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Commonwealth support secures grant to help St Lucia build climate resilience

17 July 2020

The Commonwealth, through the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub  has supported Saint Lucia to secure a new climate finance grant from the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). The $200,000 grant will enhance the climate resilience of local communities in Saint Lucia.

The technical assistance provided by the Commonwealth to Saint Lucia will strengthen resilience, by assessing and planning the use of technology to improve critical infrastructure. Specifically, the grant will seek to reduce the impact of climate change on the education system by exploring ways to build resilience into the system, such as:

  • preparing Post-Disaster Business Continuity Guidelines;
  • retrofit technology options; or
  • transitioning away from using schools as emergency shelters.

Resilient communities

Currently, 87 of Saint Lucia’s 103 public schools are designated as emergency shelters, alongside local churches and Human Resource Development Centres. The shelters are deemed structurally inadequate and do not have sufficient capacity to meet the demands that may be placed on them.

The new grant will assist the government to assess the climate risk of school emergency shelters and prepare a plan to improve technology and design options for critical infrastructure. The government will be supported to submit a further funding proposal to implement these measures.

Permanent Secretary in the Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations, Michelle Charles said:

“Given Saint Lucia’s small size, the impact of extreme weather events can result in catastrophic displacements in all sectors. The country has a limited capacity to reconstruct and reactivate the economy after climate shocks, making it extremely vulnerable.

“This technical assistance grant will enable Saint Lucia to unlock larger scale climate financing needed to improve the resilience of local communities and shelters to the impact of climate change.   It will definitely help the island place a greater focus and broaden the dialogue on the use of schools as emergency shelters for short and medium term multi-hazard risks.”

Climate finance

The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub ensures that Commonwealth small and other vulnerable states have improved access to climate finance by placing experts in government departments to support grant applications, capacity building and implementation.

To date, the Hub has helped member states to access more than $33.9 million of climate finance, with more than $650 million in the pipeline.