Nearly three months after Hurricane Irma, this territory and the United States Virgin Islands, along with nine other Caribbean states, development banks, energy companies and other organisations, have created an alliance to combat the effects of climate change in the region.

The Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition hopes to increase the use of renewable energy, build more resilient infrastructure and better manage natural resources like mangroves and coral reefs — which they estimate would help 3.2 million Caribbean households.

The coalition was formed last week in Paris at the One Planet Summit, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, two years after the historic Paris Agreement.

And this time around, Caribbean leaders and investors were motivated to do more, especially after this year’s hurricane season.

“The culture of the Caribbean is firmly tied to the coastal and island ecosystems of these communities,” one international partner, The Nature Conservancy, wrote in the coalition’s charter. “We will bring our expertise to restore and protect these ecosystems for building cost effective adaptive capacity in response to the devastating impacts that played out during this past Atlantic Hurricane Season.”

Financing

The partners of the coalition, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, will work to access $8 billion for the ambitious plan.

The end goal: to make the Caribbean “the world’s first climate-smart zone.”

Sir Richard Branson, who also joined the coalition, spoke about the importance of addressing climate change in the long-term after the One Planet Summit.

“I’ve seen the deep pain that the people of the BVI and other Caribbean countries have experienced [after the hurricanes]. … Too often we treat the symptoms with band-aid solutions hoping that the next hurricane will not hit,” he wrote on his Virgin Unite blog.

“The Caribbean can truly be a model of accelerating new technologies and approaches to create a smart climate zone that can be replicated around the world.”

An “independent team” will update the coalition on a quarterly basis and reconvene with the group annually.

In their charter, partners said they hoped to complete the initiative by 2022 after their vision is “fully embedded in ongoing development processes.”

 

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 21, 2017 edition.