Canada and the World Food Programme (WFP) have entered into a new agreement to strengthen resilience and adaptability to disasters in the Caribbean. WFP Representative and Country Director for the WFP Caribbean Multi-country Office, Regis Chapman and Executive Director for Canada’s Caribbean Regional Development Program, Sharon Peake endorsed the CAD$15 million Resilience and Enhanced Adaptability to Disasters in the Caribbean (READY) project at the High Commission of Canada in Barbados.
First announced by Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at the Forty-Fourth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the Bahamas in February 2023, the Disaster READY Project aims to improve inclusive and gender responsive, comprehensive disaster management in the Caribbean region focusing on vulnerable populations, particularly women and girls.
Through various project activities, Disaster READY will help to ensure that the most at-risk households and populations are supported to prepare for and recover from shocks. It will also provide top-ups to increase disaster insurance coverage provided by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF-SPC), to which Canada has already contributed.
The project will be implemented in eight CARICOM countries – Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname – with additional CARICOM Member States benefiting from regional project activities. As the home of the Regional Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence, Barbados will also share in capacity building initiatives and technical assistance opportunities under the Disaster READY Project.
WFP Representative Regis Chapman shared, “We appreciate the partnership with the Government of Canada to increase the resilience of vulnerable people and contribute to the achievement of gender equality in the Caribbean. We look forward to continuing our support to governments, prioritizing those investments that safeguard the lives of women, men, boys and girls against climate, economic and other shocks, while also taking other vulnerabilities into consideration across all stages of life.”
The Disaster READY Project is one of five new initiatives announced by Prime Minister Trudeau last month, representing CAD$44.5 million in additional funding focused on biodiversity, climate resilience, and disaster preparedness and recovery to support CARICOM in addressing the climate crisis.
Executive Director for Canada’s Caribbean Regional Development Program Sharon Peake noted, “Canada is excited to be starting this innovative and people-first program of support with the World Food Programme to improve the resilience of the most vulnerable in society.”
Recovery from natural disasters and severe weather events can take many years and people living in situations of vulnerability are the least able to prepare for these events, which can further exacerbate vulnerability. Canada recognises the severe impact natural disasters and severe weather events have had in the Caribbean region. Through the Disaster READY Project, Canada reaffirms its commitment to support CARICOM countries in their efforts to advance resilience and adaptability to disasters.
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