Representatives of the Steering Committee in The Hague.
THE HAGUE–The Steering Committee of the St. Maarten Reconstruction, Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund welcomed an additional allocation of €7 million provided by the government of the Netherlands toward the St. Maarten New General Hospital project.
“This additional one-off contribution by the Netherlands to the Trust Fund will allow the new hospital in St. Maarten to be completed,” said Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitization Alexandra Van Huffelen in a World Bank press release on Tuesday. “As a result, there is no need to cut back on other reconstruction projects,” added van Huffelen. “This will keep the all-important reconstruction of St. Maarten on track.”
The Steering Committee said it recognised the Trust Fund’s challenging implementation outlook exacerbated by several global shocks impacting the programme, including inflationary pressures, labour shortages, and supply chain disruptions making construction materials, among other things, more expensive.
“For Caribbean countries, inherently vulnerable to external shocks due to their size and distance to markets, the disruptions in global supply chains and subsequent rise in inflation deeply impacted the cost of goods, food prices, and energy,” said Lilia Burunciuc, Director for Caribbean Countries, World Bank, and Steering Committee Chair. “We are prioritising investments that will have the highest impact and are putting in place better buffers to protect against global pressures,” she added.
The Steering Committee of the Trust Fund, financed by the Government of the Netherlands, administered by the World Bank, and implemented by the Government of St. Maarten, met recently in the Netherlands to review progress and discuss next steps.
The World Bank said the St. Maarten Reconstruction, Recovery and Resilience Trust Fund is advancing critical reforms needed to ensure long-term national sustainability and through its projects producing many positive outcomes. This includes enabling financial resilience with almost 2,000 people receiving support and skills training to enhance their income and building climate resilience with the majority of the population now protected from future impact of disasters. In addition, over 500 homes, roofs, and other critical facilities serving the public are repaired, 139 shipwrecks removed, and over 10.5km of the country’s shorelines cleaned. Residents and businesses located next to the landfill are being resettled, paving the way for better management of the country’s solid waste.
The programme is supporting St. Maarten in rebuilding better after Hurricane Irma. With effective work by the National Recovery Programme Bureau (NRPB), an implementing agency created by the Government of St. Maarten, the Trust Fund continues to make a positive impact in the lives of St. Maarteners.
Building local capacity, enabling local ownership, prioritising investments in society, economy, and improving the livelihoods of people and most vulnerable is central to the programme. The Trust Fund is leveraging change by providing much-needed capital to over 150 small businesses, resources to 26 local civil society organisations so community programmes can continue and expand, and by expanding healthcare services in St. Maarten, healthcare costs have declined as 92% of people seeking care no longer need overseas referrals.
“There has been progress made in many areas, as reflected in the World Bank’s Mid-term Review, especially through the different emergency projects, the larger infrastructure projects, and the Enterprise Support Project,” said St. Maarten Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. “The government and the people of St. Maarten hope to see a continuous commitment of all parties to realise progress in improving the quality of life on the island”, she added.
In four years, the Fund committed over US $360 million to 11 projects. The Steering Committee will reconvene in March 2023.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/7m-euros-in-additional-funds-allocated-to-hospital-project