Japan and UNDP to boost Caribbean’s ability to cope with climate change

Jul 28, 2014

Port-of-Spain, 28 July – The Government of Japan and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) sealed today a new partnership to help disaster-prone Caribbean countries mitigate the effects and adapt to climate change.

The new initiative entails a US$15 million grant (1,526,000,000 yen) to boost Caribbean regional capacity to overcome the impacts of natural disasters, as they are hampered by geography, population size and economic structure.

The agreement takes place during the first Japan-CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Summit being held this week in Trinidad and Tobago with the presence of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Heads of CARICOM Member States.

“Boosting resilience in the Caribbean now is more crucial than ever as the effects of climate change risk undermining decades of progress and efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” said UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Jessica Faieta, stressing the importance of this partnership ahead of the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa from 1-4 September.

“Japan expects that this project will enable countries in the Caribbean region, including Guyana, Suriname and Belize, to enhance their adaptive capacity to climate change and natural disasters, and will further strengthen the partnership between Japan and these countries,” said Yoshimasa Tezuka, Ambassador of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, stressing that 2014 is the Japan-CARICOM Friendship year, also marking the 20th anniversary of the commencement of the Japan-CARICOM Consultations.

“Japan has been a crucial partner for the Caribbean countries in the past years,” said Richard Blewitt, UNDP Resident Representative in Trinidad and Tobago. “We are looking forward to expanding climate change-related knowledge between Japan and Caribbean countries – and within the Caribbean, which is also rich in successful initiatives that reduce the impact of natural disasters.”

The Caribbean countries share common vulnerabilities ranging from debt and excessive dependence on international trade to climate change and rising sea levels. For example, most of Jamaica, was left without electricity, and public infrastructure suffered damages valued at hundreds of millions of dollars following the passage of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In Grenada, Hurricane Ivan left damages worth 203 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and St. Lucia lost 365 percent of its GDP following Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

The new Japan-Caribbean-UNDP Partnership will boost national policies and plans to cope with climate change-related adversity, also aiming to reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports, setting the region on a low emission path and improving access to sustainable energy.

This project is part of the pledge by the Government of Japan to contribute approximately US$16 billion (1.6 trillion yen) to developing countries for measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change during from 2013 to 2015.

Contact information

In Port of Spain: Sharon Ramsaran, Sharon.ramsaran@undp.org

In Panama: Pablo Basz, pablo.basz@undp.org

In New York: Carolina Azevedo, carolina.azevedo@undp.org

In Tokyo: Toshiya Nishigori, toshiya.nishigori@undp.org

UNDP Around the world