Commonwealth launches climate finance initiative
LONDON, (CMC) – The Commonwealth has launched a new initiative aimed at improving the ability of Caribbean countries to access billions of dollars in climate finance.
Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland, speaking at the launch of the ‘Commonwealth Climate Finance Essentials E-learning Course’, said despite contributing least to the problem, small and vulnerable states are bearing the biggest burden.
She said increasingly frequent and extreme weather events are causing widespread destruction to livelihoods and infrastructure and destroying economies.
“While the international community is stepping in to provide support, it’s not enough. Small and vulnerable states also need to navigate the demanding conditions necessary for accessing available climate funds.
“The Commonwealth’s e-learning course is a significant step towards helping government officials better understand the complex structures of multi-billion-dollar funds and access the finance they need,” Scotland said.
The London-based Commonwealth Secretariat said that the course builds on the extensive experience of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub that has helped 17 small and vulnerable states in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific to access more than US$322 million in climate finance for projects to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
It said government officials and experts can use the course to better understand complex areas, such as the climate finance landscape, the compliance requirements set by major funders, the financial requisites for accessing funding and the specific needs of vulnerable groups.
Crucially, the initiative launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) that ended this week, introduces officials to the core elements needed to write a successful application for securing climate finance for projects. It also unpacks the use of innovative tools, such as earth observation data, to improve project rationale and navigate red tape.
It said at last year’s Commonwealth heads of government meeting, leaders urged developed countries to fully deliver on their commitment to providing US$100 billion every year in climate finance to help developing nations address challenges posed by climate change.
“However, access to funding remains a barrier. Some small island developing states report spending two to three years to develop a climate project proposal. This is followed by another year of legal and implementation arrangements before governments receive funds and can start projects.”
Belize’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Orlando Habet, in endorsing the initiative, said “climate finance is critical for small island developing states and least developed countries.
“We have been told that the process of finding finance takes too long. This course will assist us to cut down on that time,” he said.
The course is part of a package of resources developed by the Commonwealth Secretariat to support its 56 member countries in tackling the global climate crisis.