Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad with responsibility for Grenada, Dr. Michael Freudenberg, made a special visit to the Spice Isle to coincide with the island’s 41st anniversary of independence.
During the February 4-9 visit, the German diplomat participated in several meetings including the Zero-Hunger Pledging Conference.
Dr. Freudenberg met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to hand over a Note Verbale by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs which announced a new and important project in the energy sector.
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) agreed to provide approximately 4.5 Million XCD (approx. 1.4 million Euros) from its International Climate Initiative (IKI) to support sector reforms in the Grenadian energy sector.
The project, “Reform of the Electricity Sector to support Climate Policy in Grenada” (G-RESCP) will commence this month.
The goal is to support Grenada in the use of renewable energy and its reduction of CO2 emissions via institutional amendments to allow for more investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In a meeting with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Patricia Clarke, the German envoy stressed that “Grenada has great potential for renewable energy and hence a unique opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint”.
Dr. Freudenberg said that Germany is happy to support reforms in the energy sector to allow Grenada to reap the benefits of this potential resource.
“By doing this, Grenada can lead the way for small island states in amending institutional structures to follow the path of a sustainable society”, he remarked.
G-RESCP will be implemented by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), in close collaboration with the Government of Grenada.
This new initiative is the second project in Grenada to be funded by the German Ministry for Environment.
The first project, the “Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies” (ICCAS) programme, was launched in April 2013 and has a volume of approximately 16 million XCD (5 million Euros).
ICCAS’ objective is to increase resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems to climate change risks in Grenada.
It was noted that although the ICCAS Project is not even at its halfway mark, it has left a recognisable imprint across various sectors in Grenada.
Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Agriculture, Lands and the Environment, who works closely with the ICCAS project, Merina Jessamy, lauded the key role of BMUB as a donor and GIZ as implementer in the reactivation of the National Climate Change Committee, the development of a Coastal Zone Policy for Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique and the training of public officers in the use of a Climate Risk Assessment Tool, which helps to make climate-smart decisions.
ICCAS is currently starting a rainwater harvesting project, a climate-smart agricultural project, as well as a community-based reforestation campaign which includes the protection of mangroves.
Recently, ICCAS also produced a climate change music video with three young Grenadian artistes (Swipe, Eclipse & Avonni) who performed the song, “Can’t do it alone”, which is available on Youtube for viewing.
At the end of 2014, as part of ICCAS, a Community Adaptation Fund with a budget of 3.3 Million XCD was created, which will assist non-government organisations to implement projects that will mitigate the negative impacts of climate change in their communities.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is in charge for the implementation of this key financing instrument to combat climate change in communities.
Dr. Freudenberg also mentioned that the new energy project will build on the groundwork of the existing climate change initiative, and extends the scope from Climate Change Adaptation to mitigation of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.
Grenada is the first country to receive such comprehensive climate change focused support which is also a component of other regional projects such as the “Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS)” project based in St Lucia, and the Regional Renewable Energy projects based in Guyana and St Lucia.
According to the German diplomat, this impressive list of projects shows the importance of Grenada to Germany as a front-runner in the fight against climate change.
He noted that the groundwork done by the German projects puts Grenada in an advantageous position to receive additional large-scale funding from the Green Climate Fund.
This, he said also means that the international community will look closely on actions on the ground in Grenada, and the progress made to inform the resilience-building measures of their own efforts.