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Funders pledge $1.5bn for disaster relief

Private companies, governments, regional and international institutions, and philanthropic individuals have pledged approximately $1.5 billion in financing and in-kind services to support recovery in The Bahamas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Pictured: The Category 5 hurricane hit the northern islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama in September 2019 and caused damage estimated at $3.4 billion. The majority of Islands of The Bahamas were spared while recovery efforts are underway on the islands affected. (UNDP Photo)

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Friday, January 17, 2020
Friday, January 17, 2020

Private companies, governments, regional and international institutions, and philanthropic individuals have pledged approximately $1.5 billion in financing and in-kind services to support recovery in The Bahamas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

The pledges were made Monday at the Hurricane Dorian Private Sector Pledging Conference organized by the government of The Bahamas, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


The government of The Bahamas has also announced the selection of UNDP to independently administer The Bahamas National Recovery and Reconstruction Fund (BNRRF).

In her presentation at the conference, UNDP resident representative Denise Antonio confirmed that UNDP has been assigned responsibility for the design, establishment and administration of the fund.

As the fund administrator, UNDP will work with government and donors to ensure that funds are deployed to the critical needs and priorities in Abaco and Grand Bahama in conformity to UNDP’s global standards for procurement and disbursement.

In the interest of openness and accountability, and consistent with the standards by which UNDP operates globally, UNDP, based on its standard verification and re-verification process for pledge events, will publish the names of each donor to the fund after deposits are made to the BNRRF.

UNDP, consistently ranked among the world’s most transparent multilateral organizations, and as number one for transparency for several consecutive years, will provide a web-based service portal providing real-time financial data from the BNRRF generated directly from its accounting system. All donors will be able to track information on contributions, transfers and expenditures.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the conference, United Nations assistant secretary general and UNDP regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Lopez-Calva said it provided an opportunity to not only mobilize funding for recovery but also to draw attention to the increasing vulnerability of high and middle-income Small Island Developing States.

Describing the pledging conference as an opportunity for constructive and proactive solidarity, Lopez-Calva underscored the full commitment of UNDP to the government and people of The Bahamas.

Lopez-Calva said: “We consider this pledge conference to be yet another piece of tangible evidence of our strengthened partnership. Prime Minister, you have our assurances of continued support for the long haul. We are here to stay, with the consent and support of your government and the Bahamian society.”

In his remarks, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis thanked UNDP and other partners in the business and NGO community for their support to rebuild The Bahamas.

He underscored the importance of this type of collaboration, noting that “Small countries such as The Bahamas do not possess the full suite of resources necessary to confront natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian.”

Minnis further stated: “The very survival of our homelands, our cultures and our people are at stake. Our existence as sovereign, independent nations is at stake from various types of natural disasters, which may compound each other.”

Monday’s all-day pledge conference, held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre in Nassau, brought together more than 300 persons who reaffirmed their support for the recovery effort.

The pledging conference also included a presentation on building The Bahamas back better, which provided initial insight into some of government’s recovery projects.

Chief executive officer of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Frank Comito has said that he is confident that tourism will continue to grow in the region. Watch a ZNS Network news report here.

ZNS Network news recently conducted an in-depth interview with Minister of Financial Services, Trade, Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson. Watch the full interview here.

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