High-Level Conference on Building Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change in the Caribbean

International Monetary Fund/World Bank Group/Inter-American Development Bank

November 26, 2018

The Caribbean region’s already high vulnerability to natural disasters is likely to be exacerbated as the frequency and severity of disasters increase from climate change effects. But for several reasons, countries in the region invest little in building resilience and rely heavily on ex-post external assistance to recover from such disasters. Reducing the human and economic costs of natural disasters and climate risks requires a greater shift in policy focus towards ex-ante resilience building and a broad disaster risk management strategy. The conference brings together key stakeholders, including senior policymakers, public, private, and multilateral development partners, to explore incentives to shift the focus of policies towards building resilience and innovative disaster risk financing policies and instruments that would help in this regard.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

9:00am – 9:10am
Opening Remarks by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
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9:10am – 9:20am
Remarks by Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Chief Executive Officer, the World Bank Group (WBG)
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9:20am – 9:30am
Remarks by Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
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9:30am – 9:40am
Remarks by the Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, Canada
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9:45am – 12:15pm

Session I. Shifting Focus to Building Resilience – Enhancing Incentives and Catalyzing Financial Support

Investing in preparedness for natural disasters and climate change is a key step in establishing resilience and reducing the large economic and human cost of natural disasters to the Caribbean economies. Significant progress is being made in many countries in developing risk management strategies, and the multilaterals and bilateral partners are playing an active role. Still, international financing remains concentrated on post-disaster relief and reconstruction, with resources for building ex-ante resilience limited and somewhat difficult to access due to cumbersome processes and eligibility criteria. This session focuses on what constrains the countries in the Caribbean to invest more in building resilience; take stock of and learn from ongoing resilience building efforts; and explore ways to shift policy focus and financing towards greater ex-ante resilience-building within an appropriate underlying macro-fiscal framework.
9:45am – 11:00am
Taking Stock of Efforts to Build Resilience
Moderator: Alejandro Werner, Director of Western Hemisphere Department, IMF

Lead Speakers:

Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada
Hon. Mia A. Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados
Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, Secretary General, Commonwealth Secretariat
Dr. Warren Smith, President of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
11:00am – 12:30pm
Shifting the Focus Toward Building Ex Ante Resilience
Moderator: Ana Maria Rodriguez, Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge (a.i.), IDB

Lead Speakers:

  • Hon. Allen M. Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
  • His Excellency Charles Angelo Savarin, President of the Commonwealth of Dominica
  • Dr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Head of Strategic Planning, Green Climate Fund
  • Ms. Mafalda Duarte, Head, Climate Investment Fund
12:35pm – 12:45pm
Introduction of the Keynote Speaker, by Ms. Louise Levonian, Executive Director, IMF
12:45pm – 1:45pm
Keynote Speech, Hon. Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica
2:00pm – 4:30pm

Session II. Financial Solutions for Disaster Risk Management

Financial protection—through a multilayer risk approach that combines different instruments for different layers of risk (self-insurance; contingent financing; catastrophe insurance and bonds)—can help countries better manage the fiscal cost of disasters, ensure timely resources when disasters strike, and mitigate the long-term growth and fiscal impact of disasters. Nevertheless, experience suggests that, despite the benefits, countries underinvest in risk reduction and mitigation due to fiscal, political, or cost/benefit considerations. This session explores innovative disaster risk financing solutions for Caribbean countries, the scope for regional solutions, obstacles to their implementation, and appropriate remedial measures. It also explores options to promote climate resilience, including to enhance the sovereign’s ability to meet debt service obligations in the aftermath of natural disasters and create additional fiscal space for recovery.
2:00pm – 3:15pm
Improving Risk Transfer
Moderator: Jorge Familiar, Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, WBG

Lead Speakers:

  • Hon. Hubert Alexander Minnis, Prime Minister of Bahamas
  • Hon. Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and Public Service of Jamaica
  • Hon. Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Mr. Isaac Anthony, CEO Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF)
  • Mr. Stefan Kossoff, Head of DfID for the Caribbean
3:15pm – 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm – 4:30pm
Furthering Existing and Developing New Instruments to Transfer Risk
Moderator: Manuela Ferro, Vice President, Operational Policy and Country Services, WBG

Lead Speakers:

  • Hon. Leona Marlin-Romeo, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten
  • Mr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)
  • Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, CARICOM
  • Mr. Nikhil Da Victoria Lobo, Managing Director of Public Sector, Swiss Re.
4:30pm – 5:30pm Panel Discussion on The Way Forward
Moderator: Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director, IMF
  • Hon. Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
  • Hon. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados
  • Mr. Alejandro Werner, Director, Western Hemisphere Department, IMF
  • Ms. Manuela Ferro, Vice President, Operational Policy and Country Services, WBG
  • Mr. Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Head, Strategic Planning, Green Climate Fund
5:30pm – 5:45pm

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Mr. Alexandre Tombini, Executive Director, IMF
Ms. Christine Hogan, Executive Director, WBG
Ambassador Selwin Hart, Executive Director, IDB