‘Building back better': a resilient Caribbean after the 2017 hurricanes

Citizens in Dominica doing their part to build back better
Citizens in Dominica doing their part to build back better

‘Building back better’ after a disaster intuitively makes sense, but it is challenging and requires a deep understanding of the causes of disaster, recovery processes and future climate and other risks. Critically, it requires high levels of commitment from policymakers and technical staff in national governments, from the international aid agencies and donors supporting recovery, and from communities already engaged in recovery.

This briefing paper highlights how lessons from history and past recovery can inform decisions around ‘building back better’ after hurricanes Irma and Maria. These two Category 5 hurricanes caused total losses estimated at US$130 billion. Although the countries and communities most affected will need years to recover, decisions and actions that are taken in the short term, such as repairs to housing, will have repercussions for long-term resilience.

While disasters are a common feature of the Caribbean, there has not been much serious reflection on the types of action needed for long-term resilience. Compounding this are the looming effects of climate change. Sea-level rise, in particular, is a huge problem for the Caribbean, but we are also likely to see more Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the future.


Read more at: Overseas Development Institute

Bahamas PM warns region at great risk of climate change

CDM 10 underway in The Bahamas (Photo via CDEMA)
CDM 10 underway in The Bahamas (Photo via CDEMA)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Dec 5, CMC – The 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) has begun here with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis noting that small-island developing states in the region are at great risk of climate change.

The conference, which ends on Saturday, is being held under the theme ‘CDM: The Road to Resilience Check Point 2017 – Building Resilience through Partnerships’.

It is taking place as the region continues the rebuilding efforts following the end of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season that saw two category five storms – Irma and Maria – cause widespread destruction and death across the Lesser Antilles as well as the Bahamas.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin islands were among the islands hard4est hit after the hurricanes pounded the region with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour.

Via CMC (more…)

Heartening support for hurricane-ravaged countries at Pledging Conference

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque greets UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the start of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Tuesday. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner is centre.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque greets UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the start of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, UN Headquarters, Tuesday. UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner is centre.

Widespread concern for CARICOM countries severely affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria was evident at the opening of the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, 21 November.

Addressing the large gathering which included the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, International Development Partners, and representatives of governments, the private sector and the United Nations System, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said their presence demonstrated strong interest and deep concern about the situation in the Community.

He told the UN SG:

“You were there to see at first hand the damage inflicted by the hurricanes. You have ensured it stayed in the attention of the international community and today you are here with us to emphasise your commitment.  I thank you so very much Secretary-General.” (more…)

Region must adapt to the reality of climate change – CARICOM SG

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The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is mobilising resources to support reconstruction of hurricane-ravaged Member States to build back smarter and better, against the existential threat of climate change.

Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said that intention was in “full knowledge that we are into a new era,” when hurricanes had now become “game changers.”

He was at the time speaking at the opening of Technical Consultations at the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, earlier this morning (20 November) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.


The CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference is to mobilise national governments, regional organisations, international development partners, private sector, and civil society to support the construction of what can become the world’s first hurricane-resilient countries.

See more information here  (more…)