Speech by the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Andrew Holness Presentation at the High-Level Event – Launch of Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (CDRI)


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to commend and congratulate the co-convenors of this timely initiative and to thank Prime Minister Modi in particular for his invitation.  I well recall the meeting between India and CARICOM leaders on the margins of the UNGA a few years ago when PM Modi listened to our developmental concerns and pledged his support. In Jamaica, our resilience-building efforts will shortly be boosted by a US$1 million grant from India to support the construction of facilities for sustainable agriculture.

The initiative being launched today rightly focuses attention on SIDS, as we are on the frontline of this Climate Crisis. As we all know, a single disaster can derail the entire budget of a small island and set its economy back by years, reducing fiscal space to finance climate adaptation and resilience efforts.

We, therefore, welcome this much needed initiative that reflects our own thinking around the pivotal role played by infrastructure in building resilience.  In fact, the Government of Jamaica is currently co-hosting the 7th UN Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean under the theme Building Resilient Economies.

Jamaica believes in innovation.  As part of our national strategy and with development partners and the private sector, Jamaica will become the first country in the world to develop a predictive climate risk assessment planning tool for major infrastructure investments.

Let me also share one transformational infrastructure project for which we are seeking support.

We have conceptualised a pumped hydroelectric storage project utilising our mountainous topography and abundant sunlight to solve our perennial problem of droughts while also generating hydroelectric power. This would make clean sustainable use of Jamaica’s high concentration of fresh water resources in the north, to serve the large population centres and agricultural lands in the south.

In closing, I thank the co-convenors for their leadership in building this critical and practical coalition to advance the development of climate-resilient infrastructure. This is at the heart of building economic resilience in SIDS.

Thank you.