The Government of Antigua and Barbuda signed a 5 million Euros Financing Agreement with the European Union to support Barbuda’s recovery after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. The Financing Agreement, signed in July 2018, recognized the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the implementing agency for the 24-month housing project. Following this, at the end of the month of January 2019, the EU Delegation Agreement with UNDP was signed, officially establishing the project’s commencement.
The project’s main objective is to increase disaster resilience for the most vulnerable persons in Barbuda through the rehabilitation of residential buildings requiring major repairs (classified as Level 3 damage according to the 2017 Building Damage Assessment) or the complete rebuilding of destroyed structures (Level 4). UNDP will have primary responsibility for day to day management of the project including monitoring and quality assurance of the construction works. Prior to the project launch, as part of the preparatory phase of the project, a ‘Beneficiary Selection Committee’ (BSC) consisting of national stakeholders was established and has convened multiple sessions between the months of August and November 2019.
The BSC is chaired by the Office of the National Authorizing Officer (ONAO) and counts with the active participation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, the Public Works Department, the Development Control Authority, the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) and the Barbuda Council. UNDP serves as technical advisor to the BSC. The Committee, under the leadership of the ONAO, is tasked with selecting eligible beneficiaries based on a set of selection criteria and has to date identified a pool of potential beneficiaries.
In addition to this, an Expression of Interest was launched by UNDP in January 2019 for the prequalification of construction contractors, in an effort to favor the participation of local suppliers and contractors and the stimulation of the local economy. Finally, a bid for the procurement of a mobile shredder for Barbuda to manage disaster and construction waste has also been launched by UNDP, in close coordination with Government counterparts.
During the week of 25 February, project kick-off meetings took place between UNDP representatives, both from the Project Office in Antigua and Barbuda and the Sub-Regional Office based in Barbados. These meetings included the Representative from the EU Delegation to Barbados and the OECS and the Office of the National Authorizing Officer (ONAO), Government Focal Point for this project, as well as the Barbuda Council, to discuss upcoming activities and the work done so far.
UNDP ramped up its presence in the country after the hurricane’s landfall by establishing a fully-fledged Project Office and has been supporting the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in the recovery of Barbuda through a roof restoration initiative, funded by the Government of China, a debris management project funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Relief Fund and a rehabilitation of public infrastructures project, funded by the Government of India, the latter is currently ongoing.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda and UNDP look forward to continuing the strong partnership and to a successful project implementation for the continued recovery of the island of Barbuda.