What it's about:
Caribbean countries need “a new and better deal” if they are to improve their climate resilience, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told an international conference to mobilise support for the reconstruction of communities devastated by a series of powerful hurricanes.
The deal should include access to concessional finance and adequate insurance for countries that are largely classified as middle income and therefore face difficulty accessing funding because of how their development is measured, he said.
The pledging conference at U.N. headquarters in New York was co-organised by the United Nations and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a regional grouping of 20 countries.
U.N. General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák highlighted three key steps the international community can take to aid the region. They include committing to rebuilding efforts through funding and technical assistance; rebuilding with greater resilience; and recognising that small island developing states (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and external shocks.
Separately, at the same conference, the European Union pledged a €300 million development package to the Caribbean to support the region in the aftermath of recent hurricanes Irma and Maria.
While some of the EU funds will be used to cover humanitarian gaps, most will be used to provide support for medium-term reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts at national level in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Cuba and Overseas Countries and Territories.
Why it's noteworthy:
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season was particularly active, with more frequent and powerful storms.
Of the 13 named storms, eight were hurricanes and of those, four were major hurricanes. Across the entire Caribbean region, there has been tragic loss of life and widespread devastation.
Over the past 30 years, the number of annual climate-related disasters has nearly tripled, and economic losses have quintupled, according to the United Nations.
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