Strong progress in implementation of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund

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WASHINGTON, USA –  The Steering Committee of the Sint Maarten Recovery Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund gathered in Washington DC and The Hague on March 9, 2022, to discuss the advancement of Trust Fund activities and its remaining timeline at the mid-point of Trust Fund implementation.

During the meeting, the committee allocated US$90M to new activities to build new social housing, strengthen the housing sector, improve wastewater services, and increase solid waste investments and reforms. The Steering Committee also confirmed its decision to rehabilitate sports facilities and build a meteorological facility.

The Steering Committee was joined by prime minister Silveria Jacobs of Sint Maarten, who expressed the commitment of the government of Sint Maarten to the development of the waste, wastewater, and social housing sectors and their sustainability. While underlining that progress in these sectors is critical to the country, the prime minister impressed upon the Steering Committee the importance of supporting Sint Maarten’s youth. “Making sports accessible again to our children is a direct investment in the mental health of our young people and their futures. My government’s commitment is to ensure that the projects positively impact Sint Maarten and its communities”, said prime minister Jacobs.    

The Steering Committee expects that Trust Fund investments in wastewater systems will be co-financed by the government of Sint Maarten. “The Netherlands has always strongly supported priority investments in wastewater treatment, as reflected in the Dutch guiding principles for this Trust Fund”, said Frans Weekers, Steering Committee Member for the Netherlands. He added, “This is because they will lower risks to public health and protect Sint Maarten’s beaches from environmental degradation, preserving the country’s extraordinary natural assets and beauty and making Sint Maarten’s tourism economy more sustainable.”

The Steering Committee discussed the preliminary recommendations of the Mid-Term Review of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, noting that significant results are being achieved. This is illustrated by a high disbursement rate of 46 percent when compared, for instance, to a rate of 21 percent for similar World Bank portfolios in the Caribbean. The committee also expressed satisfaction over the program’s high fiduciary and safeguards standards.

Sint Maarteners are benefitting from Trust Fund activities. We are seeing palpable results in infrastructure capacity building and are beginning important work on key sector reforms in the waste sector for instance”, said Lilia Burunciuc, the World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean and Chair of the Steering Committee. She said: “Sint Maarten can be proud of the strong capacity for project management built at the National Recovery Program Bureau, which has become an asset for the country. The World Bank looks forward its continued partnership with the Bureau, the Government of Sint Maarten, and the Netherlands in favor of the people of Sint Maarten.” 

The meeting recognized the progress made in the rehabilitation of the Princess Juliana International Airport, the upgrading of the Sint Maarten Medical Centre, and the construction of the Sint Marten General Hospital. All shelters, both police stations, 410 homes and several schools have been repaired. To restore Sint Maarten’s environment, 149 shipwrecks have been removed and safely disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, and more than 10kms of shoreline have been cleaned up.

Over 100 businesses have received substantial financing for asset reconstitution and working capital to support economic recovery. Trust Fund resources have also supported community-based projects by over 30 NGOs. In addition, projects are underway to support the government’s digital transformation and strengthening mental health services in the country.

More about the Trust Fund’s activities can be read in the 2021 annual report, which can be found at sintmaartenrecovery.org.

The Steering Committee will meet again in mid-2022 to discuss the Trust Fund’s implementation timeline.

The Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust is financed by the government of the Netherlands, managed by The World Bank, and implemented by Sint Maarten’s National Recovery Program Bureau on behalf of the government of Sint Maarten.

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