BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved a grant for further development of the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordination Programme which aims to scale up financing and investment to support the transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient blue economy across the region.
The Project Preparation Facility grant, which was announced today at the 28th Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), currently underway in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will be managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The full programme, once approved, will facilitate the development and updating of blue economy frameworks at the national and regional levels, the establishment of a regional mechanism to support a more coordinated response to the Caribbean’s blue economy needs, and directly finance the implementation of innovative projects that help scale up private sector investment in a resilient and sustainable blue economy. More than 56,000 people across the Region will benefit directly from the initiative and an additional 600,000 will be indirect beneficiaries.
At the launch event, president of the CDB, Hyginus Gene Leon, said the Umbrella Coordination Programme was timely because while the Caribbean Sea has an estimated economic value of USD407 billion per year and supports multiple important marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, more than 700 species are under threat.
“Despite widespread reliance on the ocean for livelihoods, recreation, health, well-being, and culture by the Caribbean’s 19 million people, sustainable development goal 14 which speaks to life below water, is the least funded of all 17 SDGs,” Dr Leon added. “Decisive action is now critical because the Caribbean already faces multiple climate-related threats such as tropical storms, flooding, droughts, sea level rise, increasing ocean temperatures, and climate change-induced ocean acidification and now the multiple global crises of the last two years have exacerbated our vulnerability.”
Executive director of the GCF, Mafalda Duarte, said:
“The Caribbean needs approximately $175 billion by 2030 to fortify marine biodiversity, enhance sustainable fishing practices, and bolster coastal defenses against climate change. Yet less than $10 billion has been invested in these critical areas since 2015.” Duarte added, “The Green Climate Fund is ready to be a partner for transformative action. We are the world’s largest climate fund, and we are focusing efforts on coastal and marine areas.”
Philip Davis, prime minister of The Bahamas, said:
“I applaud the Green Climate Fund for its efforts to support the developing world in creating climate resilient pathways to a sustainable future,” adding, “Through this platform, Caribbean nations will be able to strengthen their blue economy frameworks and develop projects that can be replicated and scaled across the region.”
Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica expressed gratitude for the input of the GCF and other partners:
“I am very grateful for the advocacy which the Green Climate Fund is advancing on our behalf and for the Blue Co Caribbean Umbrella Coordinating Programme which is serving as a lifeline for us in accessing the resources to put a framework in place to benefit from the financing.”