‘Building back better’: a resilient Caribbean

United Kingdom
Overseas Development Institute
Overseas Development Institute, 203 Blackfriars Road


‘Our devastation is so complete that our recovery has to be total’. This was Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s response after Hurricane Maria struck Dominica in September 2017. Affected nations across the Caribbean hit by Category 5 Hurricanes Maria and Irma were likened to ‘warzones’ as communities were left decimated.

Hurricanes are nothing new in the Caribbean: every year, they cause, on average, $835 million in losses. And our changing climate means we are likely to see more Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the future. But while disasters are a common feature of the region's past, present and future, action for long-term resilience is needed now to avoid further human suffering, environmental degradation and the reversal of hard-fought development gains.

‘Building back better’ must be more than just a slogan. It requires action that combines short-term imperatives as well as long-term resilience needs.

In January, ODI convenes decision-makers and the world's leading experts on recovery and reconstruction in the Caribbean to discuss the policies needed at the national, regional and international level to avoid future losses. A high-level panel sets out their priorities for making 'building back better' a reality. 

Contributing Chair

  • James Cameron @Jamesogradycam - Chair of the Board, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


  • Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC @PScotlandCSG - Secretary General, Commonwealth
  • Hon Roosevelt Skerrit @SkerritR - Prime Minister, Commonwealth of Dominica
  • Ronald Jackson @RHughJackson - Executive Director, Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
  • John Twigg @johntwigg57 - Principal Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
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