Dominica's deal to advance Paris climate agreement goals

29th November 2021
James Anstee

The Commonwealth of Dominica has approved a bilateral agreement with Switzerland, enabling Dominica to sell its carbon credits to help Switzerland meet its Paris Agreement emissions pledge. The deal was inked by Minister for the Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment, Hon. Cozier Frederick, at the United Nations Climate Conference, in Glasgow, Scotland. 

In signing these agreements, the two nations set a standard for international climate projects that meet strict environmental protection requirements. In Dominica, Switzerland will focus on funding initiatives like the electrification of transport on the island. Additionally, financing for a geothermal plant on the island that will be complete by 2023 will also be centred. This project will allow Dominica to reduce its fossil fuel dependence and ensure its ability to provide electricity to the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, encouraging foreign exchange.

For the Caribbean island, which is still reeling from the impacts of Hurricane Maria in 2017, funding from wealthy countries like Switzerland enables the government to build a clean, resilient power system, said Minister Frederick. "We do have a plan, but this plan needs resources … in the form of human capital and finance," he added.

In 2017, Dominica's Prime Minister, Dr the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit pledged to become the first climate-resilient country in the world at the UN. To accomplish its mission to power green energy and economy, the government has partnered with donor organisations such as the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, Small Island Developing States, and the Clinton Foundation. The country's Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme is also providing a sizable amount of funding.

CBI has been pivotal to generating foreign direct investment that furthers Dominica's climate resilience agenda. Since 2018, the Programme has sponsored the island's green construction of 5,000 hurricane-proof homes and over a dozen schools and health centres. CBI has also cast a green lens on Dominica's tourism sector, bolstering the island's offering with boutique environmentally sensitive villas and resorts.

Ranked number one by the Financial Times' PWM Magazine, Dominica's CBI Programme allows vetted foreigners the chance to gain second citizenship in exchange for monetary investment in a government fund or ecotourism real estate projects. Successful applicants, often within three months, attain the rights that come with Dominican citizenship, like travel to over 75 percent of the world, increased business prospects and the ability to pass citizenship on for generations to come.

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