states recovery needs are equivalent to over 200 percent of countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Aiming to mobilise support for affected countries to “build back better” as the first climate-resilient countries in the world, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will hold the CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community on 21 November at UN Headquarters in New York.

Media Representatives are invited to cover the Conference in its entirety as well as a Press Briefing  on 20 November, at 11am.’

 

DETAILS
What: CARICOM-UN High-level Pledging Conference: Building a more Climate-Resilient Community

When/Where: Tuesday November 21, 9am-5:15pm, ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, NY
CARICOM-UN Conference Opening Session 9-9:45am:

  • CARICOM Secretary-General, Irwin LaRocque
  • UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
  • President of General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák
  • Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne
  • Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit
  • Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister of Grenada, Keith Mitchell
  • Moderator: UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner

What: PRESS BRIEFING  
When: Monday, November 20, 11-11:45 am
Where: UN SG’s Spokesperson Briefing Room (S-237)
Who:

  • Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne
  • Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit (TBC)
  • UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner
  • Q&A

 

For Media Accreditation at UN headquarters in New York: http://www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/
For full agenda please go to    http://resilientcaribbean.caricom.org
Live webcast:    https://webtv.un.org;   http://caricom.org/ ; http://today.caricom.org/  

Building back better: The Caribbean’s wind of change

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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.

Read more at: CaribbeanIntelligence

Commonwealth Secretary-General pledges to challenge development assistance rules

Commonwealth Secretary-General commits to ramping up advocacy for reformed development assistance rules
“But despite this great tragedy and unimaginable devastation, I saw in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica an unbreakable spirit of resilience and revival. I was able to attend Independence celebrations in both countries. I heard the leaders deliver powerful speeches about rebuilding better, stronger and greener. These countries declared loudly ‘we are still standing and we will continue to rise up from this disaster’. But they need help.” – Commonwealth Secretary-General
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has promised to ramp up advocacy for the reform of development assistance rules which member states say are restricting aid to storm ravished countries in the Caribbean. The Secretary-General made the commitment at meetings with leaders in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica during visits to the countries to discuss Commonwealth support after hurricanes Irma and Maria caused widespread devastation. Today she issued a statement about her trip to the islands.

The Secretary-General said, “I knew coming home to Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica was going to be difficult after hurricanes Irma and Maria, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw or the stories I heard during my visits. Flying in to Dominica, I hardly recognised the country of my birth. Maria has devoured almost all its vegetation. The signature green that used to define this fertile breadbasket of the Caribbean is gone, replaced by brown, bald patches of land and naked trees, stripped of their barks. (more…)

Barbuda PM, UN SG Press Conference

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterrres, visited Barbuda on 7 October, 2017, for a first-hand look at the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma on the island.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne and Secretary-General Guterres held a joint press conference.

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