Confront climate change challenges from position of strength, together – CARICOM Chairman

With climate change at the centre of discussions among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government, President of Haiti, His Excellency Jovenel Moise wants the Region to confront the challenges together, from a position of strength.

He also wants a new mechanism for disaster risk funding that would assist affected Member States to quickly recover and reconstruct. The thinking behind the call for a new mechanism is to ensure that funds for reconstruction are chanelled through “affordable and effective procedures, rather than be paralysed by the expectation of unlikely assistance which, in most cases, is too little, comes too late and, sometimes, never happens”, he said.

The President of Haiti who is the current Chairman of CARICOM, addressed the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Ninth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Port-au-Prince on Monday and placed much emphasis on climate change, natural disasters and funding for recovery. He said that he was organising an international conference aimed at strengthening the mechanisms of resilience to the effects of climate change and the management of natural disasters in the Caribbean.

“This will be an opportunity for the States, partners and international development actors to exchange ideas and make proposals on the best features of prevention and responses to natural disasters. Without your full participation, this conference will not be successful. You are, already, invited,” he said.

A section of the audience at the opening ceremony
A section of the audience at the opening ceremony

Please see more photos here (more…)

Japan funding to help women in Guyana, Dominica deal with disasters

The Government of Japan is contributing US$5 million to help rural women in Guyana and Dominica, particularly those engaged in agriculture, withstand the effects of climate change.

At the Ministry of Finance Thursday afternoon, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan signed the project documents with the United Nations Development Programme for the Japan-funded project.

A portion of the US$5 million project will be used in Guyana over the next three years. It is intended to help poor farmers, especially women, to withstand the negative impacts of climate change.

“As such, the project will focus, primarily, on women, whom, perhaps, are the most vulnerable section of the population that is exposed during droughts, floods, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions.

Read more at: News Room

How to build back better after a hurricane with the next one a few months away

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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…)

Seize opportunity to help hurricane-hit countries build back better – CARICOM SG

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States must seize the opportunity to help the countries that were devastated by the recent hurricanes to build back better and become the first climate-resilient nations in the world.

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, delivered this charge in remarks he made at the opening of the Forty-Fifth Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, Thursday morning.

The impact of the hurricanes wrought on some CARICOM Member States and Associate Members  have affected various sectors including agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, housing, infrastructure, energy, and communications. The impact has also caused ripple effects across the Region, given the level of integration, the Secretary-General pointed out.

See more photos here (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