Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Earth Today | Caribbean civil society, gov’ts commit to improving climate finance delivery

Published:Thursday | April 1, 2021 | 12:18 AM

CARIBBEAN CIVIL society can play a key role in delivering climate finance and building local resilience, and there needs to be greater investment to support this role alongside governments and the private sector.

This was the key message from the virtual regional dialogue, ‘Delivering Caribbean Climate Ambitions: Climate Finance, Civil Society and Partnerships’, held from March 16 to 18. It was attended by more than 200 participants, including leading regional and national civil society organisations (CSOs), national authorities, regional agencies, funders and international partners.

Key themes explored over the three days included options for accessing climate finance with a focus on civil society’s role and capacity, expanding multi-stakeholder engagement in climate change decision-making, and leveraging partnerships to realise climate ambitions.

Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador for climate change and representative for the chair, Alliance for Small Island States, Her Excellency Diann Black-Layne, provided remarks and highlighted that, “Without CSOs we can’t get to where we need to go. The government cannot do it on its own.”

She noted that the Department of Environment in Antigua and Barbuda is accredited to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for projects up to US$50 million, and the reason for such an ambitious accreditation is because they have an ambitious programme to engage CSOs in delivering climate finance. She welcomed the collaboration with the GCF and other national designated authorities in the Caribbean to get more CSOs ready to take action and scale up impact.

GCF’s regional manager – Caribbean and Brazil, Division of Country Programming, Dr Orville Grey, noted that, “Having civil society, including local communities and indigenous peoples, as forefront stakeholders contributing to the development of GCF programmes and projects for the Caribbean is not only laudable but a strategic goal in taking country ownership to another level.”

Executive director, Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), Nicole Leotaud, highlighted that “Civil society are doing amazing work on the ground, particularly reaching the most vulnerable, and can deliver climate action”.

“We need to invest in them, and we should not discount even the micro and small grants that support hundreds of small CSOs across the region. This includes working with Caribbean CSOs as intermediaries for large funds to channel resources to the ground, leveraging their local knowledge and relationships and their cost-effective systems,” she noted.

The launch of a Caribbean Climate Finance Action Network was also announced on March 18 at the dialogue. This network will keep the conversation going beyond the dialogue. It will bring together key civil society, government and private sector stakeholders for shared learning, partnership building and developing practical solutions to improve access to and delivery of climate finance in the region.

This regional dialogue was organised as part of the project,’Enhancing Caribbean civil society’s access and readiness for climate finance’ by CANARI and national designated authorities to the GCF across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, with the Climate Change Division, Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change in Jamaica as the lead authority. Technical partners for the dialogue included Climate Analytics and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.