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Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Facility launches Ivan+20 in the Cayman Islands

Inspiration 04 Apr, 2024 Follow News

The CCRIF Board and CEO with Premier Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly at the launch of the Ivan+20 Initiative in Grand Cayman. Back row L-R: Mr. Timothy Antoine (Chairman), Mrs. Saundra Bailey (Deputy Chairperson), Ms. Deniece Yarde, Mr. Michael Gayle, and Mrs. Mariame McIntosh-Robinson (Board Members

CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) announced its “Ivan+20” campaign observing the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Ivan with the official regional launch event at the Marriott Grand Cayman Resort on Wednesday, 13 March.

Attended by Premier and Minister for Finance & Economic Development Hon. Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, the launch event was streamed live throughout the region and included remarks by representatives of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), The University of the West Indies, the Cayman Islands Government and CCRIF.

This year marks 20 years since Hurricane Ivan devastated the Cayman Islands and Grenada, resulting in economic losses which totalled close to 200% of the annual GDP of these two countries. Another seven countries in the Caribbean were also severely impacted, with regional losses for the event totalling over US$6 billion.

The Cayman Islands was chosen as the site for the Ivan+20 launch due to being one of countries most badly impacted by the storm with two deaths and $3.4 billion in damages but also for its remarkable resilience and recovery over the past two decades.

CCRIF Chairman Timothy Antoine said, “I want to start by really acknowledging and commending the Cayman Islands, for your demonstrated resilience 20 years after Hurricane Ivan. Let us put our hands together for the Cayman Islands.”

He continued, “I like to think of resilience as our capacity to withstand, absorb shocks and bounce forward, not back, forward. When you look around the Cayman Islands, there is no doubt that you have done just that. And when you speak of resilience it is not just climate resilience, capacity, but also fiscal resilience. That is important especially in a region that is highly indebted and where fiscal space remains a challenge even when we try to close the financial protection gap with respect to our vulnerabilities to natural disasters.”

Senior Assistant Financial Secretary Michael Nixon outlined the steps taken by the Cayman Islands over the past 20 years to both recover from Ivan and increase resilience to withstand future natural disasters.

He said, “The lessons learned from Hurricane Ivan were many and since 2004 the Government has made significant changes and investments to our governance and operational systems and invested in infrastructure to improve the country’s overall resilience to natural disasters.”

Mr. Nixon highlighted four main pillars of the Islands’ improved resilience measures: improved disaster management with the formation of Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI); improved national building standards through the implementation of stricter building codes and strengthened physical planning compliance and oversight; the provision of a more resilient public infrastructure from new road corridors to better designed public buildings and new hurricane shelters; and strengthened financial governance through prudent management of Government finances emphasising building financial resiliency by maintaining positive cashflows, minimising the debt burden and building cash reserves.

He also noted the vital importance of CCRIF to the Cayman Islands and the region. He said, “We have been a partner with CCRIF from its very creation and think that they have done an exemplary job at uniting the region to implement solutions for disaster risk financing by bringing to countries innovative products that fit the need and that support alleviating some of the financial risks associated with disasters. The Cayman Islands are honoured today to join CCRIF at the launch of the Ivan+20 initiative.”

Ivan+20 will include activities around the campaign’s theme of “Remembering the Past,

Reflecting on the Present, and Visioning for the Future: Resilience, Adaptation, and

Sustainability in Caribbean SIDS.”

CCRIF CEO Isaac Anthony said, “We are not here to celebrate Ivan, we are here to celebrate the collective action and the collective that came out of Ivan.” 

He continued, “This whole event is about focusing on remembering the past, reflecting on the present, and visioning for the future, a future Caribbean that is resilient, sustainable and a best practice example for other islands and coastal states globally. While Ivan+20 may be conceptualised by CCRIF, we welcome the partnership and engagement of several regional organizations in taking this initiative forward, during the course of the year. We would also like to recognise and thank CDEMA and the OECS Commission as well as the University of the West Indies, and the Caribbean Meteorological Organization among others for coming on board.”

In the Cayman Islands and Grenada, CCRIF will provide two “Ivan” Scholarships at the undergraduate level and two scholarships at the postgraduate level. These grants are in addition to the scholarships that CCRIF provides annually to Caribbean nationals.

CCRIF-UWI Undergraduate Scholarships valued up to US$8,000 are available to students entering their second of three years in fields of study related to disaster risk management at The University of the West Indies.

CCRIF Postgraduate Scholarships offer financial assistance valued up to US$11,000 with postgraduate studies in fields related to disaster risk management at several Caribbean universities.

Time Capsule events are also planned for Grenada and the Cayman Islands, whereby stakeholders including government ministries and agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, and academia are invited to place items/documents/papers that paint their picture of the period before or during Hurricane Ivan, the present, and their hope for the future.

The time capsules will be designed to be opened at Ivan + 40 when each of these stakeholders would assemble once again to reflect on whether their visions have been advanced and achieved.

The year-long series of events is envisioned to allow the region to reflect on the impacts of Hurricane Ivan, share and discuss the lessons learned, undertake a diagnostic of the present, and develop a vision for a sustainable and resilient future by 2050.

CCRIF, domiciled in the Cayman Islands, was formed in 2007 as the world’s first multi-country, multi-peril risk pool for natural disasters based on parametric insurance. It was created as a response to the challenges faced by Caribbean nations in accessing affordable catastrophe risk insurance.

Established with the support of the World Bank, the European Union, and other partners, CCRIF operates as a regional catastrophe fund for countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

CCRIF was formed as a result of Hurricane Ivan, and the experiences and lessons learned from Ivan and other natural disasters in the Caribbean played a significant role in its establishment.

 Mr. Anthony said, “The impacts of Hurricane Ivan brought into sharp focus the importance of comprehensive disaster risk management, and at the political level the need for the establishment of a disaster risk financing mechanism that would pre-finance disaster risks and allow governments to access liquidity quickly following a natural disaster.”

For more information about CCRIF SPC and the Ivan+20 campaign, visit  www.ccrif.org

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