Caribbean conservation and renewable energy initiatives get $64 million fund


Fifteen Caribbean governments and 17 corporations have made a $64 million funding commitment to help preserve the marine and coastal environment of the Caribbean.


This will be used for projects aimed at accelerating the region’s efforts to transition to renewable energy.


The commitment was the result of a high-level dialogue organized by The Nature Conservancy, with support from Virgin Unite, the non-profit entrepreneurial foundation of the Virgin Group, and the Carbon War Room.


“The energy challenge and marine conservation challenge in the Caribbean go hand-in-hand: we can’t have a healthy economy without a health environment, nor a health environment without a healthy economy,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.


This launches the second phase of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative which seeks to chart a new course for protecting and sustainably managing the marine and coastal resources of the Caribbean.


“The Caribbean is truly a paradise under threat, and today’s focus is a critical step toward a brighter future. Governments and their people, companies and their consumers, and local communities all must work together to protect this beautiful region,” said Glenn Prickett, chief external affairs officer for The Nature Conservancy.


Specific areas targeted for further work include protection for sharks and rays with the creation of a region-wide sanctuary for the creatures within two years; establishing a regulatory framework for conservation and increasing the number of marine protected areas; and a transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources over the next five years.


The Defend Paradise campaign was also launched during this dialogue. The nature Conservancy, GOOD, Tiffany & Co., Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Ltd., KOR Water and Guy Harvey sportswear are participating in this consumer-based initiative to raise awareness on and funding for marine conservation in the Caribbean.


Defend Paradise will sell co-branded products and provide exclusive discounts and experiential marketing campaigns to bring the natural beauty of the Caribbean to life for those who are unable to visit.


Other corporations that pledged support for the initiative include the Adam Steward of Sandals Foundation, Bamboo Sushi, Hublot, NRG Energy, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and Virgin Unite.


Government funding agencies and non-governmental organizations such as the German and British governments the Nature Conservancy and the World Bank have also pledged funding for the initiative.