The deadly havoc that was caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 posed huge challenges to many Caribbean countries. While the Caribbean has historically been vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change is exacerbating these risks and is threatening the region’s quest for sustainable development. Unless confronted with substantial resources, the economic impact for the region could exceed US$22 billion per year by 2050, or about ten percent of current GDP. Speaking at an event, Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group said: “Our goal is ambitious and bold: we are creating the world’s first climate-smart zone. We have a vision of the Caribbean which is greener, stronger and more resilient than ever before – built on innovation, powered by clean, sustainable energy and accelerated by public and private investment –”.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced that it will partner with Governments and the private sector to program and implement the additional $1 billion in funds that it pledged for climate smart-investments across the Caribbean region at the Paris One Planet summit on December 12, 2017. This additional funding will build on an existing portfolio of over $200 million to support innovative solutions focusing on low carbon emissions, sustainable infrastructure, and energy efficiency projects in the wake of natural disasters, drawing from low-cost blended finance and contingent credit facilities. In addition, the IDB will provide $3 million as start-up funds to help get this important initiative successfully up and running, with the first $1.5 million available this year.
With the help of the IDB Group, the Caribbean region is working to increase its resilience to climate change not only by enhancing its adaptive capacity to respond across the region but by also (1) advancing the region’s policy framework for confronting climate and natural disaster risks and by developing a public and private investment framework for investing in resilient infrastructure. The proposal also focuses on: (2) supporting and financing the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator together with the World Bank; (3) developing a Sustainable Islands Platform that will support both SIDS and islands belonging to continental countries; (4) supporting domestic private sector markets needed to bring forward the technology, (5) exploring providing new Climate Risk Insurance and Resiliency instruments; (6) updating its package of instruments where necessary, including providing more flexible and innovative financing solutions, while enhancing policies for accessing them; and (7) advancing analytical work to bring greater clarity to the economic, social, and environmental implications that changing climate patterns have on human development, including dimensions of gender and youth.
According to the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, “we will use the IDB’s extensive regional experience and presence on the ground to work closely with the people of the region to design their Caribbean of the future, today.” Forty other public and private sector organizations have also joined the Accelerator’s wider coalition of partners. These include Bill Gates of Microsoft, Breakthrough Energy Coalition, Clinton Foundation, GSMA, The Nature Conservancy, Tesla, The Virgin Group, Willis Towers Watson, and the World Bank. Also featured as the first high-level commitment coming out of President Macron’s One Planet Summit, Prime Ministers Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, Keith Mitchell of Grenada, Allen Chastanet of Saint Lucia and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson articulated a far-reaching vision for the world’s first climate-smart zone.
Click here to read our #JumpCaribbean blog and here to watch the video.
For more information on the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, click here.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!