A growing consensus that the Caribbean region impacted by
hurricanes Irma and Maria has to rebuild differently this time was echoed by
former President Bill Clinton at the launch of his Clinton Global Initiative
(CGI) Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery at the University of Miami on
The initiative is aimed at helping the U.S. territories of
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with other islands such as
Dominica and Barbuda, obtain long-term investments to aid in their storm
recovery, according to the Miami Herald.
The CGI event, attended by several Caribbean leaders and
more than 350 representatives from government, the private sector, nonprofits
and experts in specific fields, explored partnerships to "build back
better a region devastated by hurricanes last year," according to Clinton.
"The Caribbean region has many treasures, yet it's one
of the most vulnerable region in terms of climate change. This is worth
saving," Clinton said.
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urged the audience
to embrace climate change and to help invest in the rebuilding of resilient
"We have a long way to go because we are going to build
back," Skerrit said.
More than 5,000 new homes were needed on Dominica after
Kenneth Mapp, governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, pointed
out the beaches in the territory are being eroded. "I live climate change,"
San Juan's mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz called for a "power
"Electricity is the great equalizer," she said,
and called for new technology to create micro-energy grids to avoid a repeat of
Several commitments were announced during the day-long
event, including the Climate Resilience Agency of Dominica (CREAD) to fund,
design and coordinate climate-resilient projects to make Dominica the first
climate resilient nation in the world; the American Federation of Teachers,
Airlink and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to conduct health
screenings for schoolchildren in the USVI, and Americares to help address
mental health challenges in Puerto Rico over the next 18 months.