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Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 22, 2020 (SKNIS): Climate change continues to pose a critical challenge for Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and civil society organizations (CSOs) have little access to and engagement in climate finance mechanisms.  As such, St. Kitts and Nevis launched a Green Climate Fund Readiness Project: “Enhancing Caribbean Civil Society’s Access and Readiness for Climate Finance.”

The project, which will be implemented by Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), is designed to build the capacities of civil societies in assessing CSOs’ access to climate finance; and to identify and assess the effectiveness of CSO/ multi-stakeholder engagement mechanisms for climate change decision-making and climate finance.  It will also identify ways that will 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.

Terry Morris, National Project Coordinator and Civil Society Liaison, touched briefly on the importance of the project.

“There is an urgent need to build resilience. The GCF project will facilitate such as we seek to build resilience in our vulnerable communities among at-risk populations and in communities that are at risk to disasters and destructions,” he said, during the launch on October 22, at the National ICT Centre. “Civil society organizations are well-positioned, therefore, to lead that bottom-up approach. We believe that a grassroots approach to being able to have sustainable interventions is key to addressing the whole issue of climate change and other environmental issues.”

Mr. Morris said that the project is timely as it sets the tone for the Observance of International Day Climate Action on October 24, 2020.

“We also acknowledge the fact that Community Service Organizations are making climate change a key element of their programming and so this project comes in at a time when the technical support, the financial support, and the other support that is needed to ensure that CSOs are positioned and have the capacity to [have] successful projects,” he said. “Also, 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 the work of everyone and the time for action is now.

“While adaptation will help our country deal with the impacts of climate change, we still have an opportunity and indeed 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 we need to start encouraging our governments to start looking at and developing alternate sources of energy.”

She added that “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 (NDA) of the Green Climate Fund resides, and other government officials.

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