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About the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility (CRF)

In 2019, the government of Canada, the World Bank, and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) launched the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility (CRF) to support more effective and coordinated gender-informed, climate-resilient preparedness, recovery, and public financial management (PFM) in the Caribbean. The project’s innovative approach combines disaster risk management and PFM, which have traditionally been treated separately, to strengthen key institutions for disaster resilience while also applying a gender lens. This builds on the understanding that disasters can often reinforce, perpetuate, and increase gender inequalities, which remain persistent across the Caribbean.  The CRF trust fund is valued at CAD 20 million (estimated USD 14.4 million) and is being implemented over a five-year period (FY19-23).

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia. Department of Finance.

L to R: Nadia Wells-Hyacinth, Director, Department of Finance and Jeanette Hughes, World Bank Consultant.

The CRF recently conducted systematic reviews which highlighted the need to further emphasize and mainstream disaster resilience and gender considerations in budgetary policies and allocations.

Over the last year and a half, a team from the World Bank's Governance Global Practice reviewed practices of eight countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines). in the region to understand to what extent governments integrate disaster resilience and gender in the design and implementation of budget policies. This was done using the Post-Disaster PFM Review Framework designed by the World Bank’s governance team with the financial support of the government of Canada, complemented by the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment gender responsive PFM in Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Lucia.

The reviews highlighted that because of the high frequency of natural disasters in the Caribbean, national authorities need to develop and disseminate knowledge and shape systems and practices to make public spending and procurement in response to disasters more efficient and effective.  Further, the reviews determined that there is currently limited integration of gender considerations in budget practices.

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The reviews however also revealed the encouraging strides made by some Caribbean countries towards integration in PFM which need to be further reinforced and scaled up effectively.

Some countries have already taken initial steps towards integrating gender in PFM and public investment management practices. In Antigua and Barbuda, for example, the Ministry of Works’ Project Implementation Management Unit issued guidelines for infrastructure projects which require that investment proposals to be appraised from a gender equality, social inclusion, and climate change perspective. In countries in the region that have relatively strong performance-based budget systems such as Saint Lucia, line ministries collect sex-disaggregated data and present this data in their budget documents and sector plans. In Grenada and Guyana, the Parliament conducts policy discussions on the gender impacts of the budget to ensure that budget allocations are gender informed and consider the needs of various vulnerable groups.

St. Georges, Grenada (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Specific Areas of Potential Improvement Identified under the Reviews

There is significant potential for governments in the region to integrate gender in the design of disaster management budget policies and processes (see Table 1). Strengthened collection and analysis of age- and sex-disaggregated data and inclusion of data in budget documentation will allow governments to facilitate discussions on the impacts of its programs and services on women and men, youth and elderly, people with disabilities, and ensure greater social inclusion. This will also help policy makers assess and develop appropriate, evidence-based responses and policies, and address some of the most pertinent issues related to disaster management in the region, including expanding the accessibility of shelters to people with disabilities and enhancing options to evacuate when disasters hit. The reviews indicate that an overwhelming number of budgetary units, such as health clinics and local schools, collect sex-disaggregated data, but such data is not used to inform existing or future policies nor is it fed to key ministries or statistical offices to facilitate a more streamlined approach to data management.

A group of children in costumes performing dancing with flags in the carnival parade in Dominica (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

The Way Forward for Continued and Scaled-up CRF

Building on the work provided by Statistics Canada and their close cooperation with statistical offices across the Caribbean, the CRF will continue to provide and scale-up technical assistance to selected countries in the region that indicated their commitment to design more inclusive budget policies. This will include reviewing the extent to which disaggregated data is collected across the central government and identifying how data collection can be strengthened. CRF support will specifically  aim to strengthen the capacities of Ministries of Finance, line ministries, including national disaster management agencies, to conduct impact assessments of policies; use the findings to (re)design budget policies; and present quality data in a more transparent and open manner for review and discussion by the legislature and public agencies.