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Hon Simon Stiell


Ministry of State with Responsibility for Human Resource Development and the Environment Represented by

Hon Simon Stiell

Grenada is a small island developing state (SIDS) located in the south-eastern Caribbean. Like many other small islands, the country is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and is already experiencing changes in its climate system. During a recent visit to the Green Climate Fund, Grenada’s Minister of State with Responsibility for Human Resource Development and the Environment, the Honourable Simon Stiell, shared insight into the country’s climate priorities.

What are Grenada’s top climate action priorities and how can GCF help advance this agenda?

First and foremost, Grenada is focusing its climate related priorities on key pillars within Grenada’s economy, which would include agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism and hospitality, the latter of which constitutes between 25 to 30 per cent of our GDP. The other area is infrastructure. This includes our transportation networks, public and private buildings, the energy generation and distribution sector, including existing renewable energy facilities, and water and sewage. From an environmental perspective, we want to protect Grenada’s ecological assets such as its coral reefs, mangroves and forests. With GCF, we will focus on two tracks – increasing energy efficiency and scaling up renewable energy capacity, and building resilience into our economy and society, particularly for our water resources and food security. It is an ambitious agenda and central to achieving Grenada’s sustainable development plan.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities in implementing Grenada’s agenda?

The key challenge is climate financing. We have a small economy and are heavily indebted so finding extra budgetary support to realize our agenda is of great importance and this is where GCF and its mandate plays a critical role. Another challenge is our own ability to absorb projects and having the required implementation capacity so that they can have transformational impact and are carried out in a realistic timeframe. In this regard, we view the GCF Readiness Programme as an enabler to build capacity to be able to implement in a meaningful manner.

In terms of opportunities, it is important to utilize our disadvantages – small population, low economies of scale – and implement and effect change at a far faster rate and at a meaningful level. By turning the negatives into positives, we want Grenada to be an exemplar of how best to adapt to climate change. We can demonstrate to larger, more developed countries our ability to be fleet of foot.

In your (i)NDC, it is estimated that USD 161 million will be needed to implement the plan through to 2025. What are some of the partnerships you are exploring to meet this amount?

This opens the whole arena of public-private partnership. Government cannot do this alone, neither can the donor community nor the private sector. Combining all these elements and taking a partnership approach is key to mobilizing resources at scale. Grenada has already embarked on establishing public-private partnerships for renewable energy, pursuing an aggressive programme that unlocks the country’s vast geothermal and solar energy potential.

If we are successful in achieving this, benefits will be realized not only from a mitigation perspective and achieving our (i)NDC targets, but also in terms of reducing energy costs. By bringing down the price of electricity, we can significantly increase our overall competitive-ness, whether in manufacturing or at the household level, we will see spin-off benefits.

Convening partners is a core activity of GCF. How has the 2017 Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean helped to further regional cooperation?

The GCF Structured Dialogue in Belize was a thrust for us by providing greater insight into the Fund. Importantly, it moved us beyond looking at our own domestic challenges, thinking that the challenges we face are unique and that we have to come up with unique solutions. It proved extremely valuable in helping share experiences, both within and outside the Caribbean region. Through this, we were able to recognize commonalities in terms of issues and solutions. That is not to say a one-size-fits-all approach should be universally applied, but certainly a significant portion of what is needed to respond to climate change in the Caribbean can be consolidated to bring about efficiencies and implement at a much faster and more effective rate.

The Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean underscored that GCF is in a unique position to bring all actors together so that those shared experiences, shared knowledge and common solutions can be identified to foster transformational change. For the Fund, the dialogue format also provides an opportunity to engage with countries and regional entities at an aggregated level, whilst still understanding the nuances and specific needs of individual countries.

Associated link

Grenada INDC