Dominica to become first climate resilient nation in the world

UNITED NATIONS – Two years after the passage of Hurricane Maria, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state of Dominica is on track to become the first climate resilient nation in the world.

Five days after the hurricane, when Dominica lay in ruins after being ravaged by the Category storm, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit addressed the United Nations.

Prime Minister Skerrit indicated then, his resolve to set Dominica on a path to become the first climate resilient nation of the world.

“Our climate resilience recovery plan is nearing completion and our new implementation agency is fully operational and the resilience building work has begun,” the country’s President Charles Savarin told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

“Thousands of homes have been repaired and rebuilt and hundreds more are contracted to be built. New resilient housing units are being constructed all over the island, public utilities have all been restored, all children are back in school as of January 2018 although some schools remain to be rebuilt.

“The road network has been vastly improved and most of the damaged or destroyed bridges have been repaired or are being rebuilt to higher standards. The rivers and water courses have been dredged and greenery has returned to the hills, the valleys and mountains,” Savarin added.

Dominica Foreign Affairs Minister Francine Baron (left) listens as President of Dominica Charles Savarin addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.

In 2018, the Dominica Government committed to work with its development partners to create and launch the Climate Resilience Agency of Dominica (CREAD).

CREAD is an independent agency that will fund, design, procure, implement, and coordinate climate resilient projects with the objective of helping Dominica achieve its mandate to become the first climate resilient nation in the world.

CREAD features an innovative financing incentive for private sector partners: for every $10 million pledged, Dominica will offer the right to use a total of one million tons of carbon sequestered by its rainforests and marine environments as a carbon offset over the course of 20 years.

Through CREAD, Dominica will rebuild and repair major roads, rebuild approximately 20 schools and 27 health facilities, and provide support for 8,500 farmers across the island.

Funds raised through the carbon offset program will be dedicated to the provision of 4,000 climate resilient homes for those most in need.

Savarin said Dominica is “profoundly thankful for all the attention and support from [the United Nations], its member states and specialized agencies in the aftermath of the massive devastation inflicted by Hurricane Maria in September of 2017.