To galvanize financial support for the building of the first climate resilient nation, the Government of Dominica is working with its development partners, principally the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union and the World Bank, to create the Climate Resilience Agency of Dominica (CREAD). CREAD is an independent implementing agency that will fund, design, procure, implement and coordinate climate resilient projects with the objective of making Dominica the first climate resilient nation in the world. Legislation is currently being prepared with the help of a donation from the Government of Canada to establish CREAD and its governance structure as an Act of Parliament. CREAD’s Supervisory Board will be made up of nominees of its principal funders. CREAD will have a total value of approximately $600,000,000. To date, Dominica has received pledges of approximately $400,000,000 from the official sector. These already pledged funds have been allocated towards projects in the broad areas of renewable energy, education and health facilities, water and drainage, sustainable agriculture and climate resilient roads and bridges. For example, CREAD will fund projects to complete the geothermal plant; rebuild 20 schools; repair and rebuild 27 health facilities; complete the restoration of safe drinking water to all; deliver seeds to 1,500 and grants to 7,000 small farmers; rehabilitate banana and plantain farms; repair the airport and ports; rebuild the Boetica Bridge; and repair or rebuild 13 major roads. To close the remaining $200 million funding gap for CREAD, the Government of Dominica is launching a new and innovative financing incentive for private sector partners: for every $10 million pledged towards CREAD, the Government of Dominica will offer the right to use a total of 1 million tons of carbon sequestrated by Dominica’s rainforests and marine environments as a carbon offset over the course of 20 years. The additional funds raised through this incentive will be dedicated to addressing an area that represents one of the greatest challenges facing Dominica six months after Hurricane Maria: providing climate resilient and affordable homes for the 4,000 households that remain in greatest need.
Second Quarter 2018 (April – June): Recruitment of CREAD’s CEO and COO; passing of the CREAD Act and Launch of CREAD as an independent statutory body; formalizing the carbon offset program and the independent body that will certify offsets annually; implementing the Emergency Agriculture Livelihood and Climate Resilient project with the World Bank; complete the rapid roof replacement program; complete seed deployment program; pursue restoration of power grid and water supplies; working with WWF, CGI, Ministries and others to complete first draft of the Climate Resilient Nation Plan. Third Quarter 2018 (July – September): Close funding gap for CREAD; deploy the first priority projects already funded such as: completing repairs to the airport, Princess Margaret Hospital and water supplies; prepare for the reconstruction of the Cabanis to Fond Canie road; progress work on the New Goodwill, Dominica Grammar, Grand Bay Primary and Morne Jaune Primary schools; and rehabilitate Banana and plantain farms; complete restoration of all major tourism destination sites. Fourth Quarter 2018 (October – December): Progress plans to rebuild or refurbish 20 schools and 25 community health clinics; conversion of street lights to solar; reforestation; start the rebuilding of the Boetica Bridge; begin the stabilization of the Aux Delices Slope; further develop the national resettlement program; support full restoration of hydroelectric plants; complete design and engineering of geothermal plant; undertake design and permitting preparations for the building of 4,000 new climate resilient and affordable homes; support the reopening and refurbishment (through loans and tax incentives) of six major hotels. First Quarter 2019 (January - March): Continue construction and repair of priority education and health facilities, rehabilitate road edges at Antrim to Cochrane junction and Belles; progress program to rehabilitate Roseau sea and river defenses and complete design of the national resettlement program; start design and permitting for new Ferry Terminal; begin construction of geothermal plant; rehabilitate Sylvania road edge. Complete design and permitting preparations for the building of 4,000 new climate resilient and affordable homes. Second Quarter 2019 (April - June): Continue deployment of priority projects above; complete restoration of the power grid; rehabilitate Layou Valley to York Bridge to Pond Casse entrance; continue rehabilitation of Roseau sea and river defenses; design and plan for the undergrounding of electrical and other cables in Roseau and Portsmouth; start site preparation for construction of 4,000 new climate resilient and affordable homes. Third Quarter 2019 (July - September): Continue deployment of priority projects above, expand deployment to include Eggleston Road; Jimmit to Warner to Sultan Roads and start construction of new Ferry Terminal; continue site preparation for the building of 4,000 new climate resilient homes. Fourth Quarter 2019 (October - December): Continue deployment of priority projects above; expand priority list to include Wotten Waven to Copthall Road and the National Public Library; continue construction of new Ferry Terminal; complete site preparations for the building of 4,000 new climate resilient homes. First half of 2020 (January - June): Continue deployment of priority projects above, expand deployment to include Canefield to Morne Dabiel road; start undergrounding of cables in Roseau and Portsmouth; continue solar conversion of all street lights; start construction of 4,000 new climate resilient homes. Second half of 2020 (July - December): Continue deployment of priority projects above, expand priority construction to include Fort Canie to Laudat Road and BAM feeder roads;; start undergrounding of cables between Roseau and Portsmouth; start construction of 4,000 new climate resilient homes. 2021-2022 (January 2021 to December 2022): Complete priority projects above, expand priority construction to include refurbishment of all major arteries, bridges and critical feeder roads; complete undergrounding of cables between Roseau and Portsmouth; complete and operationalize geothermal plant; complete solar conversion of street lights; complete construction of 4,000 new climate resilient homes.
According to the World Bank-led Post Disaster Needs Assessment, Hurricane Maria inflicted damage and loss equivalent to 226% of GDP when it hit Dominica on September 17th, 2017. For reference, the 2004 Asian Tsunami and Earthquakes, with horrendous loss of human life, cost 90% of the GDP of Ache Province and 1% of the GDP of Indonesia. In Dominica, Hurricane Maria damaged 98% of homes. Power, telecom and water lines were severed; crops were uprooted; and one third of the rainforest was lost. Ports and airports closed. The destruction was close to total. Two years prior to Hurricane Maria, Dominica was hit by Tropical Storm Erika, which cost 90% of GDP. Erika in turn came four years after Ophelia, another powerful storm. This increasingly deadly series of storms is testament to climate change. Warmer seas are leading to storms that are wetter, cause more damage, intensify faster and are increasingly combined with other disasters. Maria’s twin, Hurricane Irma, was one of the biggest storms on record and tore through the Caribbean only two weeks before. There is no tolerable insurance premium that could be paid to fully insure against the scale, frequency and correlation of devastation wrought by climate change. For this reason, Dominica must become a fully climate resilient nation, the first. Moreover, the experience of Hurricane Maria taught Dominicans that climate resilience is not just about physical buildings, but also livelihoods and systems of food, water, energy, security, and shelter. On September 26th, just nine days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Dominica, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit committed the nation to being an example for others to follow. Dominica is well positioned for this international role: it is a fully-fledged nation with independent systems but small enough that with sufficient determination and focus it could realistically become a climate resilient nation.
The Government of Dominica has support and guidance from experts, but remains open to innovative ideas on building systemic and integrated sector plans. In the case of housing for instance, the Government of Dominica is interested in the development of plans that not only lead to communities being physically resilient, but also integrate the supply chain and the government’s commitment to sustaining its natural environment through to the livelihoods of those doing the building.
No country has attempted to be the first climate resilient nation. This commitment breaks new ground by considering resiliency from a systemic perspective as opposed to an individual building perspective. Beyond being part of building the first climate resilient nation in the world and participating in an innovative carbon-for-resilient homes program, there will be substantial additional partnership opportunities. The Government of Dominica is open to significant education, research, and media collaboration and is considering working with new partners to establish a collaborative Climate Resilient Nation Institute.