[Press Release] Caribbean Biodiversity Fund signs agreement for CAD $8 million contribution to Caribbean Organizations for a Resilient Environment (CORE) project

Climate change impacts women and men differently, and closing gender gaps can lead to increased economic growth, as well as increased climate resilience. However, gender inequality continues to be of concern in the Caribbean. With climate change, the gender inequalities are exacerbated. Caribbean countries are up to seven times more likely to experience a natural disaster than other states, and when one occurs, it can incur as much as six times more damage.

Women are seen primarily as caregivers (unpaid labor), which limits their earning power and participation in decision-making. Such perceptions also impact the ability of women to adapt to climate change compared to men because of gender inequalities in access to and control of assets, services, and decision-making (IDB, 2020)[1]. Studies confirm that natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, and hurricanes can be a trigger of increased violence against women and girls. Many women lack access to legal and social protection mechanisms, especially Indigenous women and other vulnerable groups living in rural areas. In these spaces, the promotion of positive masculinities and the safe engagement of most vulnerable women in all their diversity is needed to build climate resilience.

The Caribbean Organizations for a Resilient Environment (CORE) Project aims to increase resilience to climate change of vulnerable groups in eight beneficiary countries across the Caribbean: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.  More specifically, project beneficiaries include Caribbean organizations: Conservation Trust Funds, Women’s Rights Organizations, Environmental Organizations and Youth Organizations.

In partnership with the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, Global Affairs Canada will contribute a total of CAD 8 million to the CORE project; CAD 4 million of this will be used for small to medium grants to local environmental and women-rights organizations to implement inclusive and gender-responsive nature-based solutions (NBS), including ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA). The CBF will provide near 1:1 co-financing to GAC’s contribution for CORE small grant funding, further expanding the reach of this important initiative.

Through CORE, beneficiary organizations of the grants will implement actions in areas of waste management, sustainable livelihood opportunities to improve ecosystem health. In addition, the CORE project will enhance the capacity of Caribbean Conservation Trust Funds (CTFs) to coordinate agendas for the sustainable, inclusive, and equitable protection and gender-responsive management of biodiversity conservation and climate resilience.

The Project will facilitate the growth of the Caribbean Sustainable Finance Architecture (CSFA) by expanding access to climate finance, creating new opportunities for conservation and climate resilience initiatives, and building sustainability of CSFA member organizations (National Conservation Trust Funds and CBF).

The CORE Project will also augment the knowledge and skills of target environmental and women’s rights organizations to incorporate inclusivity and gender-responsiveness into environmentally-based approaches and circular economy initiatives in target countries. The project will run for 4 years through to 2027.

The Project was first announced by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, during the forty-fourth meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government on February 16, 2023 in The Bahamas. Prime Minister Trudeau announced a total of $44.8 million in new initiatives to help support the Caribbean region in addressing the climate crisis by protecting more biodiversity, and improving climate resilience and disaster preparedness.

The CORE Project is the third regional project to be implemented by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF). In 2022, the Reef Resilience and Risk Financing project developed a pilot parametric insurance concept for the restoration of reefs after being damaged by tropical cyclone events. This project was implemented by MARFund and Willis Towers Watson (WTW), in collaboration with the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund over a  period of 8 months. Last year the Caribbean Regional Architecture for Biodiversity (CRAB) Project started, with EUR 4 million contributed by the French Development Agency (AFD) and French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) with an implementation period of 5 years to end in 2026.

The CBF has been providing sustainable financing mechanisms for the protection and conservation of the Caribbean’s biodiversity and natural resources for the past decade. To date, the CBF has disbursed US$ 21 million in funding to National Conservation Trust Funds, NGOs, research institutes and governments for the conservation of biodiversity in 13 countries within the insular Caribbean. The projects implemented with this financing range from mangrove and coral restoration to protected area management and livelihood generation.

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