The recent COP27 gathering brought together nations from across the world to tackle climate challenges facing the world. While a lot has been said about the commitments made by leaders of first-world countries such as president Joe Biden of the United States, many developing countries still face challenges similar to what they had before the gathering.
Biden announced that the US is supporting the Global Shield, a G7 initiative to better protect vulnerable countries in Africa and the Caribbean from climate-related losses and to quickly respond to climate-related damages by expanding access to risk-based insurance. The G7-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment is said to be working to meet the critical infrastructure needs in low- and middle-income countries with a specific focus on climate.
While the COP27 agreement to set up a fund for loss and damage caused by extreme weather condition is a great milestone in the joint effort to increase climate resilience, developing countries have been pursuing such a facility for decades. As yet, no agreement has been reached as to how the fund will be set up, how it will be funded, and who or which countries will fund it.
Developing nations have also been lobbying for a reform of the World Bank and other publicly funded finance institutions which are seen to be failing to provide developing nations with funding to help adapt to the climate crisis and to help cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2009 wealthier countries agreed that at least 100bn US dollars a year would be provided to developing countries by 2020 from public and private sources, to help these counties with their climate efforts. However, this target remains unmet.
The U.S. is the second-largest CO2 emitter after China, and the largest historically. In 2019, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totalled 6,558 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents – a two percent increase since 1990, while Dominica represented 0% of the global share of CO2 emissions in the same period according to Worldometer.
In a recent open letter by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, posted during the run-up to COP27, he refers to what the U.N. secretary general has called “a climate of mistrust” that envelops our world. He wrote, “First, rich countries should direct a greater share of funding to developing nations’ adaptation to the effects of climate change. Most financing currently flows toward mitigation projects, such as renewable energy projects, that reduce emissions. While such projects have their uses, far more money needs to go to helping Africa adapt to the effects of climate change — which seems only fair for a continent that produces less than 3 percent of global emissions.”
Caribbean nations like Dominica face similar challenges. As a small island state that has not been causing global warming to any levels near those of developed nations, Dominica is disproportionately suffering the consequences of adapting to massive changes in weather conditions.
Instead of relying on the financial assistance of foreign countries, Dominica serves as a good example of a Small Developing Island State (SIDS) that has been using funds received through its very successful citizenship by investment (CBI) programme to support climate resilience and green energy programmes.
According to the UN, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a distinct group of 38 UN Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of United Nations regional commissions that face unique social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.
While COP27 nations have agreed to phase down the use of coal, the same as during COP26, the Commonwealth of Dominica already obtains 28% of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources such as hydropower and wind. In March 2019, the World Bank approved a US$27 million project to support the construction of a 7MW small geothermal power plant in the Rosseau Valley area of Dominica, which aims to increase the share of renewables, diversify the country’s energy matrix, and identify a clear road map for private sector investment in geothermal development.
“The Geothermal Power Plant shows Dominica’s commitment toward resilience. Projects like the geothermal plant are putting the Nature Isle ahead of the world in combatting climate change while relieving the nation of its reliance on imported fossil fuels,” said Micha Rose Emmett, CEO of the world’s leading government advisory and marketing firm, CS Global Partners.
The country’s funding efforts have focused on upgrading and expanding its road network, including the adjustment of bridges to make them higher to allow for overflow of water and debris, building resilience capabilities in the local housing sector, and upgrading healthcare facilities and hospitals. Funds are also directed to supporting climate resilience programmes in agriculture, education, reforestation, community preparedness training and food security.
Dominica’s CBI programme is one of the best in the world, ranking as the number one programme of its kind for five consecutive years by the CBI Index. This is a ranking system published by the Financial Times’s Professional Wealth Management (PWM) magazine. With a minimum investment of 100,000 US dollars per single applicant, successful applicants obtain citizenship for life, with the right to live and work in the country. Dominica also offers increased global mobility and visa-free access to over 80 countries worldwide, with close proximity to the north American markets for those with business interests. Successful applicants maintain the right to hold dual citizenship and citizenship can be passed on to future generations. Applicants can choose to invest by either making a substantial contribution to the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) or have the option to purchase government-approved property for a minimum of 200,000 US dollars that must be held for a minimum of three years.