Ever since Dominica was decimated by a typhoon and a hurricane in a span of three years, the island has been determined on building back better infrastructure and livelihood programs to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation. And high officials from the other side of the Atlantic are looking.
In Brussels, Belgium, Dominica’s Financial Secretary Denise Edwards met with European Member of Parliament (MEP) Stéphane Bijoux, and the new MEP from Martinique Max Orville, to showcase and discuss Dominica’s journey to a more climate-resilient island.
Bijoux commended Dominica’s efforts not only to become a climate-resilient nation, but also to become a popular destination for eco-tourism.
“Climate change is a severe threat that impacts everyone regardless of creed or stature – sadly, Small Island Developing States such as Dominica are bearing the brunt of catastrophic weather patterns. It is our responsibility to partner with developing countries as solidarity is needed in the fight against climate change,” Bijoux said last June 23 during the meeting with Edwards.
Dominica has also signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which emphasises development cooperation. Bijoux chairs the Delegation to the Cariforum-EU Parliamentary Committee.
Dominica’s infrastructure is the major pillar of the island’s climate-resiliency efforts. When the Category 5 Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, around 90 percent of the island’s buildings were wiped out. To help farmers “adopt climate-smart practices” and to “encourage resilient building practices in the housing sector,” the government of Dominica forged partnership with the World Bank and other major stakeholders for this endeavor.
For the construction of climate-resilient buildings and public spaces, Dominica has partnered with Dubai-based firm Montreal Management Consultants (MMC) Development Ltd., the developing arm of Montreal Management Consultants Est. (MMCE).
MMC Development Ltd. has built a total of 2,000 housing units, 12 health centers, a hospital, educational institutions, community centers, solar street lighting, and sporting facilities in Dominica, and continues to build back better infrastructures for a nation that hopes to become the world’s first climate-resilient country.
“Dominica is no stranger to tropical storms and hurricanes, and yet they still suffer from the most damages. This is why we have to be more invested in helping them recover fast and make the island stronger and better, ” MMC Development CEO Anthony Haiden said in an email sent to the Caribbean News Now. “In every building we help build, we think of the lives that will thrive from them.”
The European Union (EU) has been instrumental in Dominica’s efforts to bounce back from the disasters, providing the island “€8.9 million in financial assistance under the European Development Fund (EDF) to Dominica at the time Tropical Storm Erika hit the country in 2015.”
In 2017, Dominica also received €250,000 in emergency humanitarian aid from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department.
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