This island???s Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, has weighed in on the issue of climate change, saying the threat is ???real, serious and growing???, and therefore requires urgent attention.

Mr. Sinckler made the comments today as he addressed a National Sensitisation and Readiness Consultation on the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme for representatives of the public and private sectors, and civil society organisations, at the Grande Salle.

He told the audience: ???All the data on climate change is pointing to the fact that no nation, and certainly not the ones in the Caribbean, can escape the impact of climate change. Living with climate change has become our ???new normal??? and, if not addressed effectively, could become an irreversible catastrophe.???

Noting that Barbados??? efforts to date on climate mitigation and adaptation were admirable, he proffered the view that as a nation moving into 50 years of political Independence, it had an unparalleled opportunity to become the first Green economy in the hemisphere.

He pointed out that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) provided an unprecedented window of financing that could advance the country???s quest along a climate-resilient development pathway.

The Minister continued: ???I truly welcome the progress made to date in the operationalisation of the GCF. The Government of Barbados places great hope in this new and modern institution and believes that the GCF has the potential to deliver transformative, adaptive and mitigating climate project results. We also see the GCF as a pillar of the post-2015 climate regime that will channel concessional resources that should be accessible and responsive to our needs and priorities.???

Barbados represents SIDS on the Board of the GCF and Mr. Sinckler gave the assurance that this advantage would be leveraged to advance the country???s readiness programme, and assist stakeholders to get quality projects in the pipeline for the future consideration of the Fund.

He suggested that every opportunity should be utilised to transform Barbados??? economy through the development of high impact, country-owned and innovative projects. ???Successful securitisation of GCF concessional resources can facilitate our quest to become an economically-viable, socially-balanced and environmentally-friendly modern economy,??? he remarked.

Mr. Sinckler said it was necessary for Barbados to fast track a robust readiness programme to provide support and facilitate successful adaptation and mitigation projects. In this regard, he suggested that the National Designated Authority Office, which is situated in the Division of Economic Affairs, should tap into the over US $300,000 available for readiness support that would strengthen efforts to secure high impact projects.

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