Barbados could become first green economy in the West, minister says

(Caribbean360) Finance Minister Chris Sinckler believes Barbados could become the first green economy in the Western hemisphere.

He says the country’s efforts to date on climate mitigation and adaptation were admirable and, as it moves into 50 years of Independence, it had “an unparalleled opportunity” to take that title.

And he says the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – a multilateral fund that provides grants and concessional loans for projects and programmes that enable developing countries to boost sustainable development, whilst curbing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change – offers an unprecedented window of financing that could advance the country’s quest.

“I truly welcome the progress made to date in the operationalization 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,” the minister said as he addressed a a National Sensitization and Readiness Consultation on the GCF Readiness Programme.

“Successful securitization of GCF concessional resources can facilitate our quest to become an economically-viable, socially-balanced and environmentally-friendly modern economy.”

Barbados represents small island developing states (SIDS) on the Board of the GCF and 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 utilized to transform Barbados’ economy through the development of high impact, country-owned and innovative projects.

The finance minister added that it was necessary for Barbados to fast track a robust readiness programme to provide support and facilitate successful adaptation and mitigation projects.

Sinckler’s comments came as he warned that the threat of climate change is “real, serious and growing” and therefore requires urgent attention.

“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,” he warned.

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