The UK has just announced a $25 million investment to establish an affordable insurance scheme that will protect essential water and sanitation services in Caribbean countries at risk of natural disasters.
The Caribbean Water Utility Insurance Collective (CWUIC), which will be part of CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) has launched with UK support. It will provide rapid payouts to repair services damaged by disasters such as hurricanes and floods. Early action to restore access to safe drinking water can help prevent spread of diseases.
All Caribbean water and sanitation utilities are encouraged to join and will benefit from insurance at substantially below commercial prices and investments to build resilience to disasters.
UK grants will also enable utilities in Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guyana and Suriname to buy the insurance they need.
With the risk of extreme weather increasing due to climate change, disaster risk finance schemes such as CWUIC reduce costs for the most vulnerable countries and enable faster recovery.
The investment is part of the UK’s wider commitment to supporting the Caribbean in disaster resilience. The flagship £350 million UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund is also supporting the development of critical infrastructure including bridges, renewable energy, ports, water, and sea defences.
UK Minister for the Americas and Caribbean David Rutley: “The people of the Caribbean are on the frontline of natural disasters, which are increasing in frequency due to climate change.
“This first-of-its-kind scheme will enable Caribbean countries to maintain essential services in the face of storms and floods, while greatly reducing the financial burden on individual governments.
“The UK is determined to play its part in helping small island developing states build resilience to extreme weather events with access to fairer and reliable funding.”
This investment into CWUIC is part of the UK’s contribution to the G7/V20 Global Shield Against Climate Risk that was launched at COP27.
CWUIC will be co-funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Coca Cola Foundation.
It is hoped the scheme will soon expand to provide insurance cover for droughts and other hazards.