Sustainability, Creativity, Innovation at Core of Rebuilding Efforts in The Bahamas

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Dr. Hubert Minnis (2nd, right) addresses the media
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Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis is hoping that the upcoming donor conference will attract donations to address social issues as well as specific projects in the areas of infrastructure, productive areas of the economy, and the environment.

The Government of The Bahamas and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom will hold the pledge conference on 13 January 2020 in New Providence.The Conference aims to mobilise financial and technical support for recovery efforts on the archipelago following the passage of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian, a Category Five hurricane, hit the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama in September 2019, and left widespread devastation estimated at $3.4 billion.

At a press conference on Tuesday 10 December, at his office, the Prime Minister noted that the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, (UNECLAC) had estimated total damage, loss and additional costs in four primary categories – social, infrastructure, productive areas of the economy, and the environment.

“The response to Dorian, including over the many years of reconstruction ahead is about building sustainable, strategic and smart partnerships at home and abroad. Our shared mission is to modernise the affected areas and to rebuild for sustainability, utilising the talents, the ideas and the energies of Bahamians and residents who were affected by Dorian,”the Prime Minister said at the press conference.

He added that the rebuilding “must be modern, but should also be guided by the heritage, history and architectural richness of affected areas, especially in the Abaco Cays, which enjoy a remarkable heritage.”

Providing the scenario in which the reconstruction will be undertaken, Prime Minister Minnis highlighted the fact that The Bahamas was a far-flung archipelago with tremendous infrastructural needs, which had to be replicated in numerous islands and cays.

“While most countries have coastal areas, the entire Bahamas is a coastal zone posing very specific construction and reconstruction needs. So, we must be creative, smart, innovative and bold in how we rebuild and reconstruct Abaco, the Abaco Cays, and Grand Bahama,” he told representatives of the media.

UNDP Resident Representative, Denise Antonio (2nd, r) and PM Dr. Hubert Minnis (c) in a group photo with other officials at the press conference on Tuesday

He shared the press conference with UNDP Resident Representative, Denise Antonio. She said that the donor conference represented a unique opportunity to align pledges of support for the reconstruction and recovery of the affected islands to the recovery priorities that the Prime Minister had identified.

She added that it was  imperative that “we collectively develop a mechanism to facilitate this alignment, as part of the new modality for development financing for Caribbean countries like The Bahamas.”

The UNDP Resident Representative added that the UNDP’s Bahamas Mission was intended to facilitate disaster recovery in the short, medium and long term, but that it was also unique in that, for the first time, the UNDP was actively seeking to engage the private sector and philanthropic individuals who were well-poised to help finance the recovery of the country.

“We are equally committed to securing the funds required to finance recovery projects, and to ensuring that the people of The Bahamas are the ultimate beneficiaries. The level of devastation experienced on Abaco and Grand
Bahama inevitably means that recovery will be a long, arduous road but the UNDP is confident that with the right mechanisms in place, we can, in partnership with stakeholders, achieve the outlined objectives.

“We therefore use this opportunity to appeal for the support of all stakeholders who are equally keen to create relevant partnerships that will help to advance the recovery of the affected islands. I am pleased to report today that the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation has already confirmed its full support for the pledging conference, and we are exploring similar partnerships with other private sector organisations,” Ms. Antonio said.



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