“Rebuild to more resilient standards” CARICOM SG urges UN pledging conference for hurricane hit countries

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 20, 2017

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has called upon all entities partnering in the recovery process of countries hit by the recent hurricanes, to rebuild to more resilient standards.

He made the call today while delivering remarks at the opening of the technical segment of the CARICOM-UN High-Level Pledging Conference.

CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque.

The Conference being held at the UN Headquarters in New York is seeking the co-operation of international development partners, the private sector, and private foundations to help rebuild the countries ravaged by the hurricanes.

According to Ambassador LaRocque, the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria has been devastating. Dominicans, he said, are struggling to rebuild their lives, while the population of Barbuda is not yet able to return home.  Other small islands in the Caribbean have also been severely affected. These include the British Virgin Islands (BVI), St. Maarten, Turk and Caicos, Bahamas, Anguilla, and Cuba.

“Many affected people across the region have lost their homes and lack access to electricity and running water. Our thoughts and support remain with the people affected in such difficult times,” the CARICOM SG said.

He said the conference is exemplary of the way the international community is coming together for the recovery and resilience building in the Caribbean.

“This effort builds on the incredible work of the partners involved in the emergency and humanitarian response in the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes.”

According to him, assessments have since been conducted to provide a strong basis for planning recovery. It is now time to commence the crucial phase of implementing recovery, for which financial and institutional capacities are required.

Recovery is the opportunity to ensure that underlying and structural vulnerabilities are addressed. By “building back better” a foundation can be laid for setting the Caribbean on a path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

This means not only upgrading damaged infrastructure and houses with climate-resilient technologies and specifications, but also the need to strengthen risk governance systems, improve life-line services, strengthen and expand capacities of the private sector, diversifying livelihoods, and provide social protection mechanisms for the most vulnerable households and communities.

The United Nation Development Project (UNDP) he said is proud to be a partner for national institutions and affected communities, providing technical advice and supporting data collection for evidence-based decision making.

These actions promote sustainable and resilient societies and help restore progress towards the path to development and the 2030 Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda recognises the importance to integrate disaster and climate risks into development processes at all levels.

Back in September, Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in some Caribbean Islands resulting in reportedly close to 40 deaths and billions of dollars in losses.

 

By: Alexis Rodney

 

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