As government presses ahead with its greening initiatives, The Global Climate Fund is expected to provide the financial support to drive these investments.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, made this observation yesterday while addressing the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) /Deutsche Gesellschaft f??r Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)-sponsored workshop on Climate Change Financing and Green Fund Climate (GCF). It was held at Hilton Barbados.

He said the Green Economy Scoping Study which was undertaken by the University of the West Indies and the United Nations Environment Programme, explored the potential for the greening of various sectors such as agriculture, tourism and transportation.

Mr. Sinckler said these initiatives would ???have significant and positive benefits for both government and the private sector by reducing costs and improving the quality of life???.

The Finance Minister also disclosed that Government had just unveiled its draft Growth and Development Strategy, which would give support to the greening efforts.

???It is our position that we need to tackle this in a holistic way and, therefore, the Government, in partnership with the private sector and civil society, will pursue a number of strategies that will be aimed at enhancing the buffers against climate change for those most impacted; embracing more sophisticated tools for climate change decision making; forging greater partnerships with regional and international development and financial entities to provide resources to help build capacity; and enhancing South-South linkages in building climate change resilience. These are just some of the actions that will be taken,??? Mr. Sinckler emphasised.

Meanwhile, CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith has lamented that of the 694 national projects approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under its climate change focal area between 1991 and 2013, only 33 projects from CARICOM countries had received financial support.

This he said represented a mere US $24 million or less than one per cent of the total US $2.5 billion in grant financing provided by the GEF for national climate action.

He further explained that ???the amount allocated to the Caribbean must be seen in the context of a worsening of the climate change phenomenon and of economic losses in excess of US $1 billion in three Caribbean countries for 2012 alone.???

Dr. Smith added: ???The inability of Caribbean countries to access climate financing can be directly attributed to institutional constraints, [as it related] to difficulty in identifying priorities and developing coherent investment programmes, and to serious deficiencies in capacity to effectively and efficiently implement projects and programmes.???

The CDB President was also critical of the burdensome criteria attached to accessing resources which was further complicated by the monitoring and reporting requirements to evaluate outcomes.

???Therefore, if these countries and other countries with similar capacity constraints are to benefit from the Green Climate Fund, it is crucial that focus is placed on climate finance readiness at the national, regional and international levels,??? Dr. Smith emphasised.

He said the CDB had the capacity to generate and mobilise knowledge and technical skills to address climate vulnerability in climate-sensitive sectors such as roads, river defences, airport and seaport, tourism and agriculture.

The two-day workshop, which began on Thursday, July 11, ended today.

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