(PRESS RELEASE) – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), will hold a high-level donor conference from Nov. 21 – 22, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, to mobilize international resources for member states devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
This initiative is aimed at rebuilding the devastated CARICOM member counties as the first climate resilient destinations in the world and helping the wider CARICOM region improve its 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.
The powerful category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the region over one month ago, causing a number of deaths and widespread devastation in CARICOM member states and associate member states.
CARICOM, through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has been at the forefront of the immediate relief effort. 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 affect islands.
Given the level of devastation and in anticipation that the frequency and intensity will become the new normal, the region has recognized 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 categorized them as middle to high income countries.