​Advancing NDC Implementation in Antigua & Barbuda Through Investment Planning and Private Sector Engagement

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

​This has provided a welcome opportunity for the NDC Partnership to pilot its NDC Investment Planning Guide with support from Climate Analytics, funded through the Partnership Action Fund (PAF). In combination with other Partnership-supported efforts on budget mainstreaming, strengthening institutional arrangements for climate finance and further operationalization of the Sustainable Island Resource Framework (SIRF) Fund, Antigua and Barbuda is a strong example of the Partnership’s Finance Strategy in action.

​Antigua and Barbuda lies nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Like most small island developing states (SIDS) it is highly vulnerable to the increasingly frequent and intense tropical storms and hurricanes expected due to climate change, as well as droughts, floods, rising air temperatures, decreased annual rainfall and sea level rise.

​The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, stated in the country’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that, “Our economic vulnerability has increased following every extreme weather event – such as Hurricane Irma in 2017 that was nothing short of devasting, hitting us at our core. An estimated 80.4% of our country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is at risk due to economic and natural disaster shocks.”

​The country, party to the Paris Agreement, and a member of the NDC Partnership since 2017, is committed to increasing overall environmental and socioeconomic resilience through national climate action.

​“To accelerate the energy transition”, notes the Prime Minister, “Antigua and Barbuda will grow a new energy sector that puts focus on local generation of energy using an abundance of wind and solar to replace 86% of fossil fuel imports by 2030. The transition to a new energy sector is a long-term process and will be accompanied with adequate policies to ensure sustainable and socially inclusive growth for all citizens, particularly women. We remain committed to increasing our ambition to cut emissions, scale up renewable energy, support a socially inclusive energy transition and a just transition of our workforce.

​Antigua and Barbuda places significant emphasis on climate action, both locally and globally, previously chairing the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and occupying the SIDS seat on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board.

​The country is dedicated to expanding its access to climate finance by championing the establishment of a new fund to assist developing countries in responding to economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.

​“It is unjust and immoral that SIDS should pay the most and emit the very least,” states Minister of Health, Wellness, Social Transformation and the Environment, Sir Molwyn Joseph. “We are faced with more intense hurricanes, floods, droughts, sea level rise and extreme heat. Impacts of these events include erosion of our beaches, reduction of water supplies and increased insurance for our homes and businesses.”

​Antigua and Barbuda is seeking to specifically align additional loss and damage funding and other climate finance support with its national development priorities and its ambitious NDC targets.

​In pursuit of this goal, the Antigua and Barbuda government sought assistance from the Partnership to create a detailed investment plan for the mitigation and adaptation measures outlined in the NDC Implementation Plan. This plan was initially developed through the Partnership’s Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) and the country’s Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT). The resulting NDC Financing Strategy and Action Plan reviews the country’s existing capacity to access climate finance, determines the investment needs and gaps in the NDC, prioritizes these requirements, identifies potential sources of finance and suggests policy interventions to overcome obstacles to climate finance. Additionally, it establishes a pipeline of climate investments, including four project concept notes developed or refined by Climate Analytics as part of its investment planning support.

​Antigua and Barbuda has clearly developed a robust climate finance pipeline that directly aligns to its updated NDC, positioning the country well for scaling up access to climate finance. Challenges still remain, however, despite these significant achievements, with financial flows yet to adequately reflect the level of need. To address these gaps, Antigua and Barbuda has engaged with various partners for additional technical assistance:

​In 2021, the NDC Partnership directly supported the development of the updated NDC, including embedding an economic advisor in the Ministry of Finance to support the incorporation of climate objectives into national macroeconomic planning.
​A second economic advisor supported the Ministry to establish and operationalize a Project Management Unit, including a potential expansion of its mandate to other aspects of climate finance.
​The Commonwealth Secretariat, with PAF resources, is supporting the Government to roll out a gender-responsive blended financing window under the SIRF Fund, an innovative financing mechanism that provides low-interest loans to individuals to climate proof their homes and businesses.
​The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), also with PAF resources, is supporting the Government to mainstream climate into its Public Sector Investment Program (PSIP).
​The Partnership is in the process of embedding two advisors in the Department of Environment to support just-transition activities and behavioral change communication regarding the country’s climate agenda.

​Effective private sector involvement will be invaluable for NDC implementation in Antigua and Barbuda, guiding the country’s approach to attracting private investments, fostering innovation, managing risks and, ultimately, accelerating the achievement of its climate goals. Alongside their support to develop the NDC Financing Strategy and Action Plan, Climate Analytics have been mapping and consulting private sector actors in Antigua and Barbuda to understand factors currently preventing engagement in mitigation and adaptation activities. The planned Private Sector Engagement Strategy will set out gaps, needs, opportunities, entry points and priorities for greater private sector involvement in NDC implementation. Both strategies will be finalized in early 2024, creating the opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda to begin 2024 on a strong note as it continues its ongoing journey as a leader on global climate action.

​Looking ahead, NDC Partnership Focal Point Ambassador Diann Black-Layne notes, “Antigua and Barbuda’s vision for engaging with our partners is to ensure that we involve our private sector, both formal and informal, to participate in the next great transition of this generation. Switching energy generation from fossil fuels to a more diverse energy system will generate Antigua and Barbuda’s very own energy sector valued at over USD 200M per year. We want our local businesses to be a part of that transition and our youth and women-owned businesses to benefit from new economic opportunities. We are excited to work with the NDC Partnership to enact this and cannot wait to see what comes next.”