Government talks of plans to set up Vulnerability Risk Fund for backup financing after natural disasters
Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that a Vulnerability Risk Fund will be introduced by the government, to provide backup financing in the face of natural disasters. The ‘rainy days’ fund as referenced, will reportedly be financed by the Island’s Economic Citizenship Program. He made the announcement at the launching of a three-day follow-up workshop on Dominica’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience at the State House on Monday morning.
“We, the government will very soon conclude on the setting up of a Vulnerability Risk Fund, to be set aside to deal with external shocks and the occurrence of natural disasters,” he explained. “And, we intend to finance largely that fund with the proceeds from the Economic Citizenship Program because we recognize, as countries, we need to be able to set aside something for rainy days”. He said that the introduction of this initiative, even in the face of the $1.2-billion cost of rebuilding after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, last August, displays what he referred to as the “extraordinary prudence and responsibility” of the government.
He lamented that “Climate change is having a major negative impact on Dominica’s economy, and the developed countries failed to appreciate the sheer cost of reconstruction, resulting from these impacts. He says these costs are beyond the financial capability of the island, and environmentally associated diseases from mosquitoes, or water pollution, compound the situation”. He argues that the procedures for obtaining resources to address such issues should be shortened, as the delay leaves the island to finance its own reconstruction, thereby severely damaging its economy.
Skerrit says “The procedures need to be short-circuited in order for us to have immediate access the resources … you submit a project in 2016, and if the project is implemented in 2020/2021, you are very lucky,” he stated. “And, we have events upon events adding to the already devastating situation. We find ourselves, as small island states, having to finance the bulk of our efforts to mitigate against climate change, recognizing that we are the least contributors to the phenomenon, but the brunt of the destruction, the brunt of the devastation rests with us.”
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