Agreement bolsters Caribbean ability to weather climate disaster
The milestone unlocks opportunities for the continued strengthening of this island nation’s leading role in enhancing Caribbean resilience to the damage wrought by climate change. The agreement provides a framework for the country’s direct access to climate finance from the Green Climate Fund to implement projects.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Department of Environment, a direct access Accredited Entity, has received GCF Board approval for a multi-country project to better prepare homes, businesses and infrastructure to withstand category 5 hurricanes akin to those that ripped through the Caribbean last year.
This project also includes the Caribbean nations of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Grenada in addressing the climate effects that typically challenge Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
In September 2017, the entire population of Barbuda, some 1,600 people, was evacuated to the larger island of Antigua after hurricane damage affected 90 percent of homes and buildings and paralysed the island’s energy distribution network.
Prime Minister Browne remarked: “This is a milestone to be celebrated by everyone in Antigua and Barbuda. Our local private sector and community groups are going to benefit from GCF’s climate funds. We will be measuring the success of our first Enhancing Direct Access pilot project by how efficiently we can reach vulnerable people and give them the tools and funds to better cope with climate change.”
“It’s been a significant investment, but I am pleased that Antigua and Barbuda’s Department of Environment will be the first national public institution in the Caribbean to be accredited to the Green Climate Fund. I hope this shows other small island states that it can be done. Antigua and Barbuda will continue to drive paradigm-shifting approaches to cope with climate change, because we must prepare for this reality.”
While many Caribbean countries continue to rebuild after the devastating 2017 storms, GCF Deputy Executive Director Javier Manzanares highlighted the importance of climate finance in safeguarding for future disasters.
“GCF is supporting the efforts of SIDS - both in the Caribbean and other parts of the world - to adopt integrated approaches which enhance the climate resilience of ecosystems and infrastructure,” he said. “This will improve the ability of societies to deal with both the rapid onset of weather disasters and with slower-moving climate effects.”
GCF will take a stocktake of its ongoing efforts to assist climate action in this region during its Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean in Grenada on 6 to 9 November. Grenada has joined Antigua and Barbuda, together with GCF, to develop a regional proposal to manage Caribbean climate and disaster risks.