On Friday, 17, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM) in the Americas promoted a hybrid – online and in-person – workshop at the Caribbean Urban Forum 2022, focusing on unlocking technical and financial tools for climate action by cities in the region. Currently, six Caribbean cities are members of the GCoM.
The workshop was a partnership with the European Union in Barbados, represented by the Programme Manager in the Green Economy and Resilience section, Jose Legarra. To discuss the issues of the technical and financial needs that cities in the Caribbean have in order to progress with their climate commitments, the event included the participation of Joseph Williams, representing the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Paolo Bertoldi, representing the European Joint Research Centre; and Yoland Jno Jules, representing the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA).
In the opening remarks, the EUD representative, Jose Legarra, explained that the EU provides resources to support the GCoM across the Americas in technical assistance, events and for supporting urban climate change diplomacy. “The Caribbean region is one of the more exposed to climate change, so we need to help all the cities in the region get access to more advanced science and data available to understand better the risks. Access to this data is key to shaping public policy, ensuring increasing resilience for these cities.
Jordan Harris, Program Coordinator of the GCoM Americas project, facilitated the event. In his opening remarks, Harris pointed out the relevance of the collective need to face climate change and called attention to the challenges and goals for the region.
“We understand that there is an urgency for action, especially in a region such as the Caribbean that is one of the most vulnerable to climate change in the world. The GCoM seeks to empower local governments to engage in contributing from the local level to international climate agendas. Our focus is on strengthening capacities of local decision makers to allow them to fulfill the commitment they take on as part of the GCoM, as well as to support them in implementation,” stated Harris.
The Principal Administrator at the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Paolo Bertoldi, explained the focus of the GCoM on adaptation, mitigation and access to energy and the instruments to translate cities’ commitments into climate action.
“It is very important that cities, communities, and municipalities take actions at the local level. Your region is not only beautiful, but it is also suffering from climate change. Though, as I see, there are a lot of cities committed to doing something about it,” – stated Bertoldi.
The Coordinator for Sustainable Energy at the Caribbean Development Bank, Joseph Williams, stated that resilience is an important part of the CDB climate strategy and is part of the bank’s mission. “We now think of resilience in an abroad and holistic way, so we talk about economic resilience and social resilience because these are interconnected,” he said.
For Calga representative Yoland Jno Jules, it is as important to deliver on strategy as it is to support implementation. “We are working with countries to assist local authorities in the preparation, implementation, and monitoring of all the climate action,” declared Jules, explaining the work carried out by Calga in the last years.
During the event, an important announcement was also made, regarding the chance for up to 5 cities from the Caribbean to apply for dedicated technical support from the JRC, in order to develop comprehensive Climate Action Plans. In this way, GCoM will be working closely with the EUD in Barbados and the JRC, in order to identify potential candidates, and launch a program of capacity building and technical support to last over a period of up to two years.
About the Caribbean Urban Forum
CUF 2022 is a three-day Conference for land use practitioners, policymakers, academics, and allied professionals interested in urban and land management issues within the Caribbean. The theme of this year is “Beyond COVID: Recovery-Renewable-Resilience”, which calls on the planning profession to recognize the significance of climate change adaptation and hazard vulnerability reduction measures for future sustainable development patterns.