Dominican Prime Minister focuses on ‘Strengthening Resilience’ in UNCTAD

Dominican Prime Minister focuses on 'Strengthening Resilience' in UNCTAD
Dominican Prime Minister focuses on 'Strengthening Resilience' in UNCTAD

Prime Minister of Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, attended the virtual round table conference at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that mainly focused on strengthening resilience in the commodity-dependent countries.

According to PM Skerrit, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS)are highly vulnerable to climate changes and other external shocks that have been resulted in the slowing down of the development speed. Many countries similar to Dominica have been stuck in the process cycle of build, destroy, rebuild, which is mainly impacted by tropical storms. The CARICOM had helped for executing the agenda of the resilience buildings and make the island climate-proof.

While expressing his gratitude to UNCTAD, PM Skerrit said that he was honoured to join the round table discussion at the end of the three-day forum, which comprised conversations on the challenges and opportunities for developing states which are highly dependent on commodities export and trade.

PM Skerrit said, “Dominica unfortunately, can speak with authority on the devastating impacts of repeated storms. In 2015 Tropical Storm Erika caused severe loss and damage to Dominica amounting to the equivalent of 90% of GDP. Many lives were lost, livelihoods impacted, and two entire communities had to be relocated. Two years later Hurricane Maria tore through our country leaving complete devastation in its wake with 90% of buildings damaged or destroyed, roads impassable, lives lost, and when the assessments were completed, 226% of our GDP was gone in an instant.”

These countries have to face a massive burden of the high debt that they use in the aftermaths of the disaster and various external shocks, which also puts a bad impact on the speed of their development.

PM Skerrit added that the conference had been held at the right time as many countries have been facing economic fallout because of the pandemic outbreak globally. The countries have been badly impacted due to the loss in the revenue generated by the tourism sector as the surge in COVID-19 cases globally.

PM Skerrit said, “In Dominica, Hurricane Maria prompted me to express the vision to make Dominica the first climate-resilient nation, not simply replacing what was lost but approaching the resilience of the country in a holistic manner. Out of crisis and catastrophe, we created the Climate Resilience Agency for Dominica (CREAD) to lead and coordinate strategic initiatives across sectors, including the development of our Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan to 2030 (the CRRP).”

The countries have been mainly focusing on the few areas like the development of the robust economy that should be sufficient while helping during the adverse climatic events.

The CARICOM countries are committed to transition to clean, renewable energy. There is no doubt that increased sustainability due to continuous improvements in energy efficiency and greater utilization of domestic renewable energy resources will boost our economic future and overall resilience to external shocks.

PM Skerrit concluding said, “This global pandemic has presented many challenges, but it has also provided an opportunity for us to be innovative and creative. We must diversify our production and exports, and strengthen our economies, thereby reducing our vulnerabilities, and I daresay, our status as “commodity dependent countries.”