The fight against climate change and climate resilience must incorporate a deep understanding of the economic inequities that exist in the world to finance countries' resilience strategies. Wealth and poverty have traditionally been seen as exclusively economic issues, discounting the social responsibility of exploitative practices that make it challenging for developing countries to progress. The countries that have accumulated wealth over the past few centuries have merely transferred natural and human resources from one part of the world — the developing world — to the developed world. Dominica's fight for climate resilience must be placed in the context of the developed world, restoring some of the inequitable distribution of exploitation of this island's natural resources to fund its industrial revolution. Financing climate resilience for all developing countries is far more than reaching into their pocketbooks to scramble for pennies — but places the responsibility on the main actors who caused the climate crisis also to be the ones to finance the resilience and adaptation. The inequitable distribution of the burden of the climate crisis is the very reason for the importance of leveraging funding from a multitude of international organizations, like the World Bank, UNDP, IMF, etc., to be the ones to finance resilience-based development projects.
Bubble Beach shot by Daniella Rolle
The World Bank
The World Bank is one of the most crucial funding sources for the region including Dominica. The World Bank finances low-interest loans or grants to countries. As early as 2003, the bank began, to provide funding for the Caribbean to build regional capacity to collect and analyze data, expand knowledge on climate change impacts, and build in-country capacity to address adaptation strategies . Throughout the past two decades, the World Bank has helped to provide some funding to improve Dominica's climate resilience.
One of the critical areas the World Bank targets to improve through programs is strengthening the institutional framework to enhance national fiscal capacity to respond to disasters and climate-related risks. Improving fiscal capacity looks like mobilizing various complementary fiscal instruments to respond to disasters and improve national resilience. Investing in resilient infrastructure incorporates improving hazard data collection and monitoring systems, allowing for the ability to analyze the data to reduce vulnerabilities.
Dominica Signs Agreement with the World Bank for Construction of the the Geothermal Energy Plant . News article from Kairi FM
Furthermore, one of the most significant projects in Dominica that the World Bank has been funding is geothermal energy. The World Bank wishes to "enable the integration of greater geothermal capacity in Dominica" (World Bank). The Dominica Geothermal Development Company (DGDC) implemented the project with USD 27 million from the World Bank. By increasing the share of the renewable energy mix, the country's greenhouse gas emissions will decrease and possess the potential to export to neighboring islands.
After Hurricane Maria, the World Bank provided funding for the rehabilitation of the economy and to strategically build more resilient sectors. One of the vital relief programs was the Housing Recovery Project which contributed to the recovery of housing for households affected by the hurricane and to improve the resilient building practices in the housing sector. Another essential program was the Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project. The project focused on restoring the cropping, livestock, and fisheries systems. The World Bank provided additional financing for the project in 2020 to restore agricultural livelihoods, enhance climate resilience in the agricultural sector, and provide a response in the event of a crisis or emergency. The World Bank, through the Leveraging Eco-Tourism for Biodiversity Protection project, provided funding to improve the management of Dominica's three national parks by bolstering national and local capacities for protected area monitoring and planning. The funding from the program went toward investments, technical assistance, and increasing capabilities and resources for trail management. Additionally, the bank provided financing to build more tech jobs in the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project. This will better equip individuals for the positions and the economy of the future through training opportunities. For the tech sector to develop, there must be greater attention towards cybersecurity to build trust in digital infrastructure.
During Covid-19, the World Bank provided some assistance to Dominica to minimize the economic impact of the global pandemic. The pillars of their response and recovery program focused on protecting livelihoods, jobs, and fiscal reforms.
Despite all the assistance from the World Bank, one of the chronic issues seen on the island is that it is simply not enough to sustain these initiatives. Many developing countries worldwide need relief funding, making funds very competitive. Small nations have a significant disadvantage and typically receive funds right after a catastrophic natural disaster like Hurricane Maria. Many World Bank funded projects were never sustained when financing from the bank stopped, and the initiatives never reached their full capabilities. Climate resilience is not just about building back the country. Many Dominicans want to build a stronger Dominica that is capable of absorbing shocks and stresses. Building a more resilient country requires plans to be put in place to continue financing iniatives after funding from the World Bank for programs is finished.
More information on World Bank Projects in Dominica can be found here.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
The UNDP launched a project office in Dominica in 2017 to assist the government with “immediate response, recovery, and reconstruction” (UNDP) post-Maria. Since 2017, the UNDP has initiated a myriad of projects that encompass rebuilding Dominica.
One of the first projects rolled out after Maria was the Building Damage Assessment (BDA) project. The BDA worked to evaluate the state of 29,431 structures throughout the island and classify the level of damage. After Maria, numerous projects involved providing Dominica with technical assistance and project design and implementation strategies that contributed to Dominica’s rehabilitation process.
Image taken from the UNDP
Over the next five years, the UNDP would commence projects that centered on increasing Dominica’s capacity to access financing for climate change and develop more inclusive planning for disaster preparedness. Inclusive planning includes the EnGenDER project that worked to ensure that climate change and post-disaster recovery efforts are more attentive to gender inequalities. Inclusive planning also encompasses drawing particular attention to the Kalinago community. The UNDP worked with the government to strengthen and boost the capacity for economic development in the Kalinago territory. Growing sustainable agricultural products and implementing community reforestation programs to protect critical water catchment areas were priorities. Additionally, the UNDP assisted the Kalinago community in developing a tourism strategy and brand to generate new income streams.
Drive to Soufriere shot by Daniella Rolle
The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
The Green Climate Fund is an element of the Paris Agreement geared to help developing countries "raise and realize their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) towards low-emissions, climate-resilient pathways" (GCF). The GCF focuses on four main areas:
energy and industry
human security, livelihoods, and well-being
land-use, forests, and ecosystems
In total, they have four projects that involve Dominica in which Dominica receives USD 26.7 million. GCF’s projects are geared for the Eastern Caribbean region and distributed amongst five other countries. Two of the projects for the region fall under the Sub-national Climate Fund Global (SnCF Global) which is “designed to overcome project-level barriers and limitations in attracting private investment that leads to chronic underfunding of bankable mitigation and adaptation projects” (GCF). The third project provides small grants for community organizations in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, and Grenada together with revolving loans for households and businesses to improve the resilience of infrastructure to withstand Category 5 hurricanes. The last project concerns financing commercial geothermal energy projects in five countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The main barriers to geothermal energy development are the limited financial, technical, and institutional capacities.
Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF)
One organization that funds projects in Dominica is the CDB through the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Program. Basic needs are essential public services that support community development rather than addressing individual needs. Matthew Carrette, the project manager of the BNTF office in Dominica, described the role BNTF plays in Dominica's development in an interview. The BNTF began in 1979 after the devastating Hurricane David. The CDB recognized the need for funding for developing countries by providing services and infrastructure that help communities promote development amongst themselves and reduce poverty. BNTF is considered CDB’s flagship poverty reduction program.
In its inception, mainly the central government identified community needs. Projects focused on restoration of infrastructure following the devastation by Hurricane David. As the program evolved, CDB recognized the need for more community empowerment to foster greater participation and ownership. This new participatory approach saw a paradigm shift from the top-down to bottom-up. This resulted in a more community demand-driven approach to project identification and implementation. Under the status quo, communities were not part of projects' building and design process and received an asset they must maintain. In this participatory approach, communities are a part of each step of the project cycle – from conceptualization to handing over, thereby accepting greater responsibility for operation and maintenance.
Matthew Carrette said that communities have been very involved in the project development process. Some of them calling the office very frequently displaying a sign of a healthy relationship between the BNTF and community members. The BNTF also highly encourages contractors to hire local persons from villages and nearby communities to help keep the money circulating in local communities through short-term employment. The BNTF is indeed embodying the new drive towards community-based development.
Despite the BNTF's considerable efforts, insufficient funding is one of its most significant limitations. The BNTF Program provides funding in nine (9) member countries in the region. Larger countries such as Jamaica and Guyana usually receive the biggest proportion of the funding. This financial constraint puts severe limitations on the BNTF to enact the change they wish to make in communities in Dominica. The money received in Dominica is insufficient to meet all the community requests. Thus, the BNTF must shortlist many projects to work within the available budget. There is a funding ceiling of USD 700,000 for projects in BNTF, leaving larger projects to the responsibility of the central government. However, the CDB is in full support of BNTF establishing partnerships with other regional and international organizations to help fund BNTF projects.