The Caribbean will be home to the world’s first “climate start zone”, an initiative dedicated to the discovering new ways to break through the systemic obstacles that stall the flow of finances to climate-conscious investments.
The announcement at the One Planet Summit in Paris Tuesday when the international assembly was called to discuss progress made since the signing of the Paris Agreement two years ago.
The ambitious strategy centres around the belief that with the right domestic and international reforms, the world and the Caribbean can be weaned off its dependency on fossil fuels to adopt renewable sources.
The plan will set the foundation for a US$8 billion investment plan to strengthen the Caribbean infrastructure for long-term resilience and transform 100 percent of the 3.2 million homes across the region to energy efficient households.
“This is a great first step. Now we need to turn this possibility into a set of realities that benefit all our people,” said Grenada Prime Minister and CARICOM chair Keith Mitchell.
“We all need to work together to change the rules of the game to accelerate climate-smart financial flows for the Caribbean and other small island developing states. Together we can build thriving economies fuelled by clean energy, nature-based resilient design and innovation. The time for action is now,” he said.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told the international delegation that, through September’s hurricanes wrought immeasurable suffering to the Caribbean, its residents will not become passive victims of climate change.
“Rather, they want to be active participants in designing and implementing solutions, and for their Caribbean region to serve as a beacon of hope for island nations all over the world,” Skerrit said.
“Ultimately, we will only win the battle on climate change when investments in climate action and broader resilience become the economically sensible decision to make every time,” said Allen Chastanet, prime minister of Saint Lucia.
“It’s not just about protecting against negative impacts – climate action needs to be about enhancing competitiveness, creating jobs, improving our economies," he added.
The announcement was met with a host of international investors and supporters including the Inter-American Development Bank Group, the World Bank Group, UN Development Program, and the Caribbean Development Bank.