By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — The second Green Climate Fund (GCF) Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean will take place in St George’s, Grenada, from November 6 to 9, 2018.
The GCF, created in 2010, is the world’s largest fund dedicated to climate finance and is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The GCF launched its initial resource mobilization in 2014, and rapidly gathered pledges worth US$10.3 billion. These funds come mainly from developed countries, but also from some developing countries, regions, and one city (Paris).
Since its inception, particularly since its resource mobilization in 2014, GCF has already allocated over $4.6 billion to climate action in developing countries across the world, with the project pipeline growing significantly. The Caribbean and Central American region is a primary focus of its work and efforts.
The GCF estimates that climate change is arguably the most serious challenge to the development efforts of the Caribbean region. The recent spate of extreme weather-induced devastation in the Caribbean has elevated the need to include climate resilience in regional reconstruction and planning strategies.
In addition, the Caribbean region is also suffering from slow-onset processes related to climate change, of which sea-level rise and the reduced availability and security of fresh water resources are the most salient. Last year’s devastating hurricane season, when several Caribbean islands were not only destroyed but left under stagnant pools of water is a prime example.
Currently, flooding has ravaged the countryside of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Guyana and Grenada during the last part of the summer season and overall hurricane season, prompting great concerns about the effects of rising sea levels and habitation concerns for human and wildlife.
Countries in the Caribbean and Central America demand support now to rebuild, and to accelerate effective climate action. This includes the need for a new generation of critical infrastructure and related investments that are low-carbon and risk-informed.
The GCF understands that the region’s ability to access the necessary resources to address these issues will be crucial in minimising the social and economic challenges brought on by climate change, as well as to contribute to a low-emission, climate-resilient development trajectory.
Consequently, several international agencies such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Caribbean Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Union have joined hands with the public and private sectors to create a better framework for infrastructural strengthening for countries most affected and for them to become more “resilient” in their rebuilding efforts as well as giving them the capacity to withstand the ravages of the effects of natural disasters in the future.
Based on the GCF’s Strategic Plan (2016), the first Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean and Central America took place in Placencia, Belize, from June 19-22, 2017. This initial engagement helped to accelerate the design of ambitious projects and programmes that conform with countries’ climate action aspirations and to the GCF mandate.
Building on these efforts and achievements, the second Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean and Central America aims to catalyse greater regional cooperation to address the challenges of climate change in the region. In so doing, this dialogue will provide an opportunity to reflect on progress and capture lessons learned towards strengthening and streamlining implementation; exploring further investment opportunities including with the private sector; fostering sustainable country ownership and programming; and building effective partnerships.
This year’s event in Grenada seeks to bring together high-level representatives, including heads of state and ministers of countries in the region, other senior government officials, including representatives of the GCF National Designated Authorities (NDAs) and Focal Points (FPs), accredited/nominated entities, readiness delivery partners, civil society organisations, private sector representatives, members of the GCF board, and the GCF Secretariat staff, among others.
The dialogue will include one high-level day with the participation of heads of state, ministers and other senior policymakers to exchange experiences on tackling climate change issues and developing climate change adaptation and mitigation investments in their respective countries (November 6), two full-day substantive technical sessions on the GCF’s operational modalities and opportunities (November 7-8) and one day (November 9) reserved for a “marketplace” where country-owned projects will be presented by NDAs to receive feedback from stakeholders and help identify the most suitable accredited entity to work with, as well as allowing time for structured bilateral meetings with countries, accredited entities and other stakeholders.
In total, the four days will provide a unique and timely platform for all GCF partners to strengthen collaboration in the region.