By Editor-June 26th, 2023.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), hosted an Environmental Sustainability Conference at the Bay Gardens Hotel in Saint Lucia from June 13-15.
The theme for the Conference was, “Positioning OECS SIDS for Accelerated and Sustainable Transformation.”
This meeting was in preparation for the 10th Council of Ministers Meeting on Environmental Sustainability (COM:ES-10) in July 2023.
Head of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Division, Chamberlain Emmanuel, told the participants: “We are here to help shape and reshape priorities, approaches and mechanisms that will influence and guide how the regional integration architecture through the OECS Council of Ministers for Environmental Sustainability will deliver its mandate in collaboration with Member States, partners and stakeholders.
“Our wish is for open and full engagement, transparent and constructive criticism, practical recommendations, innovative approaches, and enhancement of impactful solutions and partnerships.”
Dr. Jamie Cavelier, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at ICCF Group and former Senior Biodiversity Specialist at the Global Environment Facility (GEF), gave a clarion call in his feature address to the participants.
“It is in the interest of governments to realise that funding for nature is an investment, not an expense.”
He added that if investments in natural capital are not made right now, the social and economic costs increase in the future and will “disproportionately impact the poor women and children … Investments made now will reduce resource requirements in the future.”
Another critical segment on Sustainable Financing Mechanisms (SFM) examined the findings of an SFM assessment conducted by expertise from 17 Assets Management.
The results indicated that “there are a lot of resources to finance sustainable development in the region, but the reality is that because of the number of players, their distinct objectives, and unique operational profiles, the current landscape is extremely complex.”
“OECS Member States still have difficulty taking advantage of these financing mechanisms” according to Senior Adviser with the firm, Mr. Christian Wayne.
The assessment outlined several recommendations on the way forward, which included optimising the existing ecosystem and the engagement approach, which can potentially unlock untapped resources from the current financing ecosystem(s).