Caribbean SIDS Unite to Accelerate Low-Carbon Industrial Development for Climate Resilience

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The time is ripe for Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to work together to tackle climate change by embracing low-carbon industrial development powered through cost-effective, indigenous renewable energy (RE).


This was the prevailing theme when the Government of Grenada, in partnership with The Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), hosted a side event at the 4th International Conference on SIDS. The event was entitled “Achieving Climate, Economic & Social Resilience in Caribbean SIDS through Low-Carbon Industrial Development”.


The event saw speeches from the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Dickon Mitchell; Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew; Permanent Representative of the Government of Grenada to the United Nations, Ambassador Che Phillip; Director General of UNIDO, Mr. Gerd Müller; Head of Technical Programmes at The CCREEE, Dr. Devon Gardner, as well as Hon. Pennelope Beckles - Robinson, Minister of Planning and Development of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and Hon. Kerryne James, Minister of Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy of the Government of Grenada. Under the themes of Policy Frameworks for Low-Carbon Industrial Development, Investment and Financing, Technology and Innovation, Resilience Building, and Social Inclusion and Equity, the speakers sought to highlight and find solutions to the significant challenges Caribbean SIDS face from climate change, which impacts their tourism and agriculture-dependent economies.


Delivering the keynote address, Grenada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Che Phillip, described the event’s focus as not merely aspirational, but a strategic imperative for the region’s survival and prosperity. He impressed upon the attendees that the Caribbean has the potential to be a beacon of innovation in RE, leveraging its abundant solar, wind, and geothermal resources to not only meet energy needs but also drive a new era of industrial development that is both sustainable and inclusive.


Ambassador Phillip stated, “Our vision is clear: To catalyze a low-carbon industrial revolution in the Caribbean that will reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels, diversify our economies, enhance our competitiveness, and most importantly, secure a sustainable future for future generations. This vision encompasses not just the transformation of our energy sector but the entire spectrum of economic activities—from agriculture and manufacturing to services and tourism”.


In his remarks, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. Drew, maintained that political will is required throughout the region to effect the change that is required, adding, “It is time the world sees us as part of the solution, and not as countries seeking or looking for help—and so there is a need for a mind-shift.”


He made the point while noting that the twin-island federation is doing its part to advance RE, by developing a Sustainable Island State model and implementing a programme in the local college to train students for employment in the RE sector.


Meanwhile, the UNIDO Director General reaffirmed the UN agency’s commitment to assisting in the transformation of SIDS economies and highlighted the recent establishment of the UNIDO-Barbados Global SIDS Hub for Sustainable Development. He explained that this hub would provide technical assistance to enhance SIDS’ resilience, aid in economic diversification, promote investment in SIDS and facilitate the adoption of innovative technologies.


The Hon Minister Pennelope Beckles-Robinson of Trinidad and Tobago emphasized the importance of a just transition. Minster Beckles-Robinson highlighted the need for new financial models and the important role that digitalization will play in supporting effective implementation.


Adding to the discussion, The CCREEE’s Head of Technical Programmes, in his presentation, explored the question, “Is shared energy security a regional priority?” While referencing the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Road Map and Strategy (C-SERMS), which identifies what each country’s contribution target for energy generated from RE sources will look like, he revealed that Barbados and the OECS countries have set RE targets that far exceed what the C-SERMS target highlighted, which is to be commended.


Dr. Gardner stated, “Quite a number of our countries are tapping into their potential in areas such as geothermal and solar. But we don’t talk enough about our ocean’s potential, that is, offshore wind, and this must change.”


In his remarks, Grenada’s Prime Minister, Hon. Dickon Mitchell issued a call to action for increased collaboration and investment by Caribbean SIDS to promote low-carbon industrial development, leading to concrete initiatives and projects being implemented throughout the region.


The meeting concluded with an invitation from Grenada’s Minister of Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy, Hon. Kerryne James, to revolutionize our approach to secure a sustainable and prosperous future for our islands to steer them toward resilience, sustainability, and economic prosperity.