SINT MAARTEN/WASHINGTON D.C. - Upon the invitation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank & the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a delegation from Sint Maarten consisting of the Prime Minister, Leona Romeo Marlin, Minister of Finance, Perry Geerlings and the Minister of VROMI, Miklos Giterson attended the “Building Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change in the Caribbean Conference”. The conference was held on November 26th at the IMF headquarters in Washington, DC.
Also, in attendance were Heads of Government from Caribbean countries Jamaica, Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Haiti as well as senior civil servants, representatives of various regional and international organizations, such as CCRIFF and OAD.
The conference focused on the exchange on experiences, best practices as well as bottlenecks that impede sustainable development to building resilience for climate change and its effects. Delegates from various Caribbean islands highlighted the need for flexible procedures in accessing critical funding. The need for such stems from the lack of national resources to fund climate change as well as the constant need for national financial injections. The delegates argued that the time for assistance is now since Caribbean countries are frequently impacted by disasters.
Additionally, highlighted at the conference was the fact that while the Caribbean region is the least in gas emissions it continues to feel the brunt of the effects of worldwide climate change.
St. Maarten’s Prime Minister served as the lead speaker for the session on “furthering existing and developing new instruments to transfer risk”. She highlighted the key principles of resilience on Sint Maarten, namely, to be prepared and to adapt. In her address, the Prime Minister emphasized that there is a need for a multi-prong approach to financial climate change and therefore disaster management.
Steps taken by Sint Maarten thus far to safeguard financial resources for disaster management are joining the CCRIF and the establishment of a national disaster fund. One of the measures Sint Maarten intends on exploring is the increase in private insurance penetration. This would then lead to assisting low and middle-income households as well as small business in acquiring insurance.
Prime Minister Marlin Romeo elucidated on the prerequisite for the Caribbean region to speak with “one voice” and work together to address issues of climate change and disaster management.
The conference ended on a high note with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, indicating that her country will take the lead in convening a meeting of Caribbean countries to determine the way forward for the region on climate change, resilience and financing thereof. Sint Maarten looks forward to collaborating with other Caribbean countries on disaster management and on addressing issues of climate change.