Time for Resilience: Announcing the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator

By the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition

Many of us are still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our Caribbean countries have experienced deep pain; we lost everything – our homes, our livelihoods, but we certainly did not lose our spirit. Too often we treat our problems with a Band-Aid solution hoping that the next hurricane will not hit. But as we know, Band-Aids do not do well with a 200 miles an hour hurricane! We can no longer entertain small thinking and solo endeavors. We need to come together and we need to be audacious.

To emerge from this disaster, we need to create a new narrative, a story of hope, resilience, and opportunity. Caribbean leaders are working on a bold vision for a new climate-smart future. A group of 12 Caribbean government leaders and over 30 private and public sector partners came together on December 12th, 2017 at President Macron’s “One Planet” Summit in Paris to announce the Caribbean Climate- Smart Accelerator.

Our vision is not defined by the disaster. It is a vision of hope and one that will be a beacon for island nations all over the world. This vision will create thriving economies that are fueled by clean energy. It will create a resilient design and a way of life that works with, rather than against, nature.

We need to support this initiative and help make this vision a reality. To do so, we need to change the core of how we approach development; we need to abandon the “development as usual” approach and start thinking differently, fueled by innovation and action rather than by incremental change. We need to break down the artificial barriers we created between the private sector, government, and global institutions so we can truly work together to affect change.

We are amazed at the high level of commitment to the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator by the many different organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, CARICOM, OECS, CDEMA, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, UNDP, and so many other partners. We’ve also been heartened to see the enthusiasm from the private sector and partners like The Nature Conservancy and The Green Climate Fund step up and realize the incredible opportunities the Caribbean holds.

The Caribbean can truly be a model for advancing new technologies and approaches to create a climate-smart zone that can be replicated around the world. The Accelerator needs all of your help in order to recruit the best talent and ideas into this initiative. This is our chance to realize a vision that we have had for so many years.

The opportunity for transformation is within reach, but removing the remaining barriers will not happen on its own. We need to disrupt the existing broken systems, and it will not be easy.

We need to change the rules of the game for the Small Island Developing States, to break the shackles of outdated policies that are binding them and not allowing them to build a resilient future for their people.

The audacity of this idea needs a tent, one that is big enough to hold all of us so we can realize that our global common fate is deeply connected to what is happening in the Caribbean and other small island states like Fiji and Mauritius. Tackling climate change will not only require flying higher but also learning to fly together and further than ever before.

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