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Eastern Caribbean to get $6 million World Bank grant

By Joyce Loan From WIC News

The World Bank has approved a US$6.3 million grant to support Eastern Caribbean countries to preserve and strengthen resilience of coastal and marine resources.

Th funds will also be used to implement regional policies to stimulate ‘blue growth’, where sustainable ocean-based industries help deliver jobs, reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity across the region.

According to the World Bank the money will “allow countries to better manage natural infrastructure, which is the first line of defence against storm surges and damage from rising frequency of extreme weather events, such as the recent hurricanes.”

The region has been battered this month with the passage of two category five hurricanes. Barbuda was left “barely habitable” after Hurricane Irma, while Hurricane Maria has left widespread devastation in Dominica.

‘Important to build resilience’

The Caribbean Regional Oceanscape project will be implemented through the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission.

It will support Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines to transition towards a ‘blue economy’ model.

“This project will support the Eastern Caribbean policy-makers in identifying smart policies to harness the ocean and all its natural assets, and prepare for a successful transition to a blue economy and socially equitable ‘blue growth’”, said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean.

“As the region is greatly affected by recent hurricanes, it is equally important to build the resilience of coastal communities and promote sustainable development of the ocean resources”.

The Caribbean Sea covers an area of 2.75 million square kilometres, and is a crucial resource for the 40 million people who live along its shores.

OECS countries play a key role in the regional ocean governance as they rely heavily on coastal ecosystems for their income, employment, health and well-being.

At the same time, poorly planned development poses threats to local communities as it erodes the coastal and marine natural protection and other important natural ocean assets.

“This project supports the implementation of the Eastern Caribbean Regional Ocean Policy, a comprehensive policy endorsed by all OECS heads of state,” said Sylvia Michele, World Bank environment specialist.

“This initiative sets forth the long-term vision to ensure the future health of the ocean space while sustainably deriving ocean wealth.”

IMAGE: dominica carnage hurricane maria sep 22 1637 Carnage in Dominica.

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