As the region battles more intense and frequent climatic events, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wants global funding initiatives for adaptation and mitigation to avoid the usual sluggish disbursement practices of other global initiatives.
Prime Minister Skerrit, the outgoing CARICOM Chairman, made the point in his address to the Opening Ceremony for the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads in Guyana, Thursday, during which he recounted devastating climatic events under his chairmanship, including the destructive passage of hurricane Mathew across The Bahamas and Haiti in October last year.
Haiti reported 500 deaths, 120,000 people with houses destroyed or severely damaged, 1.5 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and devastation to the agricultural sector which affected the country’s food supply. The Bahamas suffered about US500 million worth of damage, especially to agriculture, fishing and infrastructure.
Dominica also has its taste of widespread devastation earlier in the year when Tropical storm Erika wiped out millions of dollars worth of houses, agriculture and infrastructure. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia also had to grapple with unusual weather phenomena.
Prime Minister Skerrit says the widespread devastation across the region emphasises the need to implement the measures in the Paris Climate Change Agreement, particularly the Green Climate Fund, established to assist in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.
“It is critical that there must be relatively quick access to this Fund by those it is intended to assist,” Skerrit told the Meeting.
“As laudable as it is, it will be of minimal impact, if disbursement is as sluggish as has been the experience with other institutions and agencies,” he said.