The Caribbean region is exposed to a variety of natural hazards, including earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, extreme temperatures, droughts, floods and landslides, many of which are regularly aggravated by the recurrent El Niño / ENSO phenomenon. Increasing climate variability is likely to exacerbate many of these hazards.
Of every 10 natural events recorded in the Caribbean, seven arise because of storms and floods. The frequency of high-powered storms is such that for many small islands and low-lying coastal areas, this kind of events is considered as a “new normal”. The Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria which struck the region in September 2017 resulted in an estimated 100 deaths and severely damaged critical infrastructure, including housing, road networks, schools, hospitals, and water, electricity and phone utilities. Population growth and the ever-increasing concentration of infrastructure in urban or semi-urban areas have also been clear drivers of the growth in human and physical losses from adverse natural events.
Regional economies are extremely vulnerable to these disasters. Many Caribbean states have small and undiversified economic bases and high levels of indebtedness (an average of 79% of regional GDP) which limit their ability for critical investments in the aftermath of a disaster. As most Caribbean countries are categorized as middle-to-high income countries, they are largely ineligible for Official Development Assistance.
The devastating hurricanes which crippled the region in 2017 re-emphasized the need for enhanced regional cooperation for responding to these disasters. Caribbean nations are currently working on building economic resilience against extreme events, but this needs to be accomplished using a two-pronged approach: one that includes developing innovative risk insurance and debt reduction financial tools, while at the same time strengthening public infrastructure that can withstand and recover from disaster-induced shocks.
About the Program
The Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility is a partnership between the European Union, GFDRR and the World Bank. The objective of the Facility is to enhance the long-term disaster resilience and adaptation capacity for the most vulnerable in the Caribbean region. This will be achieved through a comprehensive evidence-based effort, using various advisory and financial services and analytics available, to strengthen the capacity for disaster risk reduction and financial resilience at regional and national levels, as well as through co-financing of investments in resilience.
Activities of the Facility will cover the following beneficiary countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The program has three operational components:
- Regional Technical Assistance Facility to Mainstream Resilience. Activities within this component focus on providing institutional, policy, or regulatory advice to beneficiary countries on a demand-driven basis to strengthen the administrative and technical capacities for advancing recovery and resilience in key development sectors.
- Adaptation Facility for Leveraging Investments in Resilience in the Caribbean. Activities within this component focus on generating evidence-based information to support beneficiary countries as they make critical decisions on where to invest resources to become resilient and adapt to climate change. This technical advice, helps countries develop sector-specific probabilistic risk assessments to prioritize public investment plans in critical areas, which include: safe schools, shelters, public buildings, transport infrastructure, urban resilience, ecosystem-based adaptation, coastal zone management, flood mitigation measures, retrofitting of key infrastructure and integrated watershed management. Under this component, grants will be made available to either directly co-finance resilience investments or to finance ancillary technical assistance or financial services related to these investments.
- Expanding Financial Protection Against Disasters in the Caribbean Sovereign Countries. Activities within this component support beneficiary countries in expanding their coverage under the Caribbean Risk Insurance Facility – Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF-SPC) and related insurance and risk-reduction mechanisms. Specific activities build on CCRIF SPC’s current expansion plan, which includes increasing the portfolio size by improving the coverage limits of existing members, offering new products, and expanding membership. This component also aims to enhance countries’ understanding of financial protection products that target vulnerable populations and reduce the hazard risk to low-income housing.
Rossella Della Monica – Disaster Risk Management Specialist (email@example.com), GFDRR
The Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility is managed by the GFDRR secretariat, and activities are implemented by World Bank teams and beneficiary countries, in close coordination with EU Delegations to Caribbean countries and to regional and sub-regional organizations.
The Facility is funded by the European Union, and is being implemented in close collaboration with the EU Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM.
The Facility is closely collaborating with stakeholders involved in Disaster Risk Reduction and Risk Financing in the Caribbean region, including the Caribbean Risk Insurance Facility – Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF-SPC).