Overview Dominica, officially the Commonwealth of Dominica is a 290-square-mile Eastern Caribbean island, with a population of 71,941. The country which gained Independence in 1978 is known as the ‘Nature Isle of the Caribbean’ and is lush with rivers and rainforests, and home to an expansive array of flora and fauna.
In 2017, after a long history of being ravaged by hurricanes, the full category-five force of Hurricane Maria hit Dominica, decimating its physical and economic infrastructure. However, with the aid of many nations, the people of Dominica are reconstructing their country and building it back better. Dominica is on its way to becoming the first climate-resilient nation of the world.
Main Initiatives UNDP’s current work in Dominica includes a focus on recovery, resilience and sustainability. Strengthening national recovery frameworks, disaster preparedness and climate and community resilience is a part of that work, as is empowering women to take a more proactive role in emergencies.
Under the projects Improving Recovery Planning & Capacities for Resilience in the Caribbean and Development of Climate Resilience & Recovery Plan, UNDP along with the Dominican Office of Disaster Management advanced the creation of a Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan which bolsters national systems for preparedness and ensures the integration of gender equality. UNDP also provides implementation support to the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD).
Dominica’s goal of becoming the world’s first climate resilient nation is an ambitious one, but through projects and programmes, UNDP is providing the support needed to accelerate and achieve this goal. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness Support project was created to enhance the capacity of the country to access climate change funding and financing available from the GCF. Meanwhile the Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) project is being implemented to ensure that climate change and post-disaster recovery actions are better informed by an analysis of gender inequalities, and to guarantee that inequalities are alleviated rather than exacerbated. Climate resilience and energy efficiency work in tandem therefore the Low Carbon Development Path (LCDP) project was developed with the aim of removing policy, technical and financial barriers to the use of energy-efficient applications and under the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership, Dominicans were able to access alternative low-emission and climate-resilient technologies and strengthen their knowledge networks to further develop these technologies.
Restoration efforts in Dominica are conducted using UNDP’s “build back better’ approach to ensure resilience against future shocks. Employing this approach UNDP supported the resilient rehabilitation of two buildings at the Salisbury Educational Facility which were severely damaged by Hurricane Maria. Resilient reconstruction of this facility will accelerate the return of essential schooling for students and provide a safe haven in the event of future disasters. Recovery efforts, also included the provision of technical expertise in debris/waste management, the implementation of a short-term emergency employment programme that benefited 400 persons (in 18 communities), the re-roofing of 480 buildings (472 homes, 3 schools and 5 medical centres), and the successful implementation of a Building Damage Assessment (BDA) to evaluate the state of 29,431 structures throughout Dominica.
The need to improve post-disaster communication infrastructure is also critical given the physical isolation and communications' disruption experienced by villages and communities after Hurricane Maria. With support from national and international partners and input from three communities, UNDP is implementing an innovative community wi-fi network to provide communities with reliable access to emergency communications’ systems.
Sustainable sectoral development is necessary to build resilience against shocks. The agriculture sector is Dominica’s primary industry; however it is constantly threatened by reoccurring disasters. The Strengthening Disaster Management Capacity of Women in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and Commonwealth of Dominica aims to scale up the resilience of small farmers and female farmer groups by enhancing risk-informed decision making and community support. Similarly, the Supporting Sustainable Ecosystems initiative provides effective integrated landscape management of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, establishing a buffer zone to reduce threats to biodiversity and ecological functioning.
The development of the blue tourism sector is essential to Dominica’s sustainable economic growth. Through the donation of vital equipment, UNDP is supporting the livelihoods and economic recovery of the Portsmouth Association of Yachting Services (PAYS). This will directly and indirectly benefit over 100 persons by connecting farmers, fishers, laundry services, restaurants, retailers, tour guides, tour operators, taxi operators and others within the yachting and tourism sector.
Currently, UNDP is supporting the COVID-19 emergency response in Dominica, partnering with the Government in the production of an Economic and Human Development Impact Assessment, with the collaboration of UNICEF and UN Women. The support package of UNDP will include assistance to SMEs who wish to reinvent themselves through online, digital and HomeSafe delivery business lines.
Finally, UNDP is assisting with the improvement of Dominica’s fiscal outlook. In collaboration with the University of the West Indies, UNDP is supporting the government in an ongoing review process. This includes a review and validation of the recommendations for expenditure reduction made by International Financial Institutions and the provision of additional feedback to assist with decision-making to inform the three-year budget process.
For more information on Dominica, please view the Human Development Report Briefing Note for this country.
Did you know?
Dominica has 365 rivers – a river for each day of the year!
To contact us, you can write to the Dominica Head of Office of UNDP, Luis Francisco Thais Santa Cruz at email@example.com