Green Climate Fund approves grant for Caribbean countries
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CMC) — Caribbean Community (Caricom) officials Friday praised the South Korea-based Green Climate Fund (GCF) after it approved a grant for further development of the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordination Programme, which aims to scale up financing and investment to support the transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient blue economy across the region.
GCF Executive Director Mafalda Duarte said the Caribbean needs approximately US$175 billion by 2030 to fortify marine biodiversity, enhance sustainable fishing practices, and bolster coastal defences against climate change.
“Yet less than US$10 billion has been invested in these critical areas since 2015. The Green Climate Fund is ready to be a partner for transformative action. We are the world’s largest climate fund, and we are focusing efforts on coastal and marine areas,” Duarte added.
The project preparation facility grant, which was announced at an event on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), will be managed by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The exact amount of the grant was not disclosed.
“I am very grateful for the advocacy which the Green Climate Fund is advancing on our behalf and for the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordinating Programme, which is serving as a lifeline for us in accessing the resources to put a framework in place to benefit from the financing,” said Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is also chairman of the 15-member regional integration movement.
His Bahamian counterpart, Phillip Davis, applauded the GFC for its efforts to support the developing world in creating climate resilient pathways to a sustainable future.
“Through this platform Caribbean nations will be able to strengthen their blue economy frameworks and develop projects that can be replicated and scaled across the region,” Prime Minister Davis added.
The CDB said that the full programme, once approved, will facilitate the development and updating of blue economy frameworks at the national and regional levels, the establishment of a regional mechanism to support a more coordinated response to the Caribbean’s blue economy needs, and directly finance the implementation of innovative projects that help scale up private sector investment in a resilient and sustainable blue economy.
It said more than 56,000 people across the region will benefit directly from the initiative, and an additional 600,000 will be indirect beneficiaries.
CDB President Dr Hyginus Gene Leon said the umbrella coordination programme was timely because, while the Caribbean Sea has an estimated economic value of US$407 billion per year and supports multiple important marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, more than 700 species are under threat.
“Despite widespread reliance on the ocean for livelihoods, recreation, health, well-being, and culture by the Caribbean’s 19 million people, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which speaks to life below water, is the least funded of all 17 SDGs.”
He said decisive action is now critical because the Caribbean already faces multiple climate-related threats, such as tropical storms, flooding, droughts, sea level rise, increasing ocean temperatures, and climate change-induced ocean acidification, “and now the multiple global crises of the last two years have exacerbated our vulnerability”.