New Coalition Supports Caribbean Efforts to Become First Climate-smart Zone
UN Photo/Logan Abassi
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The Accelerator will implement climate solutions for resilience, renewable energy, sustainable urban development, oceans and transportation.

It will also focus on, among other things, harnessing national and regional capacity and development experience of Caribbean countries; linking with global innovation and delivery capacity; and disaster preparedness, recovery and resilience.

Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt announced an annual climate-smart US$50,000 Speed Award, which will celebrate examples of “innovative, transformative” efforts of countries, businesses and entrepreneurs, and community leaders.

9 August 2018: The Caribbean is one step closer to achieving its goal of becoming the world’s first “climate-smart zone” with the launch of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a coalition comprised of 26 countries and more than 40 private and public sector partners, which aims to “implement transformative climate action.”

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno, Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson and World Bank Vice President Jorge Familiar launched the Accelerator on 9 August 2018 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Over the next five years, the Accelerator will: implement climate solutions for resilience, renewable energy, sustainable urban development, oceans and transportation; create jobs; support the development of climate-smart infrastructure; build on existing regional and national strategies; and promote collaboration and partnerships between national governments, regional and international institutions, and public and private sector organizations.

A climate-smart zone seeks to incorporate one or more of the SDGs in all government-sponsored projects.

It will also focus on: harnessing national and regional capacity and development experience of Caribbean countries; linking with global innovation and delivery capacity; disaster preparedness, recovery and resilience; investing in low-carbon development; breaking down barriers to climate-smart growth; and facilitating and sharing knowledge.

According to a World Bank definition, a climate-smart zone seeks to: 1) reduce climate vulnerability and build economic security; 2) reduce emissions from transportation; 3) support the blue economy; 4) ensure healthy ecosystems on land for food security; 5) enhance energy security through the promotion of energy efficiency, renewable energy and use of low-carbon sources; and 6) incorporate one or more of the SDGs in all government-sponsored projects.

The launch comes as many commitments have already been made and projects undertaken towards achieving the Accelerator’s goals, including:

  • the IDB’s commitment to programme and implement a US$1 billion pledge made at the One Planet Summit in December 2017;
  • US$3 million in IDB start-up funds for the Accelerator;
  • a US$300 million project in Grenada to create the world’s first climate-smart city with initial support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  • ocean resiliency efforts in Belize;
  • a three-year World Bank commitment of US$1 million annually in in-kind services for the Accelerator, and an almost US$2 billion portfolio focused on strengthening resilience and financial protection against disasters; and
  • Airbnb hosting disaster survivors and relief workers free of charge.

Accelerator Ambassadors Jamaican musician Sean Paul and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt will promote climate-smart action in the region and globally. During the launch, Bolt announced an annual climate-smart US$50,000 Speed Award, which will celebrate examples of “innovative, transformative” efforts of countries, businesses and entrepreneurs, and community leaders, as well as adaptation initiatives. The first winners will be announced in June 2019.

Some of the 40 organizations involved in the Accelerator include the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, the Clinton Foundation, Airbnb, The Nature Conservancy, Tesla, the Virgin Group, Zero Mass Water and the World Bank. The Accelerator is the first high-level commitment to come out of the One Planet Summit that convened in December 2017. [World Bank Press Release] [Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator]


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