The Keith Mitchell-led government has identified the Carenage, St. George’s University (SGU) and the southern corridor between St. George’s and the airport at Point Salines as the areas in the country identified to form the first Climate Smart City within the region.
According to Minister of Climate Resilience, Senator Simon Stiell, the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration is hopeful of attracting over $300 million from the Green Climate Fund and other external donors to carry out the project.
Sen. Stiell made the disclosure at last week’s post-cabinet press briefing at the Ministerial Complex as a five-member team from New York University (NYU) was visiting the island to conduct the first of six stakeholder consultations with government and non-governmental institutions to bring to life this Green Climate Fund Project.
He said that the project to be initiated will provide an opportunity for Grenada to be a “global exemplar” in the area of Climate Resilience, specifically focused on cities and not just regions around the world.
The minister disclosed that nine specific areas in the country will be targeted under this initiative with the first being the Carenage which was referred to as “high tourism value” and “significant economic value as the centre of our capital”.
Sen. Stiell said the plan is to look at how “we can build greater resilience into the very vulnerable areas around the Carenage and enhancing economic opportunities for existing and potentially new businesses there.
According to the senior government minister, the second area in the country identified for special treatment for funding is the southern corridor between the town of St. George and the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).
Sen. Stiell said there are areas within the zone that “are highly vulnerable to Climate Change”.
In addition, he said the airport itself will be treated as a special area for climate resistance focus as it is seen “as a low-lying area” and one that is “highly vulnerable to sea level rise”.
With respect to SGU, Sen. Stiell said it is considered as “a significant economic contributor” to the island and responsible for 20-25% of the island’s economy lifeblood.
“…So, we’re working with St. George’s University, together with NYU as to how we can build greater resilience into that economic engine of ours”, he added.
Other areas earmarked for financial assistance from the Green Climate Fund include sewage treatment in the south of the island, as well as Urban Planning for the town of St. George and South St. George, and a number of community projects.
Sen. Stiell identified a side project for possible assistance from the fund as the Grenville Coastal Road as it was identified by the Green Climate Fund as having “significant vulnerability.”
He said that government is hoping that funding agencies can come on board to provide financial assistance for the projects identified either through grants or soft loans.
“The first thing is we would be seeking to access grant funding for as much as this as possible”, he told reporters.
“Looking at the scales of the projects that have already been identified … we anticipate the cost to be somewhere in the region of $300 plus million. These are going to be significant investments but working through the Green Climate Fund…it would be to seek funding support through the Green Climate Fund, through others to finance these projects. So, it will not be a direct cost to government, we will be seeking either as first preference, grant funding and then soft loans etcetera,” he said.
Sen. Stiell stated that Grenada is seeking to position itself as “a leader in terms of progressive interventions that will assist us to build greater resilience at a national level and for us to ensure that we gain access to our fair share of the technical and financial resources that are out there”.
He said: “We’ll be able to demonstrate once again, Grenada’s leadership in this area and again in terms of taking advantage of the resources that are available. There is a great vision behind it and we know if we succeed, even if we achieve a fraction of the ambition that we have, we’ll transform the town of St. George”.