Roseau: Dominica’s Financial Secretary, on June 23, had a talk with the dignitaries of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss the journey of Dominica towards becoming the world’s first climate-resilient country.
Denise Edwards, Financial Secretary of the Commonwealth of Dominica, represented the nature isle of the Caribbean during the discussions with the European Member of Parliament (MEP) – Stéphane Bijoux, and the new MEP from Martinique Max Orville.
Stéphane Bijoux, a Member of the European Parliament, praised the efforts of Dominica to become a climate-resilient country and to encourage eco-tourism. He also assured support for the nation as it forges ahead with a number of initiatives that will enable it to realise this goal and establish resilient infrastructure to resist natural disasters.
Apart from this, Bijoux asserted, “Climate Breakdown is a severe threat that affects everybody regardless of creed or stature – sadly, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Dominica are bearing the brunt of catastrophic weather patterns. It is our responsibility to partner with developing countries as solidarity is needed in the fight against climate change.”
Dominica has garnered appreciation for promoting as well as encouraging sustainable tourism and preserving its natural assets. The country has been at the frontline of the war against natural disasters, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and cyclones. Additionally, Bijoux mentioned that the country is recovering very well from the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dominica has been shattered by various hurricanes and tropical storms, and the country has been building back better after 90 percent of its infrastructure was devastated by Tropical Storm Erika (2015) and Hurricane Maria (2017).
The EU provided €8.9 million in financial assistance under the European Development Fund (EDF) to Dominica at the time Tropical Storm Erika hit the country in 2015. In addition to that, the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department also provided €250,000 in emergency humanitarian aid to Dominica following the severe destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.
Further, Dominica has also signed the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which emphasises development cooperation.
The island nation of Dominica is making the right strides in its quest to become a climate-resilient nation. The construction of its geothermal plant is almost complete.
The plant will enable the country to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
In 1992 the United Nations made an urgent call to all countries to tackle climate change amongst other issues and, in 2015 the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed.
Dominica is already on its way to achieving six of the 17 SDGs for its nation, these include No Poverty; Good Health and Wellbeing; Affordable and Clean Energy; Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Climate Action.
As hurricanes become more frequent and more intense, Dominica and other small islands are seeking new opportunities which lie in decarbonisation and renewable energy technologies to aid more sustainable forms of tourism and digitisation of the economy.
The country, which can be counted among the few nations that can be termed “carbon neutral” is enhancing its resilience agenda by utilising resources on the island to generate energy.
The geothermal plant will ensure that the country is powered by renewable energy, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions while simultaneously creating jobs.
Along with the geothermal plant, the island is ensuring that all infrastructure on the island is developed with sustainability and resilience in mind – all buildings from homes to hospitals, are built to withstand weather disasters.
Dominica’s tourism sector is also witnessing a green revitalisation, thanks to the introduction and construction of boutique environmentally sensitive villas and resorts.
As the country moves towards complete climate resilience, visitors can be confident that their trip helps preserve and boost the environment. Those who fall in love with the country can be pleased to know that they can make it their ideal second home.