CARICOM needs very concessional financing for climate resilience – Secretary-General LaRocque

The Caribbean Community’s goal of creating a climate resilient Region requires significant grant funding and very concessional financing, CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Monday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Twenty-Ninth Inter-sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government at the Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel in Haiti, he said “without access to such financing, already high debt levels across the Region would be exacerbated.”

He explained that most CARICOM countries were categorised as middle or high-income and were largely ineligible for concessional development financing and Official Development Assistance (ODA), due to the use of GDP per capita as the principal criterion.

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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

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SIDS must never be denied concessional financing for climate resilience -SG


CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque
CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has called for the scaling up of climate finance for resilience in the health sector.

He also posited that small vulnerable countries must never be denied access to concessional financing in their quest for resilience against climate change.

These were among the issues he addressed recently, while speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the second term in office of Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Organisation (PAHO). The ceremony was held 1 February at PAHO Headquarters in Washington D.C.

With Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the front line, he said: “The WHO has recognised that climate change is one of the greatest threats to human health and the environment, as it affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.” (more…)

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.

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Climate Action and Trade Governance: Prospects for Tourism and Travel in Small Island Developing States

Damage in Barbuda after Hurricane Irma
Damage in Barbuda after Hurricane Irma

2017 will go down as a landmark year given the huge impact of hurricanes on the economic, social and ecological environments in the wider Caribbean. The decimation of several island territories, such as Dominica, Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, US and British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico have taken hundreds of lives and destroyed livelihoods in key sectors like tourism. Take the case of Dominica that had a direct hit from category 5 hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017.1 It is estimated that 35% of the reefs at dive sites in Dominica were damaged, and a month later only 43% of accommodation properties are operational. Hurricane Maria went on to hit Puerto Rico that is now facing a humanitarian crisis.2

The economic losses for the Caribbean are staggering. For instance, the initial estimates from damages by hurricane Irma are larger than the annual GDP of the smaller territories (see figure )3 — about 130% of the GDP for St. Maarten, 250% for St. Martin, 140% for the British Virgin Islands, 37% for Turks and Caicos, 95% for Anguilla, and 15% for Antigua and Barbuda. In contrast, the impact for larger territories like Florida and Cuba are 5.3% and 2.6%, respectively. This data illustrates how vulnerable small island developing states (SIDS) are to the environmental impact of climate change and how quickly these economies can accumulate high debt-to-GDP ratios because of the rebuilding costs from a weather disaster.4

Read more at: OECD Development Matters