Dr. Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, says the government is working to reduce Jamaica’s climate vulnerability by instituting a “suite of financial instruments that can pay out in the event of a natural disaster.”
He noted that Jamaica became the first small country globally to independently sponsor a catastrophe bond that provides fiscal resources to respond to catastrophic events.
The Minister was speaking during the virtual discussion forum, “Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks,” hosted by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, on Thursday, June 22, according to Jamaica Information Services (JIS).
Dr. Clarke explained that the bond is complemented by other products, namely the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Credit Contingent Claim, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) and a Natural Disaster Fund for which work is still in progress.
“That suite provides us with some degree of resilience building to the possibility of climate shocks. We have to work on increasing our resilience to energy commodities. That’s still a work in progress. We import about U.S $2 billion worth of energy commodities per year, about 11% of GDP (gross domestic product), which is far too much,” Dr. Clarke said.
Noting that dependency on imports can potentially undermine Jamaica’s economy in the event of price spikes, Dr. Clarke said the government is “working on a transition to renewable energy to reduce that structural vulnerability”.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister maintains that Jamaica’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic speaks volumes about the country’s resilience.