The Commonwealth Secretariat has assigned National Climate Finance Adviser Winston Bennett to work with Barbados in 2018 to help government, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and other groups build capacity to access climate finance
The Commonwealth Secretariat has assigned National Climate Finance Adviser Winston Bennett to work with Barbados in 2018 to help government, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and other groups build capacity to access climate finance.
The appointment comes in response to Barbados’ Economic Affairs Division’s request to receive support in improving the skills and expertise of staff, ministries and organisations that undertake the formulation, application and submission of climate funding requests.
In addition, Bennett will assist in the production of higher quality project proposals, which would help in accessing available climate funding, and will promote the climate financing work in order to garner greater interest.
Climate finance refers to the funds channelled by regional, national and international bodies for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects or programmes.
Billions of US dollars have been pledged through the Paris Climate Agreement, with climate-vulnerable states like Barbados keen to capitalise on the funding.
The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change by all nations committing to combat climate change and adapting to its effects, including by supporting efforts in developing countries.
Its central aim is to encourage a global response to keep a global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Large-scale investments are critical to significantly reducing emissions, particularly in sectors that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, and climate finance is equally important for adaptation as large financial resources are needed for countries to counter the adverse effects and reduce the impact of climate change.
A network of national climate financial advisers is therefore being positioned in host governments and regional organisations, like the CARICOM Climate Change Centre, to enable information and advice on building capacity to be shared.
Three advisers have already been appointed in Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda, alongside four in Africa.
As National Climate Financial Adviser in Barbados, Bennett is introducing the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub Pilot Programme, an initiative that will give small, vulnerable countries improved access to financial resources to meet development needs.
To help identify all the funding opportunities for which Barbados is eligible, he is commissioning the development of a user-friendly climate finance database, which will also explain the criteria for accessing funds and clarify the relevant sub areas under mitigation and adaptation.
Bennett urged those with climate-related projects or concepts to contact the focal point for the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub Pilot Programme, the Economic Affairs Division.
He has also met with representatives of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Barbados Renewable Energy Association to discuss energy waste, where he suggested that the improved design and outfitting of buildings would make them more energy efficient and could result in financial savings.
He also highlighted the impact of climate change on water scarcity, where water sources are compromised by rising sea levels.
Bennett praised a pilot project initiated in St Lucia where hotels harvested rain water and recycled waste water for non-essential purposes like gardening.
He encouraged Barbadian hoteliers to implement similar projects, as more water would then be made publicly available from the Barbados Water Authority.
Furthermore, the energy efficient building and water conservation initiatives could be used as important marketing tools for businesses, Bennett suggested, as reductions in their carbon footprint would send a popular message to customers and clients.
Studies have estimated that between US$5-6 trillion per year would be required for the next 15 years to invest in infrastructure that supports low carbon transition.
It is estimated that 60% of this would need to be invested in new infrastructure in developing countries, with the remainder used to replace the existing infrastructure in developed countries.
Currently, only $40-175 billion per year is being pledged by developed countries for climate change-related initiatives in developing countries.
Bennett is quoted in the Nation News as having said: “The problem is that access to these funds has been difficult for developing countries due to many reasons.
“The Commonwealth saw an opportunity to intervene to unlock the climate finances for developing countries by establishing a Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub.
“The creation of the database was not part of the original terms of reference, but senior economist in the Economic Affairs Division, Kelly Hunte, thought the database would be an important element to add, as it would assist Barbados to map projects to various climate funding envelopes.
“By the end of November, we will have a good working database, and we will put procedures in place for updating it on a regular basis, in case, for example, a new fund envelope emerges or criteria have been changed.”
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