Caribbean felt full brunt of climate change in 2017

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Dominica hurricane

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – In 2017, the Caribbean felt the full brunt of climate change with a warning that current trends indicate that there will be no respite.

Within a two-week period, Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought home the reality of the impact of climate change as they churned their way across the Lesser Antilles destroying everything in their paths. Hurricane Harvey had in August set the stage for what was to come; with devastation in Houston, Texas, amounting to nearly US$200billion.

“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,” the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in a message to United States President Donald Trump, as Harvey made landfall in the United States after whipping up strong winds and heavy rains in the Caribbean.

It took less than a month for his statement to bear fruit. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms left so many Caribbean islands devastated in September that the CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said “there can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat”. (more…)

Major Financial Institutions willing to reassess development financing policy

(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General
(From left) Amb. Colin Granderson, Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, CARICOM Secretariat; His Excellency Javier Maria Carbajosa, Plenipotentiary Representative of Spain to CARICOM; and Amb. Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General

International Financial Institutions (IFIs) including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are now willing to reassess the policy of GDP per capita attached to concessionary development financing.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said that this was a major result of his recent discussions in Washington with the President of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the IMF.

Speaking on Tuesday, 17 October, at the accreditation ceremony of the new Ambassador of Spain to CARICOM, His Excellency Javier Carbajosa Sanchez, the Secretary-General said the Banks were willing to work with CARICOM, but they cautioned that a final decision resided with the countries which sat on the boards.

CARICOM has been lobbying consistently for a reversal of the policy of graduation which sees some Member States denied access to concessionary development financing. Their graduation to middle income status, with the use of GDP per capita as a major criterion, has attracted commercial rates for development loans. This situation increases already high debt burdens in Member States.

“That debt burden was significantly incurred by reconstruction after major climatic events in a Region designated as the most natural disaster-prone in the world,” Secretary-General LaRocque said.

See more photos of the accreditation ceremony. (more…)

All hands needed on deck for post-hurricane recovery – WB Meeting hears

Statement on High Level Meeting on Recovery and Resilience in the Caribbean

The participants highlighted the need for a response involving all partners, including regional organizations, development partners, private sector, national Governments and civil society, to leverage comparative advantages for building resilience to disasters in highly vulnerable small-island states, as extreme weather events have added to their existing economic vulnerabilities. The contribution of the private sector will also be critical, offering both resources and expertise.
Washington, October 13th, 2017– Leaders and representatives of CARICOM countries and territories, and international partners, including the international financial institutions, and the representatives of territories in the region, convened (Friday) in a high-level round table on recovery and resilience in the Caribbean hosted by the World Bank Group (WBG), as part of the WBG-IMF Annual Meetings.

During the discussion, participants examined the impact of and recovery from the destructive hurricanes that struck the Caribbean in September, reviewed the instruments available for disaster risk management and response, and considered the need to innovate further in order to address the long-term challenges and strengthen resilience of affected islands.

Participants expressed solidarity and support to the affected islands and communities, and reaffirmed their commitment to working together to build back better and in a more resilient way, following the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. They highlighted the need to ensure active engagement of communities, especially women, in the recovery and reconstruction process, as well as the importance of putting in place building standards that will mitigate the impact of future extreme weather events. The participants also noted the importance of making progress on the World Bank’s Small States Roadmap which proposes various initiatives to promote resilience of small states. (more…)

CARICOM Chair begins discussions in Washington

Prime Minster Keith Mitchell at a meeting with World Bank team members responsible for the Caribbean

Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and Grenada Prime Minister, Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell, is currently in Washington DC. for the Small States Forum which he also chairs.

He will also have talks with the International Financial Institutions. This morning, he met with World Bank representatives responsible for the Caribbean.

Other CARICOM Heads of Government and officials are also in Washington  for the discussions and to drum up support, especially, for Member States that suffered severely from the passage of two category five hurricanes recently.

In Washington DC, Prime Minister of Dominica, the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit engaged Christine Lagarde, Chief Executive Officer of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the way forward for his country
In Washington DC, Prime Minister of Dominica, the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit engaged Christine Lagarde, Chief Executive Officer of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the way forward for his country

CARICOM continues advocacy for SIDs at UN

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

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, has renewed his call for International Financial Institutions and development partners to review the criterion for access to concessionary development financing by small developing states.

He told the opening of the 9th Biennial CARICOM-United Nations (UN) General Meeting in New York on Thursday, 20 July, 2017, that access based on GDP per capita was not an adequate measurement since it did not take account of the inherent vulnerabilities of Small Island Low Lying Coastal Developing States (SIDs).

CARICOM and the UN Systems held the two-day meeting to build on areas of cooperation in relation to the regional and global development agenda.

As the Community leverages this engagement, Ambassador LaRocque said small and vulnerable states were not a factor in shaping the global changes which impact them.

The 9th Biennial CARICOM-UN General Meeting underway
The 9th Biennial CARICOM-UN General Meeting underway

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