BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – “Climate change is having a direct impact on our Caribbean infrastructure and is increasing the risks associated with infrastructure projects” says Isaac Solomon Vice President Operations (VPO) at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
While inflation and supply chain issues have impacted the region’s development, he indicated that CDB continues to ensure the delivery of climate-resilient infrastructure projects. According to the vice president: “For us in the Caribbean adaptation is key. We need to scale up investments in climate change in the coming years to avoid falling into a cycle of climate change impact to ensure that we are not struggling with adaptation to address the substantial climate hazards projected.”
Speaking at the 6th Caribbean Infrastructure Forum (CARIF) webinar on regional infrastructure investment, Mr Solomon highlighted the risks faced by the Bank’s Borrowing Member Countries because of climate change. Beyond mitigating impact on the physical and social infrastructure such as roads, housing, schools and hospitals among others, he revealed that there is a delicate balance now to be struck to safeguard resources such as freshwater aquifers and coastal infrastructure while administrations also manage public expenditure. Regional governments are now facing significant cost implications in response to climate change and delicately balancing risk and mitigation.
The bank has responded to this shifting landscape adjusting its approach to development financing by mainstreaming climate resilience into its infrastructure projects and providing support, mitigation and adaptation actions to address climate change. CDB’s interventions consider ongoing challenges to successful execution of climate-smart projects. This includes responding to implementation capacity challenges as well as the limited capacity of states to access concessionary financing and implement projects.
The VPO emphasised that holistic interventions are key and increased investment critical to respond to climate change in the current environment. Adding that “the needs of the region are great and unutilised capital needs to be unlocked to increase the resources available to fund priority infrastructure. To do that however, we need to ensure that we are able to de-risk projects with a development focus to ensure that they become attractive to the private sector.” CDB, he indicated, understanding this is deepening its engagement with the private sector to unlock and scale up the flow of private financing for development projects.
The vice president was speaking at a webinar entitled – Threat or Opportunity: How are Global Forces Shaping Investment in the Caribbean, alongside panelists Sam Story of KPMG and Monique French of CIBC First Caribbean which examined the overarching forces shaping the future of investment in regional infrastructure. It was held on September 6.
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