Canada announces major funding for reconstruction and climate resilience in the Caribbean region

Celina Caesar-Chavannes

NEW YORK CITY, New York –Canada, at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)/UN High-Level Pledging Conference in New York on Monday, pledged C$100 million to support reconstruction and climate resilience efforts in the Caribbean region over the next five years.

The announcement was made by Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.

The Caribbean countries sought the assistance from the international community for the reconstruction and climate adaptation needs, after the current devastating Atlantic hurricane season, caused extensive damage to several Caribbean islands and reminded the world that the small island states are on the frontline of climate change.

Canada’s contribution will help the most vulnerable people, including women and children, to rebuild more resilient communities, so they can be better prepared for natural disasters.

Attention will be given in the coming months, to specific projects aimed at reconstructing essential services, improving disaster risk management and emergency preparedness practices, supporting the role of women as leaders in reconstruction and adopting climate-adaptation measures at the community level.

Caesar Chavannes said, “Canada is proud to stand in solidarity with its Caribbean friends that were impacted by the devastating 2017 hurricanes. We have listened to the region on its needs and understand that reconstruction and longer-term climate resilience go hand in hand. Canada will help the Caribbean rebuild better and stronger for the future.”

Canada is working together with international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, to mobilize support for reconstruction efforts. Canada represents many Caribbean nations on the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

At the World Bank Annual Meetings in October, Canada and participants reaffirmed their solidarity and support for the affected countries and communities.

An estimated 20,000 children have been affected so far, by the Caribbean hurricanes this year. More than 32,000 people have been displaced, with 17,000 in need of shelter.

Over 1.2 million people have been affected by damage to water infrastructure. Other critical infrastructure has been significantly damaged, including electrical lines, houses and public buildings, such as government offices, schools and hospitals, as well as privatesector structures key to the economy and people’s livelihoods.

Prior to the pledge, Canada provided more than C$2m to humanitarian organizations for emergency relief. As a major contributor to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Canadian funding also supported the CDB’s emergency relief efforts in the affected countries and territories.