Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke and Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie Peters – Photo: Canadian High Commission

Jamaica Observer: July 8, 2020 – Jamaica is to benefit from a provision of CA$4.7 million or $498 million, for which the country is eligible under the CA$20 million Canada-Caricom Climate Adaptation Fund facility, to be implemented by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

A communiqué from the Canadian High Commission in Kingston on Monday indicated that the Climate Adaptation Fund allocation is earmarked for Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company (CCRIF SPC) premiums.

This, the document outlined, can be applied either towards 2020/21 premiums or combined to cover payments for the current year and 2021/22.

This is in addition to a donation of some CA$376,000 or $39.97 million, which the Canadian Government recently committed to Jamaica’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

The CCRIF SPC, which is headquartered in the Cayman Islands, was founded in 2007 as the CCRIF and is the first multi-country risk pool to be established globally.

The facility is the first insurance instrument for which parametric policies, backed by traditional and capital markets, were developed for speedily releasing funds to member countries impacted by natural disasters via policy payouts rather than after damages are assessed.

The communiqué indicated that the fund, which was announced by Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Phillippe Champagne during Caricom’s Intersessional meeting in February, is indicative of the North American country’s steadfast commitment to remaining a “strong partner” for regional states “in these uncertain times”, as also recognition that the needs across the Caribbean are vast.

Photo: Jamaica Observer

In his address at the Caricom meeting, Minister Champagne noted that Canada gave “careful consideration” to how the Fund should be implemented within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said based on consultations with governments and regional stakeholders, it was decided to provide support for CCRIF premiums and targeted technical assistance, for which a fund is also available for all Caricom countries to develop innovative financing instruments.

These include resilience bonds to mobilise private investment for climate adaptation and resilience and is in direct response to requests from Caricom countries to find innovative and cost-effective solutions to fiscal and environmental challenges.

Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters, noted that even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, her country remains fully committed to “continuing our support [for] Jamaica’s social, economic and climate resilience for the [current] hurricane season, and beyond”.

She emphasised that the Canada-Caricom Climate Adaptation Fund is a “concrete demonstration of this commitment”.

“Canada hopes that this timely and targeted support will create fiscal space and free up domestic financial resources to allow Jamaica and other Caricom countries to address the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” High Commissioner Peters added.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke, who paid a courtesy call on the high commissioner, said Jamaica’s susceptibility to natural disaster events is well-documented, citing flood rains, tropical storms, hurricanes and earthquakes as “part of the Jamaican experience”.

Consequently, he said building resilience is critical, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic further highlights the importance of addressing how to build resilience and minimise vulnerability.

Dr Clarke further highlighted the Government’s development of Jamaica’s Disaster Risk Financing Framework, which focuses on implementing a multi-year strategy with a menu of financial instruments, including the country’s subscription to CCRIF, to manage the financing of disaster risk.

“We are, therefore, very appreciative of the Canadian Government’s support through the Canada-Caricom Climate Adaptation Fund and technical assistance fund. This will go a long way towards assisting Jamaica in our Disaster Risk Financing Strategy,” he said.