Honourable Reginald Austrie, Deputy Prime Minister
Honourable Peter Saint Jean, Minister for Education and Human Resources Development
Other Honourable Members of Cabinet
Your Excellency Lu Kun, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China
Your Excellency Juan Carlos Frometa de la Rosa, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba
Mrs. Gloria Joseph, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development
Mrs. Sylvanie Burton, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs
Mr. Lucien Blackmoore, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Lands
Other Permanent Secretaries
Mr. Ian King, Head of Office – UNDP Dominica Project Office
Other Representatives of International Organizations
Dr. Donald Peters, President of the Dominica State College
Students
Distinguished guests
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,


Good morning!

1. The Post Disaster Restoration Initiative funded by the People’s Republic of China through the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund with 3M USD had the aim to support the roofing restoration of priority buildings in the Commonwealth of Dominica after the impact of hurricane Maria, the massive category 5 hurricane that landed in the island on the 18th of September 2017, leaving behind a track of unprecedented destruction.

2. Following the passage of Maria, after the request for support from the Honorable Prime Minister to the United Nations Secretary General, UNDP was tasked to co-lead the Crisis Management Unit (CMU), that was set up in the aftermath of the disaster to coordinate the efforts of the humanitarian actors.

3. In the early stages of the disaster response, UNDP supported the GoCD in coordinating the realization of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and provided dedicated technical assistance to the Ministry of Housing in their endeavor to conduct a comprehensive Building Damage Assessment (BDA), that resulted in 29,431 buildings being assessed for damage by over 150 newly trained assessors. The information collected on tablets through this nation-wide exercise, was subsequently analyzed using business intelligence software and became the baseline information for reconstruction planning.

4. This valuable information also constituted the baseline for the prioritization of roofing restoration interventions to be performed under the Programme funded by ChinaAid. The use of vulnerability criteria that were agreed in the framework of the Housing Recovery Coordination Group, led by the Ministry of Housing and validated by the GoCD, were
instrumental in ensuring that the beneficiary selection process be implemented in a transparent and consistent fashion around the country and target those most in need.

5. Today, 1 year after the disaster, we know that the resources made available by China were instrumental for:
- The timely procurement of roofing material and tools
- The training, advocacy and public outreach on adequate installation of roofs
- The implementation of building codes and quality assurance of the
installation process

6. At the end of its 9-month implementation period, 5.115 persons benefitted directly from the Action, whereas it is estimated that indirect beneficiaries were over 8,000. The estimated total number of roofs renovated has reached 500 units and covered in excess of 350,000 square feet. It is to note that the initial targets were amended to include the recovery of highly complex roof structures, such as 6 buildings at the Dominica State College (DSC), at least 5 medical Centers, 4 buildings at the Princess Margaret Hospital and 3 schools, in addition to homes of vulnerable persons.

7. To achieve these results, the Project was successful in procuring materials and tools, but also in managing the logistics of same (arrival, handling, storage and distribution) in a time when these factors were critical due to the conditions of the island’s main logistics infrastructure facilities, such as the Port and warehouses.

8. But the key ingredient to achieve the results we are proudly celebrating today has been partnership creation and management. Installation of roofs was done by identifying partnership opportunities, developing and managing effective inter-institutional agreements with 9 organizations (public and private, national and international), such as the Ministry of Health Project Management Unit, Americares, IOM, IFRC, IsraAid, Caritas, Emergency Architects, All Hands And Hearts.

9. The re-roofing of the DSC, that is kindly hosting this closing ceremony today, is a particularly successful example of this unprecedented partnership management exercise. As a result of the South-South Cooperation effort put in place by the GoCD, the People’s Republic of China, the Government of Cuba and UNDP, the re-roofing of 6 buildings of the Dominica State College, for an estimated roof coverage of about 65,000 square feet, was completed thanks to a delegation of 80 experienced Cuban builders - including 4 engineers.

10. In total, it is estimated that the overall financial value of the partnerships managed by the Project in terms of roof installation is well above USD 1,000,000.

11. This innovative approach, unique in the Region, was complemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning by the design and implementation of an engineering Quality Assurance process, through our partner Engineers Without Borders, that permitted to monitor the adherence of roof installation with the housing standards. As a result, more than 250 on-site documented technical spot checks were realized to ensure the highest technical quality of roofs.

12. Finally, a web-based interactive map was also produced where all the houses that have been re-roofed under the GoCD-China partnership are displayed together with relevant metadata available, including pictures as well as all the data collected through the BDA.

13. In addition to the physical reroofing of buildings, though, the Project also worked to ensure the inclusion of the Building Back Better standards and long-term resilience into the wider reconstruction and development process. To this end, UNDP forged a fruitful partnership with EWB that managed to provide the Government, the international community and the people of Dominica with valuable and extensive expertise in a wide range of engineering fields from the early stages of the emergency relief phase. In particular, the project has been fundamental in undergoing, with the Ministry of Planning, the full and comprehensive revision of the Dominica Housing Standards and the revision of the associated Housing Standards Guidelines that currently are recognized and are being used by public and private stakeholders, as well as the general population, as the reference document for housing in Dominica. The guidelines, that were downloadable on major social medias as well as local news web pages, are currently available online at the website of the Ministry of Planning.

14. A comprehensive communications strategy was also designed to ensure the highest level of visibility and exposure. A number of communications means were used to deliver messages to the people of Dominica, such as flyers, posters, radio channels, national news websites and social media. For example, a banner was pinned in the local news website Dominica
News Online where information on the Project could be easily accessible to Dominicans.

15. From 25th of June to 2nd of August 2018 (one and a half month) that page
was accessed 1,481,455 times.

16. Additionally, street signs, t-shirts, caps, banners, posters were produced to ensure the highest visibility to the partnership between the Govt. of China, the GoCD and UNDP. Finally, as part of this strategy, weekly Fast Facts briefs were produced with the main progress and news from the field.

17. In partnership with the Ministry of Planning and EWB and as part of the extensive outreach program implemented by the Project, 7 model roofs were also developed to illustrate resilient construction to the wider public.

18. UNDP also ensured that the Project be provided international exposure, through the official corporative social media channels, as well as through the presentation of the results achieved by the Project in other Caribbean islands, such as Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Sint Maarten, Saint Lucia, Curacao.

Thank you

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