Rockville, Md. – As the climate crisis continues to cause extreme weather, small island states are the hardest hit. For instance, 70 percent of the population in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean nations (the ESC) lives in coastal zones vulnerable to rising sea levels and severe weather conditions. Abt will lead USAID’s five-year Resilient Economies and Sectors Activity (RESET) program in 11 ESC countries to promote climate finance for sustainable, localized climate solutions—including an equitable blue economy.
Already managing increasingly unsustainable debt burdens, ESC and other small island governments lack the fiscal space to manage climate threats and recover from increasingly large disasters. Not only are the physical impacts to infrastructure more dramatic, but these countries’ economies are also disproportionately damaged as disasters hinder economic drivers such as tourism, fisheries and crop agriculture, and international trade. Through the nearly $20 million RESET activity, Abt and USAID will work across the ESC to lower barriers to climate and disaster risk finance and boost investments in resilience.
RESET’s goals include encouraging the private sector to invest in blue and green economies in the ESC, incentivizing sustainability, and empowering countries to create their mitigation and adaptation policies and solutions. Abt’s partners—the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, the CARICOM Private Sector Organization, and WTW—will provide critical expertise and networks to reach these goals. After six months, Abt and USAID will transfer “ownership” of these investor relationships to local governments and communities, as the populations most affected by climate change are in the best position to identify challenges and solutions. To ensure these relationships and investments stay on track, Abt will conduct annual sustainability planning sessions with grantees, beneficiaries of technical assistance, and other partner organizations.
Gender Equality, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) will be embedded in all aspects of the program, including a youth action plan and gender-sensitivity training. Biases that are endemic—but not exclusive—to the ESC exacerbate climate challenges for women, youth, people with disabilities, and Indigenous groups. These groups are often excluded from preparedness and planning due to longstanding structural inequalities and power dynamics. RESET’s deliberate approach to GEDSI is in keeping with Abt’s and the project’s broader diversity, equity, and inclusion approaches.
“Despite facing an existential threat from climate change, small island states have limited access to global finance for adaptation,” said Jeffrey Conrad Wuorinen, Abt’s Vice President of Just Climate and Energy Transitions. “We look forward to collaborating closely with communities in the Caribbean to create pathways for climate financing and develop local strategies for climate adaptation and fostering resilient, thriving economies.”
RESET will work in the ESC countries of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Learn more about Abt’s work in climate change.
About Abt Global
Abt Global is a global consulting and research firm that combines data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives. We partner with clients and communities to advance equity and innovation—from creating scalable digital solutions and combatting infectious disease, to mitigating climate change and evaluating programs for measurable social impact. https://www.abtglobal.com