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CARIBBEAN AIMS TO BECOME WORLD’S FIRST CLIMATE SMART ZONE

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26 countries and 40+ private sector partners create coalition to fast track climate action across the Caribbean

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  • Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, President of the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson and World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar today announced the launch of the Caribbean Climate-Smart
  • The Accelerator’s ambitious goal is to work with this unprecedented group of partners to make the Caribbean the world’s first climate-smart
  • The Coalition behind the Accelerator has grown to 26 countries covering a region of 1 million square miles and over 40 million people
  • 8 Times Olympic Gold Medal Winner Usain Bolt, an Ambassador of the Accelerator, announced the Caribbean Accelerator’s $50,000 ‘Speed Award’ recognizing leading countries, business and individuals working towards a climate smart
  • The Inter-American Development Bank announced that it will partner with the Accelerator to program and implement the $1 billion in funds that it pledged at President Macron’s Paris One Planet
  • Global music superstar Sean Paul was announced with Bolt as Accelerator They will be promoting the Accelerator’s call for climate-smart action in the region and globally.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group assisting The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica with a more climate-friendly dress code

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group assisting The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica with a more climate-friendly dress code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kingston, Jamaica, August 9, 2018. A ground-breaking partnership to support the Caribbean’s ambition to become the world’s first ‘climate-smart zone’ launched today. 8 Times Olympic Gold Medal Winner Usain Bolt was in attendance to help fire the starting pistol for the Caribbean Climate- Smart Accelerator, which will be led by the Caribbean leaders to create the world’s first climate- smart zone.

(L – R) Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group at the Launch of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator

The Accelerator has created an unprecedented coalition including 26 countries and over 40 private and public sector partners which will implement climate solutions for resilience, renewable energy, development of sustainable cities, oceans and transportation. This climate-smart zone will not only protect the region but create jobs and a new economy in climate-smart infrastructure.

Sir Richard Branson (centre), Founder of Virgin Group, with the private sector representatives being acknowledged for their significant climate-smart endeavours: (L – R) Harris Bostic II, Senior Strategic Advisor, Tides, Kellie Bentz, Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief, Airbnb, Cody Friesen, Zero Mass Water, Johanan Dujo, Founder, Algas Company, with the Honourable Usain St. Leo Bolt, 8 Time Olympic Gold Medallist

The Caribbean Accelerator has a vision which builds from the strategies of regional governments and agencies, including CARICOM and OECS. Although it has only just launching, it has already started to lay the foundations for success with initial Caribbean Climate-Smart projects including:

  • IDB’s US$1billion commitment to climate-smart investments: The Inter-American Development Bank announced that it will partner with the Accelerator to program and implement the additional $1 billion in funds that it pledged for climate smart-investments across the Caribbean region at the Paris One Planet summit. This additional funding will build on an existing portfolio of over $200 million to support innovative solutions focusing on low carbon emissions, sustainable infrastructure and energy efficiency projects in the wake of natural disasters, drawing from low-cost blended finance and contingent credit facilities.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

Sir Richard Branson
Photo Credit: John Armstrong

  • The IDB also announced that they will provide $3 million as start-up funds to the Accelerator to help get this important initiative successfully up and running, with the first $1.5 million available this year.
  • Grenada Climate Smart City: The Government of Grenada announced the start of the implementation of a $300m project to create the world’s first “climate-smart city” with initial support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help catalyse the Closely following a recent GCF investment into Grenada for a $48.7m climate-smart water project
  • Ocean Resiliency: An anonymous entrepreneur is investing $2m to support the Belize government’s ocean protection efforts, ocean advocacy across the Caribbean, and entrepreneurs deploying business solutions to benefit the ocean like Algas Organics, which is turning the sargassum nightmare into a business opportunity creating fertilizer to support a thriving agricultural sector in the
  • The World Bank Group: The World Bank announced a three-year commitment of $1 million annually in in-kind services for the Accelerator, and is supporting Caribbean countries with an almost US$2 billion portfolio focused on strengthening resilience and financial protection against disasters – including US$1 billion in concessional financing from the International Development Association (IDA).
  • Airbnb: In partnership with the Accelerator, Airbnb is helping to weave a community of hosts who are ready to respond and build a more resilient The company is doing this by allowing hosts to open their homes to disaster survivors and relief workers free of charge. Hosts waive their fees and Airbnb waives theirs. To date, over 11,000 people in need have been housed through the Open Homes program and it’s now expanded to the Caribbean.
  • Zero Mass Water, a member of Breakthrough Energy Coalition, are solving the drinking water problems for the pediatric wards of 2 major hospitals in Jamaica, through the installation of 20 of their Source Hydropanls, which will make clean, filtered drinking water out of air for the next fifteen
  • Accelerator Speed Award: Usain Bolt announced an annual climate-smart “Speed Award”. Identifying the best initiatives across countries, companies, communities and individuals. The first winners will be announced in June
  • Sean Paul a Grammy award winning Jamaican Musician, was announced as an official Ambassador of the Accelerator, with a focus on
  • The TIDES Foundation announced a generous grant of $200,000 to the

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group and Usain Bolt meeting the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica on arrival at the launch of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator

Caribbean institutions and agencies – including governments, CARICOM and the OECS – have already started to use the Accelerator’s unique platform of public and private stakeholders to make a difference.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group having a quick chat with Usain Bolt

Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness said: “Being climate-smart means putting the people of the Caribbean at the centre of all we do – to protect them from the challenges of climate change. The Caribbean Accelerator will also encourage job creation, social inclusion and economic growth. These benefits will only come when Governments, the international community and the private sector work together to overcome barriers and generate the investment that will benefit us all. That is why I am excited by the potential of the Accelerator to join the Caribbean with global partners who share our vision to see investment grow in the years ahead.”

l-r Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, The Honourable Usain St. Leo Bolt, 8-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Ambassador of the Accelerator Speed Award and Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

Luis Alberton Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank has played a key role in bringing together a multinational coalition of public and private partners to fast track public and private investments over the next five years.

l-r Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group and The Honourable Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica

Luis Alberto Moreno the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, stated: “The IDB Group reaffirms its continued and historical commitment to the Caribbean and will work with leaders of the region to improve lives by creating climate-smart and vibrant economies, where people are safe, productive, and happy. We hope that through this Climate Smart Coalition, in addition to offering new affordable financing, we will use the IDB’s extensive regional experience and presence on the ground to work closely with the people of the region to design their Caribbean of the future, today”

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group assisting The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica with a more climate-friendly dress code

Speaking at the event today Sir Richard Branson said: “Our goal is ambitious and bold: we are creating the world’s first climate-smart zone. We have a vision of a Caribbean which is greener, stronger and more resilient than ever before – built on innovation, powered by clean, sustainable energy and accelerated by public and private investment.”

(L – R) Dr. Angus Friday, Advisor, Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, Luis Alfonso de Alba, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico, Jorge Familiar Calderon, Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, World Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Christy Butcher, CEO & Founder, Writing Legends, Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, The Honourable Usain Bolt, 8 Time Olympic Gold Medallist, H.E. Didacus Jules, Director General, OECS, Dr. Neville Bissember, Adviser to the Secretary General, CARICOM, Dr. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Belize

Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, said: “We are committed to a stronger, more resilient, and climate-smart Caribbean. Working together, bringing in international partners and increasing private sector participation will be key to maximize financing for development and create opportunities for all.”

Belize Reef

The coalition was first announced in Paris last December (https://www.caribbeanaccelerator.org/) and since then it has grown from 11 to 26 Caribbean countries, with over 40 private sector partners to implement informative climate action across the Caribbean region.

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