GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will hold a high-level donor conference in the United States next month, according to a statement issued by the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat.
It said that the November 20-21 conference will be to mobilise international resources for member CARICOM countries devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria when they passed through the Lesser Antilles last month killing several people and causing damage worth more than a billion US dollars.
Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda were among the hardest hit CARICOM countries as the Category 5 storms also hit the Bahamas, St Kitts-Nevis, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands and St Martin.
“This initiative is aimed at rebuilding the devastated members as the first climate resilient countries 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 statement said.
It said CARICOM, through the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has been at the forefront of the immediate relief effort.
“Given the level of devastation and in anticipation that the frequency and intensity will become the new normal, the region has recognised the need to build back better for improved resilience,” the statement said, noting that 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 categorised them as middle to high income countries,” the statement added.