Building climate resilient states top of agenda at CARICOM Inter-sessional Meeting in Haiti

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, February 26, 2018

Incoming Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise has organised an international conference to address climate resilience and disaster management in the Caribbean.

The conference is expected to be held later this year. President Moise made the announcement at the opening of CARICOM’s 29 Inter-sessional Heads of Government Meeting which is being held at the Marriot Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

“It will be the occasion for states, partner states and actors in international development to exchange ideas and to make proposals…for prevention of natural disasters”, President Moise said.

Building climate resilient states are high on the agenda for the heads of state meeting over the next two days. The discussion is seen as critical following the devastating member states faced last year from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St Kitts are among CARICOM states rebuilding from the destruction. The cost to rebuild requires significant financing that small states cannot access on their own.

Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque reminded that access to resources is important to building climate resilience. “What is needed is access to resources which must include significant grant funding and very concessional financing. Without access to such financing, this will exacerbate already high debt levels across the region.”

Accessing financing has proven to be challenging for member states who are being categorised as middle or high income and therefore ineligible for concessional development financing, and official development assistance, the top CARICOM official further noted.

Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, who is outgoing Chair, called on CARICOM to develop smart international partnerships and collaborations if it is to achieve climate resilience.

The last half of 2017 saw CARICOM increasing its efforts to develop these partnerships. Dr. Mitchell credits this to the increased corporation between the regional body, Mexico, and Cuba, especially in the area of regional disaster risk management.

Over the next two days, CARICOM leaders will also address issues such as crime and security, the impact of blacklisting actions on member states and regional transportation.

There are also legal instruments that the regional leaders will consider ahead of adaptation at the July’s Heads of Government Meeting. The Inter-sessional Meeting will conclude on February 26.

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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