Emergency Debris Mgt. Project gets $60M additional funding

      Emergency Debris Mgt. Project  gets $60M additional funding

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and World Bank Director for Caribbean Countries Lilia Burunciuc.

WASHINGTON--St. Maarten’s Emergency Debris Management Project (EDMP) has received US $60 million in additional funding apportioned by the World Bank-managed St. 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 government’s institutional capacity to execute technical activities.

“This additional financing will continue the process of helping St. Maarten revamp our waste management system. It builds on the foundation that the Government of St. Maarten and the Trust Fund have 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 Prime Minister of St. Maarten Silveria Jacobs.

These activities are part of St. 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 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and have been implemented in the context of the National Development Vision document drafted to ensure St. Maarten’s forward movement, the World Bank said in a press release on Thursday.

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 (NRPB) on behalf of the St. 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 had posed health, safety and environmental risks for years. These efforts seek to further protect St. Maarten’s natural environment and aesthetics, support economic recovery, reduce air pollution, and improve living conditions.

World Bank Director for Caribbean Countries Lilia Burunciuc said 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 St. Maarten’s tourism sector.”

The project is St. Maarten’s response to calls for better local waste management. It supports institutional, legal and financial waste management reforms to realise the long-term sustainability of the solid waste management sector. The Government of St. 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, it was stated in the release.

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 more than 10 kilometres of shoreline cleaned.

Additionally, more than 200 persons living around the landfill on Pond Island are being resettled under the project.

For generations St. Maarten has dealt with waste removal without proper foresight, it was stated in the release. 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 that 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 organisations that promote sustainability.

The Daily Herald

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