(PRESS RELEASE) — Stakeholders from across multiple government agencies, the private sector, and civil society organizations met at the Bay Gardens Hotel, conference room on October 31, 2019, to validate St. Lucia’s Country Programme for the Green Climate Fund.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a new global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change.
Permanent Secretary in the Department Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation, Claudius Emmanuel, noted that collectively Small Island Developing States (SIDS) contribute negligibly to climate change, contributing only about one percent of total carbon emissions.
“These prevailing circumstances place SIDS in a peculiar situation. On one hand, they are challenged by their limited capacity to raise domestic resources, while on the other they are being regularly confronted with high levels of vulnerability as a result of climate change which they must respond to. Against this backdrop, adaptation measures are critical to SIDS especially for the agriculture and fisheries sectors, coastal marine ecosystems, water resources as well as the infrastructure and health sectors. It is, therefore, a moral imperative that financial resources for both climate adaptation and mitigation are made available to SIDS on terms and conditions that take account of their peculiarities.”
Emmanuel stated that via the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), climate financing of US$100 billion is made available annually. This financing is channeled through the Green Climate Fund to benefit 129 of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
“In addition to the fact that adaption needs far exceed the financial commitment made thus far there is strong competition to access and use the available funding both among and within countries. As such it is vitally important that Saint Lucia adopts an aggressive and proactive posture towards accessing available climate-related funds such as the Green Climate Fund.”
Chief Economist in the Department Economic Development, Tommy Descartes, stated that his department is the National Designated Authority (NDA) to the Green Climate Fund and serves as the lead liaison between the fund and stakeholders.
“And so essentially the department will be the one who will be providing no objection for any projects that are submitted. We will be giving strategic oversight to the overall engagement with the GCF. And given the role of the department with regards to national development in terms of the Medium Term Development Strategy for Saint Lucia it was deemed fitting to have the department to be the NDA because again it’s really grant resources to a large extent that we are trying to tap into from the GCF.”
Among the requirements to access funding from the GCF is the development of a country programme which clearly articulates how the country will engage the GCF based on the strategic priorities developed from robust stakeholder engagement.
“Now we are almost completed and we think it was necessary to bring everybody here to validate what was presented in April. And so the hope is that we will get robust feedback from the stakeholders and we would then refine the document to reflect these comments and thereafter we would now have to submit that document to the GCF saying that yes we’ve finished our country programme and what we intend to do thereafter is to do the real work of trying to get funding from the GCF.”
Climate Analytics were contracted under the Green Climate Fund Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme to building the institutional capacity of the NDA and key stakeholders as well as to develop the country programme for Saint Lucia.
Climate Analytics is a global non-profit organization that provides climate science research and policy advice.
Frances Fuller, deputy director and implementation specialist with Climate Analytics, outlined some of the priority projects which emerged from the wide-ranging stockholder consultations.
“Some of the main aspects are around resilient fisheries sectors, smart hospitals, green schools, e-mobility or electric mobility, we’re trying to push that forward. So there’s a pretty good cross-section of focus areas. So we do hope that it is somewhat representative of all the priorities that are outlined in the policy document but also to address some of the key concerns from the stakeholders at the community level.”
Saint Lucia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) identified three main conditions that affect the island’s vulnerability to climate change. Namely: its small geographical area, it’s also one of the world’s highest-risk locations to tropical cyclones, and its dependence on a few sources of income.