SINT MAARTEN/WASHINGTON DC - The Emergency Debris Management Project (EDMP) has received US $60 million in additional funding apportioned by the World Bank-managed Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The funds cover a financing gap under the parent project for improving debris management in communities and at the landfill and strengthening the institutional capacity of government to execute technical activities.
These activities are part of Sint Maarten’s broader and concerted efforts to build the foundation for an environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and responsibly managed solid waste system. These work hand in hand with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and have been implemented within the context of the National Development Vision - document drafted to ensure the forward movement of Sint Maarten.
The grant funding - provided by the Government of the Netherlands, administered by the World Bank as the Trustee, and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau on behalf of the Sint Maarten Government - will further support the government’s goal of building a more resilient country. Through strategic investments, the parent project has already contributed to the reduction of open landfill fires which, for years, had posed health, safety and environmental risks. These efforts seek to further protect Sint Maarten’s natural environment and aesthetics, support economic recovery, reduce air pollution, and improve living conditions.
Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Director for Caribbean Countries remarked after the signing, “A long-term solution to waste management, such as is the goal of the Emergency Debris Management Project, is central to fostering economic growth through the competitiveness and sustainability of Sint Maarten’s tourism sector.”
The project is Sint Maarten’s response to calls for better local waste management. It supports institutional, legal, and financial waste management reforms to realize the long-term sustainability of the solid waste management sector. The Government of Sint Maarten remains committed to enacting these crucial reforms and has established an inter-ministerial working group mandated to deliver plans for creating and financing a Solid Waste Authority.
Despite initial implementation delays, EDMP – approved in December 2018 for US $25 million – has already made several achievements. The project has improved landfill operations by purchasing heavy equipment and alternative daily cover materials; it also disposed of an estimated 200,000 million cubic yards of hurricane-related debris, including subsequent demolition and reconstruction activities. Most notable was the safe removal of 139 shipwrecks from Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond and over 10 kilometers of shoreline cleaned.
Additionally, more than 200 persons living around the landfill on Pond Island are being resettled under the project. For generations Sint Maarten has dealt with waste removal without proper foresight. Through the actions of this project, long-lasting sustainability for future generations and governments will be secured.
The additional funding will facilitate the final phases of the resettlement and support a community engagement plan, which will ensure the establishment of citizens’ engagement activities, including a complaints system and a public awareness campaign. These engagement plans - anchored to efforts already being taken by local ministries - will provide additional support for non-governmental organizations which promote sustainability.
“This additional financing will continue the process of helping Sint Maarten revamp our waste management system. It builds on the foundation that the Government of Sint Maarten and the Trust Fund has established and will propel us forward in successfully creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner of waste processing and disposal, which will benefit all sectors of our economy and society,” said Silveria Jacobs, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten.