UN Environment Programme (UNEP), October 18, 2023

How communal loans are helping Antigua and Barbuda brace for hurricanes

As climate change feeds increasingly frequent hurricanes in the Caribbean, the immediate concern for many in Antigua is accessing the finance needed to toughen their homes. Traditional home insurance is practically out of reach due to escalating climate risks.

Addressing this, the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Environment has been working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to roll out a revolving loans programme, which allows residents to obtain low-interest loans for hurricane-proofing their homes. Once repaid, the funds assist another family, perpetuating a cycle of community resilience. The funding for the loan scheme comes from a combination of domestic sources and three international climate adaptation projects: one funded by the Green Climate Fund, one by the Global Environment Facility and another by the Adaptation Fund. The loan scheme has been viewed as a flagship example of how to design multiple internationally-funded projects with a high level of complementarity and coherence.

Black-Layne speaks passionately about the project, saying it has helped residents reinforce roofs, install hurricane shutters, buy rainwater storage tanks and outfit their homes with solar panels.

“It offers the homeowner a very long period of time to pay back the loan, and they don’t have to provide collateral,” said Black-Layne. “The default rate is very low in this community-run system.”

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