BELIZE CITY, Fri. Mar. 26, 2021– Over two hundred participants engaged in a virtual regional dialogue that was hosted by Caribbean governments and civil society from March 16 to 18, 2021, under the theme “Delivering Caribbean Climate Ambitions: Climate Finance, Civil Society and Partnerships.” The dialogue was centered on how civil society can play a role in delivering climate finance and building local resilience through greater investment and support from governments and the private sector.
The regional dialogue was organized as part of a wider project known as the “Enhancing Caribbean civil society’s access and readiness for climate finance,” which is being implemented from February 2020 to August 2022 by national bodies that have been designated as the representatives of their respective CARICOM countries which will be on the frontline of the effort to access support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The Climate Change Division in the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change in Jamaica is the lead authority in the initiative, and the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is serving as the implementing entity for the project. The project’s scope includes the CARICOM region, with targeted activities in Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Suriname.
Those in attendance at the regional dialogue included leading regional and national civil society organizations (CSO), national authorities, regional agencies, funders and international partners. A press release was published on March 26, 2021 which highlighted the main themes of the dialogue, which included: options for accessing climate finance with a focus on civil society’s role and capacity, expanding multi-stakeholder engagement in climate change decision-making, and leveraging partnerships to realize climate ambitions.
Presentations were made by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador for Climate Change and representative for the Chair, Alliance for Small Island States, H.E. Mrs. Diann Black-Layne, who discussed the engagement of CSO’s and her country’s GCF projects accredited at US$ 50 million due to their “ambitious program” to engage those CSO’s. GCF’s Regional Manager for the Caribbean and Brazil, Division of Country Programming, Dr. Orville Grey, also spoke about the inclusion of local communities and indigenous peoples as forefront stakeholders in the development of GCF programs for the Caribbean.
The Executive Director for (CANARI), Ms. Nicole Leotaud, said, “Civil society are doing amazing work on the ground, particularly reaching the most vulnerable, and can deliver climate action. We need to invest in them, and we should not discount even the micro and small grants that support hundreds of small CSOs across the region. This includes working with Caribbean CSOs as intermediaries for large funds to channel resources to the ground, leveraging their local knowledge and relationships and their cost-effective systems.”
During the final day of the dialogue, the launch of a Caribbean Climate Finance Action Network was also announced, which is tasked with keeping the conversation going after the conclusion of the virtual meeting. As stated in the release, the network will bring together key civil society organizations, as well as government and private sector stakeholders for shared learning, partnership building and developing practical solutions to improve access to and delivery of climate finance in the region.