Hurricane recovery: CARICOM islands aim to rebuild as the first climate resilient countries in the world

Published: Wednesday, 01 November 2017 14:00

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has scheduled a High-level Donor Conference on 20th-21st November at UN Headquarters in New York to mobilise international resources for its Members devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

This initiative is aimed at rebuilding the hurricane damaged islands as the first climate resilient countries in the world and helping the wider CARICOM region improve its overall resilience.  International Development Partners, friendly countries, NGOs, prominent personalities, private sector entities and Foundations have been invited.  CARICOM heads of government and the secretaries-general of CARICOM and the United Nations will also participate.

CARICOM, through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has been at the forefront of the immediate relief effort from hurricanes Irma and Maria. Member States, private sector companies and public-spirited individuals have contributed significant quantities of relief supplies. Several countries have also contributed security personnel, health professionals and utility repair experts, among others. CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque led assessment teams to badly affected islands.

Given the level of devastation and in anticipation that the frequency and intensity will become the new normal, the Region has recognised the need to build back better for improved resilience. 

November’s Donor Conference also comes against the backdrop that the impacted countries are Caribbean Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS) with inherent vulnerabilities.  Most have also been made ineligible for concessional financing from major donors which have categorised them as middle to high income countries.