Preliminary work has begun towards making St. George’s the first Climate-smart city in the Caribbean, which is expected to significantly reduce the island’s vulnerability to climate change and promote increased use of renewable energy.
During a press conference held at the end of August at the Ministry of Works conference room at the Ministerial Complex, Botanical Garden’s, St. George’s, it was revealed that initial assessments conducted by a technical team from the New York University (NYU) shows that the island’s capital St. George’s, has great potential to achieve this goal.
As part of the journey to achieve climate resilience, the Keith Mitchell-led regime in St. George is expected to prepare 9 project proposals for submission to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which will be funded to the tune of over US$300m.
Project Coordinator Dr. Angus Friday expressed optimism that the project proposals preparation, which will last for approximately 1-year, would quicken climate resilience discussions among other countries in the region.
According to Dr. Friday, The Carenage will be the “hub” of the climate resilience project, which will span from the “Queen’s Park area, where the stadium is all the way down to Point Salines.”
He said this venture will consider a range of issues including “Sewer, drainage, roads (and) traffic et cetera,” so that we can have a city that is climate-smart, resilient and can actually be an exemplar for the pathway that cities of other developing and developed countries need to be taking in the future.
Research Scholar at NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management, Patrick Lamson-Hall, who led the NYU mission to Grenada, said the assessment will help build conversation for a planned workshop in October, which will determine the future course of action.
“The next step for us is to synthesise and integrate the information which we have gathered here much of which is in digital format and information or materials that would inform a workshop that we are having in October”, he told reporters.
“So essentially, what we are hoping to do is use this information to develop material that would shape the conversation and from that conversation we are going to start to build the foundations of the proposals that we will be putting together over the next year”, he said.
Additionally, the NYU Research Scholar said education would be a key factor in achieving the goal of climate resilience and so they would be working closely with the T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) to ensure that there are trained persons to carry out the necessary work out in the field and in new job areas that will be created.
“We have a capacity building agenda that seeks to enhance the environmental education in secondary schools and also working with TAMCC to implement curriculum to train Grenadians for the green jobs that are going to be created by these necessary resilient infrastructure projects.
“Our hope here is to not only groom people who will be able to fill the jobs that stem from this specific project but that we can work to make Grenada a knowledge leader and a centre of expertise on these issues in the Caribbean as a whole.
“So that when other island nations are seeking to address these challenges they can hire a Grenadian to help them install their infrastructure, to conduct their energy assessments and so on and so forth.
According to Climate Resilience Minister, Senator Simon Stiell, the approach being taken is “highly participatory involving not only development partners and funding support from the Green Climate Fund, with technical support from New York University, but also as we move through the project preparation and ultimately the implementation process of this, it would involve many, many different partners and at the core of it is the Grenadian people.”
Touching on the importance of other Caribbean countries following in Grenada’s footsteps to promote climate resilience, Sen. Stiell said, “If we are able to fertilise the spirit of cooperation of sharing, I think we can all benefit and what we do well others can benefit from and what others do well we can benefit from too…”.
“I think that the role that the GCF is playing in this and having a team here in the region, who will have the visibility of what everyone is doing, an appreciation of the challenges, of the effort that is being made, I think that will be able to cross fertilise across us nationally and regionally and really strengthen our position regionally”, he added.