#Bahamas, April 23, 2018 – Nassau – Since 2015, The Bahamas has been impacted by three major hurricanes (Joaquin, Matthew and Hurricane Irma), all of which have caused a tremendous amount of damage to homes, roadways and critical infrastructure needed to sustain economic growth and modernization.
In wake of the 2017 hurricane season, the Caribbean Community has pledged to focus efforts on building Climate-Resilient Communities. Most recently, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) released a report outlining the effects and impacts of Hurricane Irma, which resulted in $31.5 million dollars worth of damage.
On Tuesday, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings in London, leaders throughout the region attended a high-level meeting on climate change, where key priorities such as reducing community vulnerabilities and how to regenerate development post-natural disasters were discussed.
Advocating for the introduction of a Vulnerability Index, leaders also discussed the inconsistencies that exist with using a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to determine eligibility for Post-Disaster Relief Funding. As a result of The Bahamas’ high GDP, the country has failed to qualify for key funding available to small island developing states. With the adoption of a Vulnerability Index, The Bahamas is at a great advantage of receiving needed relief funds because of our low-lying state and highly vulnerable coastal communities.
Like other small islands developing states, The Bahamas is already feeling the impacts of climate change. By making relief funding available, The Bahamas could move to build resilient communities and improve the state of infrastructure. As priority for small economies, leaders also expressed that relief funds collected and post-disaster efforts should not contribute to the country’s debt ratio.
Islands of the Caribbean are minuscule contributors to global carbon emissions but yet, they are set to feel the greatest impact. Current efforts to rebuild and restore communities after natural disasters has taken away from crucial finances needed to address Socio-Economic issues such as Health Care, Education, and Crime.
Release: Bahamas Ministry of The Environment and Housing