By Sophie Hares, UNDRR Americas and the Caribbean
Menaced by increasingly violent hurricanes, Caribbean countries face an enormous bill to better protect themselves disasters and need to weave a web of financing options to help insulate against shocks, said speakers at a regional conference.
Boosting lackluster economic growth, ramping up insurance and disaster funds, and embracing the private sector would help bolster countries which needed to invest more in resilience, said speakers at the Comprehensive Disaster Management Conference (CDM11) in Sint Maarten.
"Budgeting for disaster should be a must for us all," said Silveria Jacobs, prime minister of Sint Maarten, which was ravaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
A common disaster fund and a joint insurance plan to protect the small businesses that drive local economies could help the region, she told the conference, organized by the Caribbean Disasters and Emergency Agency (CDEMA).
"Government cannot definitely not go it alone Business resilience drives the economy which ensures that islands can bounce back even faster," said Jacobs, who urged more investment in resilient infrastructure.
With many countries heavily indebted, creating layers of risk financing was key if countries are to limit the economic impact of disasters, which could also include flooding, drought, tsunamis and seismic activity, said speakers.
Risk financing layers should include funds shaved from national budgets, paired with fast-paying parametric insurance and access to lines of credit, said Ming Zhang, World Bank regional practice manager for urban and disaster risk management.
While new insurance products could help protect livelihoods and the fishing industry in the event of disasters, there was more scope to expand insurance to include households and small businesses, said Zhang in an interview.
"You cannot set up a contingency fund to address a Category 5 hurricane," said Zhang, who estimates disasters cost the Caribbean 1 percent of its gross domestic product each year.
"You need a risk financing strategy each country should look at different layers and different contingencies, insurance and other mechanisms."
While countries such as St. Lucia and Grenada were looking to set up disaster funds bolstered by lines of credit, there needs to be more focus on how money was being spent in the region to better prepare for disasters, he said.
More advanced recovery planning was needed to make sure emergency shelters and supplies were available, while strengthening homes and infrastructure could help reduce economic impact down the track, he said.
"In the midst of borrowing for public investment, governments need to ensure that these funds are certainly being spent to ensure resilience," said Ronald Jackson, CDEMA executive director, said in an interview.
"That's one area that will drive down exposure and be a lower cost to government when these events occur."
NO SILVER BULLET
Emergency cash payments to small businesses, farmers and the most vulnerable after hurricanes in Barbados and Dominica helped stimulate the local economies and get people back on their feet, said speakers.
But countries needed to ensure adequate systems were in place to disperse social protection payments to make sure they reach the right people as quickly as possible, they added.
"No single financial instrument is the solution, we have to adopt a risk layering approach," Nicholas Grainger, programme associate at the World Food Programme, told the conference.
Given the private sector shells out for up to 85 percent of all investment and absorbs the lion's share of disaster losses, businesses should be closer involved in trying to driving down risk and promoting economic resilience, said speakers.
"It's very clear that reducing disaster risk cannot be done by one actor or sector alone," Nahuel Arenas, Deputy Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, told the conference.
"Resilient investment is about integrating risk through business practices and investment decisions."
The UNDRR-backed business network, known as The Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies or ARISE, is growing quickly in the Caribbean where companies are increasingly aware that disaster risk reduction (DRR) makes sound business sense, said speakers.
Jeffrey Beckles, chief executive of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, said the private sector wanted a greater role in DRR given it was a major employer and driver of growth.
It also has a lot to lose. Businesses suffered some 90 percent of the massive losses in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian in September, he added.
"We bring to the table the ability to look further down the road than any single administration," Beckles told the conference.
"We bring to the table a much deeper, wider capacity for casting a longer-term strategy for resiliency and prospects for our country's stability,"
Developing the digital and blue economies, while finding ways to expand the benefits of industries such as tourism could help bolster the region's economy and ultimately make households more resilient, said speakers.
"Resilient people build resilient lives, and resilient communities and economies," said Sint Maarten's Jacobs.
- 5 Caribbean Islands Where You Can Go Beyond the Beach - The New York Times - March 5th, 2020
- Caribbean tourism threatened by the region's first cases of COVID-19 - Global Voices - March 5th, 2020
- Is This The Next Big Vacation Spot In The Caribbean? - Forbes - March 5th, 2020
- Cruises and the Coronavirus: What Passengers Need to Know - The New York Times - March 5th, 2020
- Why Shares of Royal Caribbean Were Down in February - Motley Fool - March 5th, 2020
- When is Wild Cuba: A Caribbean Journey on TV? - BBC Discover Wildlife - March 5th, 2020
- Cook Like the Chefs on Taste the Islands with New Caribbean Cookbook - Island Origins - March 5th, 2020
- Flycana: Dominican start-up LCC working to be viable in the Caribbean - CAPA - Centre for Aviation - March 5th, 2020
- Caribbean-style roti shop, On the Double, coming this spring to Union Market. - PoPville - March 5th, 2020
- "The new authentic Caribbean street food eatery and Rhum bar will serve many of the menu items from its acclaimed sister restaurant, Cane Rhum... - March 5th, 2020
- Pirates Of The Caribbean 5: Why Keith Richards Was Replaced By Paul McCartney - Screen Rant - March 5th, 2020
- Royal Caribbean Is Starting To Look Attractive - Seeking Alpha - March 5th, 2020
- Johnny Depp Never Actually Lost His Pirates Of The Caribbean Role - ScreenGeek - March 5th, 2020
- From the Newsroom: Cruising along in the Caribbean - The Columbian - February 29th, 2020
- The Invention of the "Healthy" Caribbean - JSTOR Daily - February 29th, 2020
- The 4 best Caribbean spots in Baltimore - Hoodline - February 29th, 2020
- Import Substitution: Local Fruits And Veggies Can Feed Caribbean Economies - Forbes - February 29th, 2020
- Kamau Brathwaite and the Voice of the Caribbean - The New York Review of Books - February 29th, 2020
- St Maarten Is the Caribbean's Fastest-Growing Destination Right Now - Caribbean Journal - February 29th, 2020
- Faces & Places: Jews of the Caribbean Detroit Jewish News - The Jewish News - February 29th, 2020
- What in the world are those things washing up on Floridas beaches? - TCPalm - February 29th, 2020
- I spent a day on the most beautiful island in the Caribbean and never left my room. It was incredible. - Business Insider - February 29th, 2020
- Cooks from parts of Africa, the US, and the Caribbean share their heritage recipes - The Philadelphia Inquirer - February 29th, 2020
- Silver Airways applies to fly larger aircraft to Caribbean - Flightglobal - February 29th, 2020
- Dominican Republic: first in the Caribbean to use technology for maps of coastal marine habitats - Dominican Today - February 29th, 2020
- Top airports for private aviation in the Caribbean* - Travel Daily News International - February 29th, 2020
- Pirates Of The Caribbean: 10 Things Everyone Missed About Davy Jones - Screen Rant - February 29th, 2020
- More Work Needs to be Done to Develop Caribbean Sports Talent - caribbeannationalweekly.com - February 29th, 2020
- Why Shares of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Delta, and Southwest Plummeted Today - Motley Fool - February 29th, 2020
- Why Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Hertz Global Stocks All Dropped Today - Motley Fool - February 29th, 2020
- Grandfather of child who died on Royal Caribbean ship pleading guilty - Business Insider - Business Insider - February 29th, 2020
- Disney Reportedly Considering Bringing Johnny Depp Back For Pirates Of The Caribbean Reboot - We Got This Covered - February 29th, 2020
- Grandfather of 1-year-old who fell to her death from Royal Caribbean cruise ship to plead guilty - USA TODAY - February 29th, 2020
- Petition To Bring Johnny Depp Back To Pirates Of The Caribbean Almost At Its Goal - We Got This Covered - February 29th, 2020
- Caribbean & Mexico Vacation Packages - All Inclusive Resorts ... - January 27th, 2020
- From Pakistan to the Caribbean: Curry's journey around the world - CNN - January 27th, 2020
- Cat sails the waters of the Caribbean since she was a kitten - Metro.co.uk - January 27th, 2020
- Reimagining the Caribbean's identity - Dominican Today - January 27th, 2020
- Women Who Made Their Mark on Caribbean Music to Headline Best of The Best Music Fest - South Florida Caribbean News - January 27th, 2020
- 15 Luxurious All-Inclusive Resorts In The Caribbean (That Are Cheaper Than You Thought) - TheTravel - January 27th, 2020
- Buy Royal Caribbean Even Though Coronavirus Fears Are Slamming the Stock, Scott Black Says - Barron's - January 27th, 2020
- Family of toddler who fell to her death off a cruise ship says Royal Caribbean provided a 'false narrative' - Wink News - January 27th, 2020
- Harry Potter Star Reportedly Eyed To Lead Pirates Of The Caribbean Reboot - We Got This Covered - January 27th, 2020
- Sally's: The Team Behind Sally Roots Brings Asian-Influenced Caribbean Food to Bed-Stuy - BKLYNER - January 27th, 2020
- Zac Efron Rumored To Play Jack Sparrow In "Pirates of the Caribbean" Reboot - Inside the Magic - January 27th, 2020
- 15 Under-The-Radar Caribbean Destinations Better Than Turks And Caicos - TheTravel - January 27th, 2020
- PAHO Director urges Caribbean to Prepare for Early Detection of Coronavirus - caribbeannationalweekly.com - January 27th, 2020
- Religious keep momentum of Amazon synod alive in wider Latin American, Caribbean region - Global Sisters Report - January 20th, 2020
- Royal Caribbean: Grandfather 'reckless' in toddler death: report - Fox Business - January 20th, 2020
- Mottley warns of attempts to divide the Caribbean - Jamaica Gleaner - January 20th, 2020
- Pirates of the Caribbean: 10 Best Jack Sparrow Quotes - Screen Rant - January 20th, 2020
- St. Thomas named one of Caribbean's best fishing destinations - Virgin Islands Daily News - January 20th, 2020
- 10 unexpected foods to eat on the Caribbean island of Curacao - USA Today 10Best - January 18th, 2020
- Dominica Is the Fastest Growing Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean Region Thanks to Booming Tourism and Citizenship by Investment, UN ECLAC... - January 18th, 2020
- A busy year in the Caribbean: Elections - Global Americans - January 18th, 2020
- I spent a day on Richard Branson's private island in the Caribbean. It was as spectacular as you can imagine. - Business Insider - January 18th, 2020
- From Vision to Action: Latin American and Caribbean Cities Ready for a Paradigm Shift in Road Safety - TheCityFix - January 18th, 2020
- PHOTOS: Disney Reveals Sneak Peek at February's Pirates of the Caribbean Minnie Mouse: The Main Attraction Line - wdwnt.com - January 18th, 2020
- Caribbean Map / Map of the Caribbean - Maps and ... - January 15th, 2020
- New Thoughts on the Colonization of the Caribbean - Archaeology - January 15th, 2020
- Stony coral tissue loss disease is sweeping through Caribbean reefs. Can these students find the answers? - News@Northeastern - January 15th, 2020
- Study puts the 'Carib' in 'Caribbean,' boosting credibility of Columbus' cannibal claims - University of Florida - January 15th, 2020
- The Rhythm Lounge & Grill is offering live music and Caribbean-inspired food at Marketplace Maill - Winston-Salem Journal - January 15th, 2020
- Church Shares Caribbean Culture to Build Local Connections - WGLT News - January 15th, 2020
- The face of reparations - Caribbean Life - January 15th, 2020
- Warming Climate Causes Dengue Fever Outbreak in Caribbean Leading to Almost 1400 Deaths in the Last Year - One Green Planet - January 15th, 2020
- Curtain Bluff, an All-Inclusive Caribbean Classic, Is Better Than Ever - Caribbean Journal - January 15th, 2020
- Leonardo DiCaprio saves man who fell overboard in the Caribbean - Consequence of Sound - January 15th, 2020
- Leonardo DiCaprio helps save man who fell overboard in the Caribbean - CBS News - January 15th, 2020
- Hilton Is Opening a New Caribbean Resort in St Kitts - Caribbean Journal - January 15th, 2020
- Win trip to the Caribbean by getting fit at F45 Training Tysons - Patch.com - January 15th, 2020
- Reflecting on 2019 and Caribbean finance | Business - Jamaica Gleaner - January 15th, 2020
- Latin American and Caribbean economies to grow 1.8 percent in 2020 - Global Americans - January 15th, 2020
- Can Bees Add a Fresh Buzz to the Caribbean's $56 Billion Tourism Market? - OZY - December 13th, 2019
- Revealed: how the Caribbean became a haven for Jews fleeing Nazi tyranny - The Guardian - December 13th, 2019
- Curtain Bluff, Antigua: laid-back luxury in the Caribbean - The Week UK - December 13th, 2019
- Spices of the Winter Gala celebrates Caribbean culture - The Ticker - December 13th, 2019
- When the Caribbean Islands became home to hundreds of thousands of Jews escaping persecution - Face2Face Africa - December 13th, 2019
- Bella Hadid went braless under a sheer halter top during her trip to the Caribbean - Business Insider - December 13th, 2019
- At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a Look at the Ancient Caribbean - Caribbean Journal - December 13th, 2019