Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, 22 February, 2010 – The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk
Insurance Facility (CCRIF) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and
the Caribbean (UNECLAC) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalising a
partnership to facilitate capacity building and to develop strategies for mitigating the physical and
socio-economic impacts of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, on countries in the
The signing will take place on Tuesday, 23 February 2010 at the ECLAC Subregional Headquarters
for the Caribbean in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad with Mr. Neil Pierre, Director of UNECLAC and Mr.
Milo Pearson, Chairman of CCRIF signing on behalf of the two organisations.
CCRIF is the world’s first and only multi-national catastrophe risk fund utilising parametric
insurance, giving Caribbean Governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and
hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. UNECLAC provides policy advice for
disaster risk reduction within the region and conducts economic and social assessment studies on
the impact of natural disasters on Caribbean countries.
The memorandum of understanding sets forth a framework for a collaborative alliance between
CCRIF and UNECLAC to assist the governments of Caribbean States to adopt policies on disaster
risk reduction and mitigation that minimise the socio-economic, physical and environmental
damage caused by natural disasters. This is an important step where, in small counties and small
economies like ours, a single-event catastrophe such as a hurricane or earthquake can have a
devastating effect both on the physical infrastructure and the socio-economic fabric of the country.
The small size of the economies of the region, combined with existing physical vulnerabilities often
result in an amplification effect of the impact of natural hazards. For example, damages from
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 were almost 200% of annual GDP in each of two Caribbean islands,
Grenada and the Cayman Islands, and were significant in Jamaica.
This MOU will enable the countries of the region to benefit from:
- the development and enhancement of a knowledge base for key natural hazard risks;
- regional studies concerning the economics of climate change and the impact of natural disasters on particular sectors such as tourism;
- decision-making tools which might be developed by CCRIF and/or ECLAC to assist in mitigating the economic impacts of natural catastrophes; and
- climate change adaptation strategies to facilitate decision making across the region.
UNECLAC has the overall purpose of promoting sustainable economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean through interactive cooperation with member States, by undertaking a comprehensive analysis of the development process and providing the relevant operational services. To achieve these objectives, ECLAC formulates, evaluates and follows-up on public policies and uses its convening power to generate multilateral dialogue, knowledge sharing and networking at the regional level, and to promote intra-regional and inter-regional cooperation.
CCRIF is a risk pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short term liquidity when a policy is triggered. It is the world’s first and, to date, only regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF represents a paradigm shift in the way governments treat risk, with Caribbean governments leading the way in pre-disaster planning.