The 2nd NDC Investment Forum – a three-day event hosted by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission and the Government of Saint Lucia – which concluded on Thursday July 7, 2022 and was held at the Harbor Club Hotel in Saint Lucia, brought together OECS government leaders, policymakers, regional stakeholders, investors, and international partners to discuss the adoption of alternative energy sources.
The meeting also explored the decarbonizing of the Eastern Caribbean, harnessing the power of clean energy, and ways to chart a path for environmental sustainability, while building resilience to the impacts of climate change in several sectors including water, infrastructure, agriculture, mobility (transport), and finance.
The Caribbean Nationally Determined Contributions Finance Initiative (NDCFI) was launched in 2017 with the aim of supporting the efforts of Caribbean countries in meeting their pledges under the Paris Agreement, as well as other complementary climate actions. The NDCFI was established with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through the NDC Partnership, which brings together more than 115 countries, and more than 80 institutions to create and deliver on ambitious climate action that helps achieve the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The NDC Forum was addressed by several high-level leaders, including at the time Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, Dr. Ernest Hilaire; Minister for Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Honourable Shawn Edward; H.E. Peter Chia-yen Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, and OECS Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules.
Dr. Ernest Hilaire was optimistic about the outcomes of the Forum. However he underscored the need for continued support of this initiative. In his address to the attendees he stated,
“It is my hope therefore, that this forum will provide the means for enhancing the private sector’s ability and capacity to contribute to the meaningful changes, not just at the national levels across Member States, but within the respective sectors in general. We will need to focus on ultimately building financial mechanisms to channel domestic finance and international support for implementation of our indices and other climate commitments across all sectors with all our partners.”
Throughout the three-day event, practical solutions to reducing carbon emissions were explored, such as implementing policies to increase the use of electric vehicles to building more resilient infrastructure to safeguard property and resources. Honourable Shawn Edward noted,
“Looking at the programme for this three-day forum, it is clear to me that we are moving in the right direction – From the Frontline, to the Future: Uniting the Caribbean for Bold Climate Action. There are many front lines these days, but that of climate change requires action that we build resilience across critical sectors such as water, energy, Infrastructure, transportation, finance, to name a few.”
The OECS Director General gave a sobering address with a call to action for participants to make decisive changes to weather the storms – both literal and figurative – ahead.
“In reflecting on the latest scientific projections, I wish that I could truthfully quote from the hit song of yesteryear and say that the “future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”, but, sadly, the spectre of a climate future ruled by unbridled climate change is far from bright or rosy, even when viewed through the rosiest-tinted of glasses.
“There is an old saying that, if we are not careful, we will end up where we are going. Based on the science and the stark evidence on display around the world – including unprecedented floods, cyclones and droughts – where we are headed appears to be what would once have been considered the stuff of apocalyptic fiction movies. Such a future is the antithesis of a sustainable future and, thus, “the future we don’t want”
“Yet, it is the contemplation of such a future that has galvanised the governments and people of the region to action; to pursue an alternative future- a future founded, not on fatalism, but on resolve and collective action and a belief that, along with a truly willing international community, we can turn the tide against climate change. This is the very reason that the Caribbean NDC Finance Initiative, or NDCFI was established and the very reason that we have chosen the theme of this Forum: From the Frontline to the Future: Uniting the Caribbean for Bold Climate Action.
“In short, to quote yet another song, we are “…living on the frontline..” but we can, and we must, overcome the existential climate threat by transitioning to resilient, low-carbon economies because our future, our very survival, depends on it.”
“International and regional partners affirmed their commitment to the region on the climate change frontline, including the Republic of China (Taiwan). H.E. Peter Chia-yen Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) stated that “Taiwan aims to do more than just to expedite our own climate action, but to unite with Saint Lucia, Regional organizations, other international partners to facilitate a more sustainable and resilient future.”
An essential component of the Forum was the NDC Marketplace, an in-person and virtual exhibition of service providers within the private sector that support green and climate-friendly goods and services. The 2nd NDC Investment Forum was supported by GIZ, GET.invest, the European Union, the Global Green Growth Institute, NDC Partnership, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and the Caribbean Development Bank.