Remarks - Abaco Shelter Signing Ceremony

June 21, 2022
Signing Ceremony Abaco hurricane shelter project

United Nations and Bahamas government officials at the signing ceremony for the Abaco hurricane shelter

Photo: Disaster Reconstruction Authority

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio
Abaco Shelter/Community Centre Signing Ceremony
31 May 2022, Office of the Prime Minister, Nassau Bahamas 


  • Hon. Myles K. LaRoda, Minister of State- Office of the Prime Minister: Disaster Preparedness Unit 
  • Carl Smith, Permanent Secretary - Office of the Prime Minister: Disaster Preparedness Un
  • Dr. Garry Connille, UN Resident Coordinator
  • H. Alex Storr, Executive Chairman- Disaster Reconstruction Authority
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the DRA
  • Other distinguished guests

Good Morning.

I am delighted to participate in this signing ceremony for the construction of a Hurricane Shelter/ Community Centre in Abaco.  UNDP’s engagement with the Government and people of The Bahamas in the post- hurricane Dorian context has been ongoing since 2019. We are indeed heartened by the progress of recovery efforts being undertaken by the Government of The Bahamas despite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic especially in the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands which were already  impacted by the Hurricane.

We celebrate the positive and long-lasting results of  our partnership with multiple stakeholders within the government, academia and civil society over these last two and a half years. Specifically, we note:

  • the improved capacity of the government to undertake damage assessment in a post-disaster crisis by utilizing UNPD’s housing building damage assessment (HBDA) tool and,
  • the strengthening of the policy and institutional framework for disaster preparedness, response and recovery through the development of the National Recovery Policy,
  • Implementation Strategy and Institutional Framework  approved by  Cabinet in October 2020.

Further, the knowledge and capacity of the average Bahamian citizen has been improved through the Building to Code Manual and the related webinar series which were published on traditional and social media.  The manual and webinar series targeted homeowners and contractors to ensure reconstruction efforts were aligned to approved building standards.  

Resilience Building is one of six signature solutions outlined in UNDP’s new global strategic plan and a cross cutting theme for the recently approved multi-country office Country Programme Document.  

Climate resilient physical assets are the future that we must embrace for a climate resilient Bahamas. The Abaco shelter Project is an example of our continued support to The Bahamas as it strengthens its resilience to more frequent and powerful storm systems that threaten lives, livelihoods and infrastructure. The shelter will not only improve access to safe spaces during disasters, but also as a model of climate resilient construction methods based on build forward better standards. 

UNDP thanks the India- UN Partnership Development Fund for its US$1 million funding support to the construction of the Shelter and contributions of US$ 130k received from local donors from the 2019 pledging conference to the project.  We also commend the Disaster Reconstruction Authority for its demonstrated commitment to improving the resilience of The Bahamas to climate shock and events through its commitment to co-finance the balance required to complete the shelter. 

I am confident that the anticipated success of this Project will yield long lasting positive impact on the lives and people of the Abaco islands. As noted by the current UN Secretary -General, Antonio Guterres, to eradicate poverty and reduce the impacts of climate change, we must place the public good above all other considerations. 

Thank you.

The shelter will not only improve access to safe spaces during disasters, but also serve as a model of climate resilient construction methods based on build forward better standards.
Denise E Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative