Eastern Caribbean states pursuing a “green growth agenda”

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States met in February todiscuss possibilities for financing a green growth agenda. Peter Richards reports for IPS News:

As developing countries urgently seek new sources of financing to cope with problems linked to climate change, delegates from the nine-nation Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) met here last week to evaluate potential funds and outline a more concrete vision of what is required for the subregion.

“The workshop sought to raise awareness and share experiences on instruments and best practices related to financing adaptation and sustainable energy, and to generate feedback on planned future action and partnerships,” Keith Nichols, head of the Sustainable Development Division at the St. Lucia-based OECS Secretariat, told IPS.

Supported by the World Bank, it explored carbon financing opportunities to enhance the ability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as those of the OECS to respond to challenges like sea level rise and coastal erosion.

“The pursuit of a green growth agenda which promotes co-benefits in climate adaptation and mitigation, and which supports scaling-up of renewable energy and other economic resilience-building programmes, served as the vision on which this workshop was initiated,” Nichols added.

Delegates discussed case studies on sustainable land management for climate variability and climate change; adaptation challenges in the coastal and marine sectors; climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the OECS; as well as an adaptation finance case study from the Pacific region.

The OECS comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

Chrispin D’Auvergne, chief sustainable development officer for St. Lucia, believes that as a grouping, the OECS can better negotiate access to global climate funding – for which there is plenty of competition among developing nations.

“Recently there was an international fund launched, the Green Climate Fund, but I believe there will be a lot of demand on that fund. There is also an existing Adaptation Fund, but again I think the demand for that fund will outstrip the supply,” he said.

Approved at a U.N. conference in South Africa, the Green Climate Fund is supposed to raise 100 billion dollars a year from rich nations by 2020 for climate adaptation in poorer countries.

“There is also bilateral and multilateral sources available through the international development banks for countries interested,” D’Auvergne said.

“There is loan financing. But for many developing countries, the argument is that we are not the cause of this, so ideally we are not supposed to be borrowing money to finance climate change adaptation needs,” he added.

D’Auvergne argues that “one of the things we have to do as Small Island States is press these developed countries to live up to those pledges and some of them have started doing so.

“But also for our part we really have to try to crystallise exactly what we are seeking in relation to climate change funding, because it’s one thing to go out and say we need funding to adapt to climate change, but it’s another thing to say ‘I have put together a package of what we need’ and say to our bilateral and multilateral sources ‘this is it’, but if it is a generic request we are less likely to receive assistance,” he said.

There was a general consensus that the approach to climate resilience and low carbon development should be embedded into national/sectoral, regional and private sector development plans, and that there is need for additional investment in capacity and public education so that communities shift from “understanding” the key issues to “ownership”.

Read more in the full IPS article.