Renewable energy among key factors to fuel C/bean climate-smart zone

0
Sir Richard Branson (centre), Founder of Virgin Group, with the private sector representatives being acknowledged for their significant climate-smart endeavours: (L - R) Harris Bostic II, Senior Strategic Advisor, Tides, Kellie Bentz, Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief, Airbnb, Cody Friesen, Zero Mass Water, Johanan Dujo, Founder, Algas Company, with the Honourable Usain St. Leo Bolt, 8 Time Olympic Gold Medallist

A ground-breaking partnership to support the Caribbean’s ambition to become the world’s first ‘climate-smart zone’ was launched on Thursday, August 9, 2018. Eight-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner Usain Bolt was in attendance to help fire the starting pistol for the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, which will be led by Caribbean leaders to create the world’s first climate-smart zone.

The Accelerator has created an unprecedented coalition including 26 countries and over 40 private and public sector partners which will implement climate solutions for resilience, renewable energy, development of sustainable cities, oceans and transportation. This climate-smart zone will not only protect the region but create jobs and a new economy in climate-smart infrastructure.

The Caribbean Accelerator has a vision which builds from the strategies of regional governments and agencies, including CARICOM and OECS. Although it was only just launched, it has already started to lay the foundations for success with initial Caribbean Climate-Smart projects.

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness said, “Being climate-smart means putting the people of the Caribbean at the centre of all we do – to protect them from the challenges of climate change. The Caribbean Accelerator will also encourage job creation, social inclusion and economic growth. These benefits will only come when Governments, the international community and the private sector work together to overcome barriers and generate the investment that will benefit us all. That is why I am excited by the potential of the Accelerator to join the Caribbean with global partners who share our vision to see investment grow in the years ahead.”

Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank has played a key role in bringing together a multinational coalition of public and private partners to fast-track public and private investments over the next five years. “The IDB Group reaffirms its continued and historical commitment to the Caribbean and will work with leaders of the region to improve lives by creating climate-smart and vibrant economies, where people are safe, productive, and happy. We hope that through this Climate Smart Coalition, in addition to offering new affordable financing, we will use the IDB’s extensive regional experience and presence on the ground to work closely with the people of the region to design their Caribbean of the future, today,” he said at the launch.

Speaking at the event Sir Richard Branson said, “Our goal is ambitious and bold; we are creating the world’s first climate-smart zone. We have a vision of a Caribbean which is greener, stronger and more resilient than ever before – built on innovation, powered by clean, sustainable energy and accelerated by public and private investment.”

Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean said, “We are committed to a stronger, more resilient, and climate-smart Caribbean.  Working together, bringing in international partners and increasing private sector participation will be key to maximize financing for development and create opportunities for all.”

The coalition was first announced in Paris last December and since then it has grown from 11 to 26 Caribbean countries, with over 40 private sector partners to implement informative climate action across the Caribbean region.