BRUSSELS, Belgium, Friday February 1, 2019 – The European Union (EU) has signed two agreements with the World Bank’s (WB) Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to provide funding totaling €30.7 million (US$35.2 million) that will strengthen disaster risk management (DRM) in the Caribbean.
The programmes will support Caribbean countries to plan for long-term resilience and climate-smart growth strategies, and to design and implement innovative policy and investment initiatives. The two initiatives that will benefit are the Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility and the Technical Assistance Programme for Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
“If there is no doubt that all countries and people are affected by climate change, there is also no doubt that some countries and some people are more vulnerable than others to natural disasters,” said Daniela Tramacere, European Union Ambassador to Barbados, Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM. “This contribution is a token of solidarity of the European people, and recognition of the very difficult challenges the Caribbean nations face. Hopefully this support will enable people and businesses to be more resilient to climate change.”
The Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility will support 15 Caribbean countries by providing technical assistance to mainstream resilience, leveraging investments to reduce vulnerability, and expanding financial protection against disasters.
The Technical Assistance Programme for Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance in Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories will help the OCTs understand their financial exposure or contingent liability to disasters, provide an overview of financial protection tools available, assess the feasibility of participating in insurance mechanisms, and facilitate the sharing of knowledge among OCTs. This Technical Assistance Programme will be carried out jointly with the Caribbean OCTs’ Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme – ReSEMBiD, implemented by Expertise France, which has the objective to strengthen environmentally sustainable economic development in Caribbean OCTs.
The Caribbean Region Resilience Building Facility will benefit Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Technical Assistance Programme for DRF and Insurance in Caribbean OCTs will benefit Anguilla, Aruba, St Barthélemy, British Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Turks and Caicos Islands, St Eustatius and St Maarten.
The programmes will be managed in close coordination by two EU Delegations in their respective geographic area of responsibilities.
World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed, said that with the growing impact of climate change, Caribbean countries have to adapt and prepare for more frequent and severe storms.
“Together with our partners, the World Bank is committed to support the islands in strengthening resilience so that development gains made over the past years are not lost in a day. This partnership with the European Union is part of a multi-pronged approach to build resilience in the region by investing in preparedness, building stronger infrastructure, creating fiscal buffers and protecting the most vulnerable,” he said.
According to Ambassador Jernej Videtič who heads the EU Delegation to Guyana, Suriname and for the Dutch OCTs and St Barthélemy, 2017 highlighted the Caribbean’s exceptionally high exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards, with two Category 5 hurricanes hitting the region causing major damage. He said the period of recovery from these hurricanes “offers an opportunity to mainstream resilience in countries’ governance and in all sectors of their economies”.
Ambassador Videtič further emphasized that it was due to these vulnerabilities that resilience has been placed firmly at the heart of the EU development agenda for the Caribbean OCTs.