Agreement for Trust Fund St. Maarten signed

WASHINGTON--Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Affairs Raymond Knops today, Monday signed an agreement with World Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva in the presence of St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Marlin-Romeo.
The signing, which took place at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC, will facilitate the channelling of 470 million euros (about US$ 580 million) through a Trust Fund managed by the World Bank to help St. Maarten build back better and increase resilience following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
“I am delighted to team up with the World Bank, which has a proven track record in the successful execution of this type of projects. Together with St. Maarten, we want to rebuild the island in a sustainable and hurricane-proof manner,” said Knops.
The so-called St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund will support recovery efforts and help the St. Maarten Government prepare projects with well-defined development objectives, and provide capacity support for effective, efficient and transparent project execution. 
“The World Bank is working closely with St. Maarten and other Caribbean countries to help their people recover and rebuild after the recent hurricanes,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kristalina Georgieva.
“We are fast-tracking the preparation of emergency projects and using our global and regional expertise to speed up reconstruction, build resilience, and support all of those who have been affected,” the CEO stated.
In St. Maarten, the World Bank has already supported the government to carry out a Recovery Needs Assessment and prepare a National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP). The World Bank is now helping set up a Recovery Bureau to guide the recovery, reconstruction and resilience efforts.
According to the post disaster assessment, the effects of Hurricane Irma are estimated at US $1.8 billion or 180 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The hurricane damaged 90 percent of all infrastructure and large parts of the natural environment.
“This is an important step and we look forward to working with the World Bank and the Netherlands in speeding up recovery efforts and returning Sint Maarten to its position as a beacon of prosperity by building back better,” said Prime Minister Marlin-Romeo.
As the next hurricane season is closing in, the World Bank teams are working with the Governments of the Netherlands and St. Maarten to fast track the preparation of three emergency projects amounting of up to US $128 million. These projects will focus on: recovery and disaster preparedness and the rehabilitation of water and electricity utilities, debris removal, as well as skills and hospitality training and a cash-for-work programme to provide affected communities with a social safety net in times of economic uncertainty.
Future projects will continue to be selected by agreement from the steering Committee composed of representatives from the Netherlands, St. Maarten and the World Bank, based on the needs identified in the NRRP.
The Daily Herald
Photo: Parties after the signing of the agreement for the St. Maarten Trust Fund in Washington DC on Monday. From left: Dutch State of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin, World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva and St. Maarten Finance Minister Mike Ferrier. (Photo courtesy of the World Bank)

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