A Regional Climate Finance Fund For A Low-Carbon, Climate-Resilient CARICOM

By Dr. Ulric Trotz & Dr. Terrence Blackman

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Aug. 15, 2023: Climate change poses significant challenges for Guyana and the Caribbean, necessitating a combination of mitigation and adaptation strategies to combat its effects. Mitigation focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable practices, while adaptation addresses managing the consequences of climate change. Guyana and the Caribbean need all-of-the-above: climate-resilient infrastructure, water management, and disaster preparedness to cope with extreme weather events.

Concretely, Guyana and the Caribbean region face shared challenges due to climate change, necessitating tailored adaptation strategies to address their vulnerabilities. Climate-resilient infrastructure is crucial to withstand extreme weather events, while water management practices ensure water availability during droughts and floods. Integrated coastal zone management plans protect vulnerable coastlines from sea-level rise and storm surges. Disaster preparedness, including early warning systems, enhances response and recovery capabilities.

Climate-smart agriculture, incorporating drought-resistant crops and improved water management, helps farmers adapt to changing climate conditions. Sustainable forestry and land use practices preserve ecosystems and reduce vulnerability. Ecosystem-based adaptation measures, such as mangrove restoration and reef protection, promote natural resilience.

Promoting renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Engaging local communities in adaptation planning builds the capacity for effective responses.

The list goes on, each requiring significant, long-term investment.

Collectively implementing these strategies can foster regional resilience, safeguarding livelihoods, and ecosystems for future generations. Emphasizing long-term vision, these efforts could contribute to a sustainable and climate-resilient future for Guyana and the Caribbean.

But for developing countries like those in the Caribbean, immediate access to sufficient climate finance remains a major obstacle to implementing climate change measures.

International movement has been limited and years behind promised schedules. The Green Climate Fund’s slow capitalization and limited capacity hinder the financing required for adaptation efforts. Unsustainable debt and middle-income country designations further impede access to concessional funding. As loans for climate action are unaffordable, developing countries advocate for grant funding for adaptation, loss, and damage.

Efforts have been made to reform debt and increase lending capacity within multilateral development banks. The World Bank’s inclusion of ‘climate-resilient debt clauses’ in new lending agreements and plans to leverage private sector capital offer potential solutions. However, private sector finance is more feasible for mitigation projects than adaptation actions, which often generate public goods and are less attractive to investors.

CARICOM countries must strengthen institutions and processes for climate-related projects and implement green tagging in budgets. Seeking accreditation for climate finance and upgrading procurement, transparency, and reporting standards are also vital.

It is ironic at this moment that the lack of international movement on access to finance has made oil and gas one of the only places developing countries can access sufficient revenues to pay for costly mitigation and adaptation, but it will likely remain true for the foreseeable future.

Leveraging the oil and gas moment in Guyana and Suriname can facilitate the region’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient area through smart allocation and investment of revenues for the long term.

A regional investment fund, funded by various sources, can supplement climate finance to expedite climate resilience programs. Encouraging CARICOM countries to take control of such a fund regionally will lead to faster implementation amid slow progress in securing promised climate finance.

Collectively, these adaptation strategies enhance regional resilience, safeguarding livelihoods and ecosystems for future generations. Amid climate change’s urgency, Guyana and the Caribbean must take proactive steps toward a sustainable and climate-resilient future.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Ulric Trotz, formerly the Science Adviser at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize, is a highly accomplished and knowledgeable scientist who has significantly contributed to his field. He has held various leadership positions, including Director of the Science & Technology Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary of the Commonwealth Science Council, and Science Adviser to the Commonwealth Secretary General. He has also served as Secretary-General of the National Science Research Council in Guyana and as Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Guyana. From 1980 to 1991, Dr. Trotz was Guyana’s Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology Director.

Dr. Terrence Richard Blackman, associate professor of mathematics and a founding member of the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics at Medgar Evers College, is a member of the Guyanese diaspora. He is a former Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professor at MIT and a Visitor to The School of Mathematics at The Institute for Advanced Study. Dr. Blackman has previously served as Chair of the Mathematics Department and Dean of the School of Science, Health, and Technology at Medgar Evers College, where he has worked for almost thirty years. He graduated from Queen’s College, Guyana, Brooklyn College, CUNY, and the City University of New York Graduate School. He is the Founder of the Guyana Business Journal & Magazine

5 Benefits Of Blockchain In Fighting Corruption In The Caribbean And Latin America

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Aug. 18, 2023: The Caribbean and Latin America are known for their gorgeous tourist attractions, stunning beaches, and unfortunately, corruption. In Latin America, the OECD Development Center found that only 1 in 4 citizens trust their political leaders.

Corruption in the Caribbean isn’t any better and is nearing the bottom of the corruption perception index with Barbados’ score decreased from 76 in 2012 to 65 in 2022, the Bahamas’ score decreased from 71 to 64, and St. Lucia’s score decreased from 71 to just 55.

But, how can blockchain help with fighting corruption in the Caribbean and Latin America? Well, let’s find out!

Transparency and Accountability

Blockchain is more than just a tool for crypto market makers. Its key features, like immutability and decentralization, make it a pretty effective tool that promotes transparency. While this might not sound like a big deal, corrupt governments thrive on secrecy and back-room deals. This is where blockchain comes in.

Blockchain technology limits fraudulent practices due to its transparency. Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously expanding list of ordered records called blocks. These records cannot be altered or manipulated.

If a government were to incorporate blockchain into its systems, records of bids, financial transactions, and tender offers can’t be altered once they’re submitted. These also become public records, which means those actions will be open for everyone to see.

With this technology, blockchain prevents governments from inventing multi-million dollar contracts for invisible projects to cheat their country.

Secure Land Ownership Records

Digital innovation and blockchain technology can help impoverished farmers and landowners obtain their land registry information without running the risk of losing their documents. The Inter-American Development Bank formed the LAC Chain Alliance with various businesses and technology conglomerates.

The aim of the LAC is to secure proper land registries using Blockchain. It works by having the bank collect the legal and technical information needed from farmers and landowners and using that information to create proof of the land title.

Having a proper record of title deeds prevents land from being unlawfully claimed or taken away.

Efficient Public Procurement

By implementing blockchain technology, hiring contractors and awarding government tenders becomes fair and ensures competitiveness. Having the tenderer publically post and commit to contract terms and conditions before receiving any bids removes the risk of the selection criteria being tailor-made for a specific contractor.

This means that the team behind creating and releasing tenders won’t be able to grant them to the contractor they choose. This gives every contractor eligible a fair shot at winning the bid.

This makes the entire process easier to audit because every action and decision made is recorded on the blockchain. These decisions will also be permanent and public.

To ensure that the process is fair, the records are made available to the relevant stakeholders. This process immediately tracks every transaction and thwarts any other dishonest practices that would award a contract to an organization without the necessary paperwork.

Digital Identity and Anti-Bribery Measures

Blockchain technology enables self-sovereign identity (SSI) which allows individuals to control their digital identities. This allows people to securely store their identifiers, for example, biometric data, digital wallets, and educational certifications.

Individuals then have the option to share that information with service providers or government authorities. This ensures privacy.

This might not sound like a big deal. But having access to decentralized digital identities can empower refugees and marginalized communities by allowing them to access critical services like health care and education.

Having these SSIs will also reduce the risk of identity fraud and ensure that government benefits reach their intended recipients. It also facilitates secure voting, thus minimizing the potential for electoral corruption.

Financial Transparency and Anti-Money Laundering

Another key way that blockchain can help the Caribbean and Latin America is by promoting access to financial services like bank accounts, home loans, and student financing. Given that 70% of the population of Latin America does not have a bank account, introducing blockchain could be revolutionary.

With blockchain technology, the digital economy of these countries could be democratized. This could reduce inequality and poverty by allowing marginalized communities to access the financial services they need. For example, marginalized communities could purchase homes or finance their education.

As mentioned previously, blockchain also enables complete transparency. This means it’s quite simple to track financial transactions and follow virtual “paper trails” when investigating fraudulent activity.

This makes it easier, and faster, to detect suspicious activities in real-time and reduce scams. Blockchain also makes it simpler to pick up on any money laundering schemes and track the flow of corrupt funds.

Blockchain technology vastly improves the efficiency and transparency of financial transactions, which makes it incredibly difficult for corruption to thrive.

Edmonton Hosts Colorful Cariwest Caribbean Carnival and Parade – See The Photos

News Americas, EDMONTON, Canada, Tues. August 15, 2023: Over the weekend, on Saturday afternoon of August 12th, the vibrant Cariwest Caribbean carnival and parade took center stage in Edmonton, Canada.

A participant seen as the Edmonton Cariwest parade rolls through downtown Edmonton. The Cariwest festival celebrates the heritage and culture of the islands of the Caribbean. (Photo by Ron Palmer/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Dancers and performers ignited the crowd’s energy, eliciting claps and spontaneous dances as they paraded through the heart of downtown. The lively two-kilometer route embarked from 108 Street and culminated in the bustling Churchill Square, aptly named the “Caribbean Village” for the duration of the weekend.

Parade participants are seen as the Edmonton Cariwest parade that rolls through Edmonton downtown. The Cariwest festival celebrates the heritage and culture of the islands of the Caribbean. (Photo by Ron Palmer/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A total of 800 spirited participants, organized into 16 dazzling groups referred to as bands, wowed the audience with their performances. Many of these bands competed across various categories as they danced along the 1.7 km mobile masquerade, serenading the procession with lively tunes. The journey, commencing from the Legislature and concluding at Churchill Square, provided a dynamic spectacle.

Participants seen wearing traditional Maas Band regalia as the Edmonton Cariwest parade rolls through downtown Edmonton. The Cariwest festival celebrates the heritage and culture of the islands of the Caribbean. (Photo by Ron Palmer/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

This year, Cariwest’s Caribbean Village expanded its territory on Churchill Square, encompassing a portion of 100 Street that was temporarily blocked off. This expansion allowed the presence of 20 food vendors, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the well-known Taste of Edmonton festival.

Parade participants wearing colorful costumes pose for cameras as the Edmonton Cariwest parade rolls through downtown Edmonton. The Cariwest festival celebrates the heritage and culture of the islands of the Caribbean. (Photo by Ron Palmer/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A parade participant dances for the crowds as the Edmonton Cariwest parade rolls through Edmonton downtown. The Cariwest festival celebrates the heritage and culture of the islands of the Caribbean. (Photo by Ron Palmer/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The organizers proudly assert that Cariwest stands as Canada’s grandest celebration of Caribbean culture. The event encapsulated the vibrancy, music, and camaraderie that define the rich heritage of the Caribbean community.