United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said he is impressed with Dominica’s response following Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane which ravaged the island on September 18.
Secretary General Guterres visited Dominica on the weekend where he spoke at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Sunday October 8, 2017 from the Financial Center.
“I was impressed by the effective response that your government and your people, with the resilience of your communities was able to put together a response that allows what I see today to be very different from what we could see immediately after the hurricane,” he said.
The Secretary General said his visit to Dominica is one of solidarity with the Dominican people and government. He said the “systematic devastation” caused by the hurricane is one he had never seen before.
He added that he has two main concerns; one is that these weather events occurring in the Caribbean region is as a result of climate change.
“I see sometimes people saying “Well we always have hurricanes and storms or we always have droughts”. It is true but what we never had is this intensity, this frequency and these devastating impacts…obviously it is climate change which is behind that,” he explained.
The other concern Secretary General Guterres said is the international community’s response to Dominica. He said they need to be made national aware that the support Dominica needs cannot be achieved through traditional instruments.
Dominica though a middle income country has enormous vulnerability saying, “There must be a review of the way that middle income countries that are particularly vulnerable to external shocks are supported with direct support, with concessional loans, there must be new financial instruments, bonds of different natures linked mainly to the buildup of resilience.”
He said there must be a way of transforming Dominica into an instrument of reconstruction and resilience.
“There must be a number of innovative forms of financing for this country to be able even with the extraordinary effort of the government and the people for the country to be able to rebuild itself,” Secretary General Guterres added.