The threat from climate change is serious and growing, and will require urgent attention to combat the effects.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler made this point yesterday as he addressed the opening of the United Nations Green Climate Fund-sponsored national sensitization consultation at the Central Bank.
Sinckler said it would require the contribution of every citizen as Barbados joins the rest of the world in addressing issues relating to climate change.
Highlighting a number of natural disasters that have affected the region in the past, Sinckler said Barbados and other small island developing states “have demonstrated on many occasions how susceptible we are to external shocks, namely natural disasters”.
Pointing to massive infrastructural damage from those disasters and other incidents caused by climate change, Sinckler said they were having negative consequences on the budgets of small island developing states.
“So all the data on climate change is pointing to the fact that no country, and certainly not the ones in the Caribbean, can escape the impact of climate change. Climate change has become our new normal and if not addressed effectively, could become an irreversible catastrophe,” warned Sinckler.
Sinckler said while Barbados would be working with global partners, the country was willing to lead by example “towards a carbon neutral future”, as he pointed to a number of areas the country was working on, including energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
“As a nation moving into 50 years of political independence, we have an unparalleled opportunity to become the first green economy in the [Western] Hemisphere. In this regard, the Green Climate Fund provides an unprecedented window of financing that can advance our quest along a climate resilient development strategy,” he said.
Among other things, the consultation was designed to assist stakeholders in better understanding the role of the Green Climate Fund, how to access it, and how to identify and implement projects.
The Green Climate Fund 2015 – 2018 was established last month to help countries implement adaptation and mitigation projects to address climate change impacts.
Stakeholders will come up with viable projects and present them to the Fund for grant funding or concessional loans through a national implementing entity.
The national implementing entity for the Government is the Economic Affairs Division. All projects will be channeled through a national designated authority that will be responsible for signing off on projects.
Among other things, the projects must reflect the priority of the country and have the ability to create a positive impact, as well as meet the Green Climate Fund guidelines and objectives.
Before grant funding or concessional loans are approved, the Green Climate Fund will carry out an assessment.
Pointing out that so far $300,000 was available “for readiness support that will strengthen our efforts to secure high impact projects”, Sinckler urged the Economic Affairs Division to “tap into it”.
He also urged stakeholders to make use of every opportunity to “transform our economy through the development of high impact, upscale, country-owned and innovative projects”. (MM)