BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Climate change and providing financial assistance to lessen its effects poses a critical challenge for Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS), according to Terry Morris, National Project Coordinator and Civil Society Liaison.

With these goals in mind, St. Kitts and Nevis launched a Green Climate Fund Readiness Project: “Enhancing Caribbean Civil Society’s Access and Readiness for Climate Finance.”

On October 22, Morris introduced a new Green Climate Fund Readiness Project (GFRP) and indicated Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are at a disadvantage.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is designed to build the capabilities of civil societies in assessing CSOs’ access to climate finance. It will identify and assess the effectiveness of CSO/multi-stakeholder engagement mechanisms for climate change decision-making and climate finance.

GFRPs goals are to:
• Identify ways to strengthen multi-stakeholder coordinating mechanisms for climate change decision-making; and
• Effectively engage CSOs in development, updating, monitoring, and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plans and climate finance frameworks.

“There is an urgent need to build resilience,” said Morris. He indicated the project’s goal is to build resilience in vulnerable communities among at-risk populations.

“The GCF Project will facilitate building resilience in our vulnerable communities among at-risk populations and in communities at risk to disasters and destructions,” said Morris during the program’s introduction at the National ICT Centre. “Civil society organizations are well-positioned, therefore, lead to a bottom-up approach. We believe a grassroots approach and sustainable interventions are key to addressing the issue of climate change and other environmental issues.”

Morris said the project is timely, as it sets the tone for the October 24 observance of International Day of Climate Action.

“We also acknowledge the fact that CSOs are making climate change a key element of their programming,” said Morris. “This project comes at a time when technical support, financial support, and other support are needed to ensure CSOs are positioned and have the capacity to [have] successful projects. Climate change is fast becoming a priority focus for governments and people of the Caribbean region and across the world and hence this project is very timely.”

June Hughes, Director in the Department of Environment, said that tackling the impacts of climate change requires everyone’s work and emphasized now is the time for action.

June Hughes, Director of the Department of Environment, said that tackling the impacts of climate change requires everyone’s work and emphasized now is the time for action.

“Adaptation will help our country deal with the impacts of climate change, but we still have an opportunity and a responsibility to join the fight in reversing or halting the warming trend,” said Ms. Hughes. “The key is to reduce our use and dependency on fossil fuel. We need to start practising energy conservation methods and encouraging our governments to start looking at and developing alternate sources of energy.

“Engaging and preparing our civil society to access climate finance is one of the fundamental actions required if we are to successfully manage climate change.”

Present at the meeting were representatives from civil society; media; the Department of Environment; the Department of Economic Affairs, the office where the National Designated Authority of the Green Climate Fund resides; and other government officials.