The Government of Saint Lucia has joined hands with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to strengthen its social protection systems to better respond to the challenges posed by climate change and natural hazards.
The Government of Saint Lucia and WFP recently signed an agreement to improve institutional capacity to deliver assistance to the most vulnerable people by linking social protection systems to pay-outs made by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF SPC).
Under the most recent agreement, WFP is contributing US Two Hundred thousand US$200,000.00 over two years, towards the premium for the CCRIF SPC Tropical Cyclone Policy for the 2023 and 2024 policy periods.
This will allow a portion of the pay-outs to be channelled through national social protection programmes following a tropical cyclone event. This approach will facilitate the rapid disbursement of support to affected populations in the form of cash payments.
Imran Williams, Director of Finance, states that “This initiative signifies an important step forward in our disaster risk management efforts. By linking risk financing with social protection, we can provide more rapid and efficient support to the most vulnerable in our society during times of crisis.”
Saint Lucia has been a member of CCRIF SPC since 2007 and the company provides insurance coverage for catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, and excess rainfalls.
Saint Lucia has purchased insurance coverage and received pay-outs following major climatic events with disbursements being made within 14 days.
Since 2007, the company has made 62 pay-outs totalling US$265 million to 17 of its 26 member states in the Caribbean and Central America.
The initiative also aligns with the objectives of the Risk Finance Strategy for Saint Lucia which promotes the use of risk finance instruments tailored to social protection needs. The support from WFP is possible through its ongoing partnership with the Government of Canada and the European Union.
“Social protection is the safety net that prevents vulnerable communities from falling into despair during difficult times. It is more than just a programme; it is a lifeline for those in need.” – Charmaine Hippolyte Emmanuel, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment.
The government has collaborated with WFP since 2020 on strengthening social protection systems as part of a broader Technical Assistance Agreement that aims to strengthen the social protection system, disaster risk finance strategies, and emergency preparedness and response planning and support.
Regis Chapman, Representative and Country Director of the Multi-Country Office in Barbados, stated, “We are encouraged by the Government’s efforts to refine its social protection system. This approach is part of a wider strategy to strengthen social protection, which will ensure that those most affected receive the support they need in the shortest possible time.”
Saint Lucia acknowledges the importance of social protection systems in providing swift and predictable assistance to vulnerable populations following disasters. Recent years, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscore the vital role of social protection in supporting affected communities.
The government of Saint Lucia recognises the vital link between disaster risk financing and social protection, aligning these efforts with the national vision for a more resilient nation. By combining social protection and disaster risk financing, Saint Lucia is ensuring the well-being of its citizens during difficult times.