The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Thursday pledged its support for the Caribbean as the region moves to build resilience against the effects of natural disasters.
Recovery funding support
IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, addressing the sixth IMF High level Caribbean forum in Jamaica said the Washington-based financial institution is prepared to support the Caribbean with recovery funding and is cognizant of the impact of natural disasters on economic development and stability in the Caribbean.
Ready to provide leadership
She told the forum, which is being held under the theme ‘Unleashing Growth and Strengthening Resilience in the Caribbean’, that the IMF is ready to provide leadership with sourcing special funding and expertise to assist the region in developing mitigation and resilience strategies over the short and long term.
Lagarde said Hurricanes Irma and Maria that passed through the Lesser Antilles in September causing widespread destruction and killing several people “have again highlighted the special vulnerabilities of the Caribbean, and the need to strengthen its resilience.
Climate change could worsen region’s vulnerabilities
“Climate change is expected to intensify the impact of natural disasters, and worsen the vulnerabilities of small states in the Caribbean. Rising sea levels increase risks of erosion and flooding, and warmer water temperatures heighten the potential for more intense hurricanes,” she told the forum that is being attended by several regional prime ministers, central bank governors and other stakeholders.
“We must come together to address the challenge posed by climate change, and help those most affected by it. Emergency relief following events like Hurricanes Irma and Maria is a key responsibility of the global community.”
Lagarde said that the IMF stands ready to do whatever it can to help in these situations, in assessing macroeconomic implications, determining financing needs, and providing financial support that would also help catalyze broader financing from the rest of the international community.