Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle. (FP)

Minister in Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, is continuing to highlight the importance of Barbados’ Roofs to Reefs Programme, a national resilience programme that cuts across several sectors.

Addressing participants at the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) virtual High Level Plenary on Natural Capital Mainstreaming and Finance on Biodiversity, Planning and Public Finance recently, she outlined the anticipated impacts of the project.

Alluding first to why it was designed, she said: “Traditionally, we’ve seen a smattering of different projects that are confined to environment ministries that are meant to have some biodiversity or some climate resilient impact, but don’t have scale. On an island like Barbados, in a context where as a country that lies between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, we are on the frontline of the climate disaster,  we determined, as a Government, that having these small projects in discrete places is not going to give us the scale to allow our people to survive the climate crisis.

“And so, Roofs to Reefs was developed in order to make sure that our economic recovery, that our economic plan is not at all developed separately from our Sustainable Development Agenda. Roofs to Reefs is really all of the interventions brought together in one programme, all of the interventions that are required for a climate resilient economy.”

The Minister added that it was so called because Government believes resilience starts at the level of the household and the community, and had “to make visible the issues of loss and damage”. 

She drew attention to the fact that under the Paris Agreement, the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage was not really realised, adding that people in countries like Barbados were very susceptible, at the level of their homes, to increased natural disaster as a result of the climate crisis.

Recalling that Dominica had seen losses of 220 per cent of its GDP within a 24-hour period after Hurricane Maria, she alluded to the recent passage of Elsa and other events in Barbados that highlighted the importance of why the island started with the roofs’ idea.

She explained: “We realised that people’s roofs are highly insecure. A week before last, we had a freak storm; we had an event that nobody saw coming that ended in many roofs being blown off of homes and many homes being destroyed. And so, we realised that at the level of the households, we have to start there and have to make sure that people’s homes are secure.”

The Minister further pointed out that the programme also addresses the use of renewable energy technologies, rainwater harvesting, and the use of sustainable nature-based solutions to limit runoff into the coastal environment.

Emphasising that the Roofs to Reefs Programme uses community-based and national approaches, she stressed it also considers how we build in financial resilience alongside climate resilience, including the use of green and blue bonds and other thematic bonds.

Concluding, Ms. Caddle praised the Roofs to Reefs Programme, saying: “It is at the heart of our Nationally Determined Contribution that we have just completed. It is essentially everything that at the public level and the private level that each actor needs to do to make sure that we reach our resilience targets.”

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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