Climate change is having a huge impact on Saint Lucia. Like many small island developing states (SIDS), Saint Lucia is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its low-lying geography, limited natural resources, and reliance on tourism and agriculture. As sea levels rise, coastal areas have become more susceptible to flooding, resulting in damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses. The country’s beaches, which are a major attraction for tourists, are also facing erosion, which have reduced their aesthetic appeal and economic value. In addition, changes in rainfall patterns, including more intense and frequent rainfall, have caused landslides and other forms of climate-related disasters, threatening lives and property.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a financial mechanism established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to assist developing countries in responding to the challenges posed by climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
The Department of Economic Development, Saint Lucia’s National Designated Authority (NDA) to the GCF received grant funding to enhance the country’s understanding, capacity, institutional and strategic frameworks to build Saint Lucia’s resilience and combat these climate change impacts.
Saint Lucia’s second readiness grant titled “Enhancing Saint Lucia’s understanding, capacity, institutional and strategic frameworks to access climate finance for low-emission climate resilient pathways,” sought to build on the existing structures developed in the country’s first readiness grant. Upon completion of this second readiness in December 2022, the NDA, with delivery partner, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, has enhanced Saint Lucia’s institutional framework for accessing and coordinating climate finance; built the capacity of key national stakeholders, including the Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) as a nominated direct access entity (DAE) to the GCF; and enhanced national knowledge of climate change and climate finance.
Enhancing Institutional Frameworks
In a capacity assessment conducted in its first readiness it was noted that the NDA and its stakeholders require sufficient systems, knowledge and institutional structures to be fully effective in carrying out their roles. To address this issue through this second readiness the NDA developed a climate change website that houses a digital system for the GCF’s no-objection procedure and a system that tracks the monitoring, reporting and verification of climate finance flows for Saint Lucia.
Transferring these systems onto a digital platform allows for seamless communication and coordination between the GCF, the NDA, the National Climate Change Committee (NCCC), and among other key national stakeholders.
For example, by digitising the no-objection procedure, a process that allows member countries to review and provide feedback on proposed projects before they are considered for funding by the GCF, helps to improve country ownership, and the efficiency and transparency of the approval process for concept notes and funding proposals. Subsequently this may also enable faster disbursement of funds to support climate action in Saint Lucia.
Additionally, an online climate finance tracking system will further improve the efficiency and transparency of how climate finance is tracked and reported through the national budgeting process, especially when allocating budget for climate action. A core function of the tool and online platform is to track and monitor the flow of funds related to climate action including the sources, amounts, and allocation of climate finance received. This information can be used by government agencies, businesses, and organizations to assess the progress, impact and effectiveness of climate finance and make informed decisions about future funding and investment needs and opportunities.
The overall goal of capacity building within the GCF framework is to build national capacity and expertise to effectively plan and implement climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. A key function of capacity building under this second readiness grant was to build the human and technical capacity of the NDA and stakeholders like the SLDB — and creating a multi-purpose online system.
Through this second readiness the NDA has provided online training to members of the NCCC, including public sector, private sector and civil society entities on key climate finance topics. The purpose of the training was to provide participants with the necessary skills to prepare funding proposals and ultimately secure funding for Green Climate Fund climate change projects. A unique feature of the training enabled participants to learn these skills through developing their project ideas into a draft GCF concept note. The six-month online climate finance training was facilitated by ECo Ltd.
The Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) received further capacity building support to enhance their readiness to achieve accreditation to the GCF as a Direct Access Entity. This accreditation will enable SLDB to directly access funds from the GCF to carry out climate change projects in Saint Lucia. The capacity building support provided to SLDB sought to enhance the Bank’s capacity to participate as a key stakeholder in the implementation of Saint Lucia’s Country Programme.
Capacity building for the SLDB addressed capacity gaps in policies, processes and management of climate change projects, including fiduciary and risk management. As well as on enhancing the Bank’s attractiveness as a project development partner and to enhance the Bank’s reputation and visibility as a climate finance partner. A communication strategy was developed that seeks to enhance SLDB’s presence on social and traditional media, and the development of videos, brochures and other graphic content for use through these media channels.
Through its capacity building programme, the NDA was able to foster closer collaboration and coordination among a range of different stakeholders, which is essential for achieving Saint Lucia’s climate change and sustainable development priorities.
Enhancing national knowledge of climate change and climate finance
Enhancing national knowledge of climate change and climate finance is important because it can help the government and citizens of Saint Lucia to better understand the risks they face and to lobby and develop strategies for mitigating and adapting to those risks.
Climate finance refers to the financial resources that are available to help countries tackle climate change. This can include funding from international organizations, like the Green Climate Fund, governments, and private sector sources. By understanding the different sources of climate finance and how to access them, Saint Lucia can more effectively tap into these resources to support national climate change efforts.
Through this current readiness the NDA has updated its communication strategy and roadmap and created a series communication tools, including a public service announcement (PSA) to be aired on national broadcast stations in the coming months, website content and other infographic content to explain key features about the GCF. The PSA informs the public on who the GCF is, climate change and outputs of this current readiness.
The NDA also hosted a series of knowledge sharing forums, or “South-South Knowledge Exchange Series”, where both online and in person attendees from within Saint Lucia, the Caribbean and beyond were informed on and shared their expertise, experiences and lessons on key climate finance issues. The sessions were held throughout 2022 in March, May and October and covered topics such as funding proposal development, the accreditation process and climate finance tracking.
Through its interactions with the GCF and other sources of climate finance, the Department of Economic Development and its partners like the Department of Sustainable Development, is advancing its longer-term goal to streamline national investments in climate-resilient infrastructure and clean energy technologies, to create new jobs and businesses, and lay the foundation for long-term sustainable development. The ultimate end goal is to reduce poverty, inequality, and create a more prosperous and sustainable Saint Lucia for all.