Faced with projected economic losses between five and 30 per cent of the gross domestic product annually, a Government minister is calling for a more humane approach for middle income countries to access grant and concessionary financing for climate change.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, made this appeal today as he addressed the Caribbean Development Bank/Deutsche Gesellschaft f√r Internationale Zusammenarbeit two-day workshop on Climate Change Financing and the Green Climate Fund at Hilton Barbados.
Likening the region’s extreme vulnerability to climatic events exacerbated by climate change as a “Sword of Damocles hanging over our development”, the minister said access to multilateral funds was still a challenge.
“Historically, countries from this region have not received their fair share of international climate change support due to our capacity constraints. Also of concern is the rigid application of ‘graduation’ by multilateral financial institutions.
“For many of us middle income developing countries, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to access grant and concessionary financing for climate change… I wish to suggest a more reasonable, flexible, fair and humane approach,” Sinckler emphasised.
The finance minister said that the gravity and scale of the climate change threat to highly exposed middle income developing countries, demanded an approach similar to that used to address financing national responses to HIV/AIDS — the implications of which are no less than the scourge posed by HIV/AIDS.
Given this situation, Sinckler called for the operationalising and capitalising of the Global Climate Fund by next year in keeping with the vision espoused by its founders.
He also offered suggestions on how this could be achieved.
“Developed countries should collectively agree that the initial capitalisation of the GCF should be no less than US $10 billion per year to start with… Secondly, these resources provided should be new and additional public money and thirdly, a clear timeline for the operationalisation of capitalisation of the GCF must be established to provide certainty to developing countries,” Sinckler underlined.
He said the GCF would greatly assist the region in making the transition to low carbon climate societies that would lead to: new growth sectors particularly in the area of renewable energy and opportunities for private sector investments; climate proofing of new and existing infrastructure especially coastal infrastructure, thereby providing a form of economic stimulus to our economies; and improved competitiveness and energy security through the use of indigenous sources of energy.
The GCF was established in 2010 under the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention. It was created to be the main global fund for climate change by channelling billions of new financial resources to developing countries.