The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has expanded the scope of an ongoing road transportation project to include Dominica, given the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The hurricane had a major impact on transportation infrastructure in the Eastern Caribbean country, including damage to bridges and culverts from water-borne debris, blockage of drainage structures, landslides and the erosion of unpaved roads.
The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) to provide road infrastructure that is resilient to natural hazards and climate change impacts. It consists of a study on approaches for mainstreaming climate resilience into the road transport sector in BMCs, as well as the piloting of these approaches in three countries — Guyana, Saint Lucia, and now Dominica.
“Hurricane Maria caused damage and losses of over US$200 million to the road transport sector in Dominica. This resulted in the loss of access to agricultural lands, local markets and ports, and the linkages needed for other critical social and economic activities,” said O’Reilly Lewis, Division Chief, Economic Infrastructure Division, CDB.
He added: “The extent of damage to road infrastructure highlighted the need to increase the resilience of the road network to the hazards that were experienced — an issue that this project will seek to address.”
Through the project, CDB’s BMCs will benefit from a toolkit developed to assist governments to make better decisions on investments in their road networks to improve its resilience to climate-related events. Road sector representatives will also be trained as trainers in the application of the toolkit.
The “Planning for the Integration of Climate Resilience in the Road Transport Sector in CDB BMCs” project commenced in March 2017, and is expected to be completed in March 2019. A regional road transport sector workshop was held at CDB’s Headquarters in July 2017, where current issues in the sector were discussed and the project was introduced to stakeholders, along with the ongoing work to revise CDB’s Transport Sector Policy and Strategy. Additional field work was done in Guyana and Saint Lucia in March and April this year.
The project is being implemented under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) Programme.
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, CDB and the European Union agreed that 500,000 Euros would be provided to support recovery efforts in affected BMCs.
The project aligns with CDB’s corporate priorities of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure, and promoting environmental sustainability.