Today Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders begin a two-day inter-sessional summit in Port au Prince, Haiti, with emphasis on building a more climate-resilient region following the devastating 2017 hurricane season that left more than 30 people dead and millions of dollars in damages across the Caribbean.
The Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said that Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category Five hurricanes, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction and rolling back years of economic development in several member states.
US$1.3 billion pledged
A High-Level Pledging Conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York last November resulted in an estimated US$1.3 billion in pledges for the rehabilitation of the countries, particularly Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda that were severely damaged by the storms.
The Secretariat noted that while the region “still needs significant levels of financing for recovery and building resilience” the Caribbean is preparing for the 2018 hurricane season that starts in June.
It said regional leaders are also expected to examine measures to ensure adequate preparation and to facilitate quick responses to any emergency needs.
Crime and violence also on the agenda
The leaders are also expected to discuss the high incidence of crime and violence across the region and at their last summit in Grenada discussed key initiatives directed towards combatting transnational organized crime.
The meeting will also discuss the development of a CARICOM Counter Terrorism Strategy which is being finalized for adoption.