Sinckler speaks on climate change
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jul 12, CMC – Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Christopher Sinckler has likened the Caribbean’s vulnerability to climate changes as a “sword of Damocles hanging over our development” and wants donor countries and financial institutions to adopt a more humane approach to middle income countries seeking funding to deal with climate change.
Sinckler told a conference on Climate Change Financing and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) organised by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank and the German agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) that the region is faced with the projected economic losses of between five and 30 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) annually.
He said the region’s extreme vulnerability to climatic events exacerbated by climate change and its access to multilateral funds was still a challenge.
“Historically, countries from this region have not received their fair share of international climate change support due to our capacity constraints. Also of concern is the rigid application of ‘graduation’ by multilateral financial institutions.
“For many of us middle income developing countries, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to access grant and concessionary financing for climate change…I wish to suggest a more reasonable, flexible, fair and humane approach,” Sinckler told the conference that ends here on Friday.
He said that the gravity and scale of the climate change threat to highly exposed middle income developing countries, demanded an approach similar to that used to address financing national responses to HIV/AIDS – the implications of which are no less than the scourge posed by HIV/AIDS.
Given this situation, Sinckler called for the “operationalising and capitalising” of the Global Climate Fund by next year in keeping with the vision espoused by its founders.
He also offered suggestions on how this could be achieved.
“In my capacity as Minister of Finance…developed countries should collectively agree that the initial capitalisation of the GCF should be no less than US$10 billion per year to start with…Secondly, these resources provided should be new and additional public money and thirdly, a clear timeline for the operationalisation of capitalisation of the GCF must be established to provide certainty to developing countries.”
Sinckler said the GCF would greatly assist the region in making the transition to low carbon climate societies that would lead to: new growth sectors particularly in the area of renewable energy and opportunities for private sector investments; climate proofing of new and existing infrastructure especially coastal infrastructure, thereby providing a form of economic stimulus to our economies; and improved competitiveness and energy security through the use of indigenous sources of energy.
The GCF was established in 2010 under the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention. It was created to be the main global fund for climate change by channelling billions of new financial resources to developing countries.