Clinton urges Caribbean to move towards cleaner energy, become more climate change resilient

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (left) with former US President Bill Clinton.

ROSEAU, Dominica— Former United States President Bill Clinton said on Tuesday  that Caribbean countries could lead the global initiative for developing cleaner energy, reducing the threat of climate change and improving the economies of developing countries.

Clinton, who arrived in Dominica for talks with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and members of his administration, said Norway has been instrumental in assisting his Foundation in developing the new energy initiative.

“They believed when we first asked them that Dominica in particular and the Caribbean in general could lead the world to a whole new way of producing clean power, reducing the threat of climate change and improving the economies of developing countries.”

Clinton said he also bought into the idea that the Caribbean could become the first sustainable region in the world and is supportive of Dominica’s efforts to become the first totally climate resilient country in the world.

Skerrit, who spoke alongside Clinton, said that discussions have already started with the Foundation “to develop a rapid integrated resource plan for the island’s energy sector.

“I look forward to working with President Clinton and the Clinton Climate Initiative as we transform Dominica’s energy sector into a model of resilience that the entire region and world can follow,” Skerrit added.

Clinton is visiting Dominica and other countries that were battered last September when Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms, passed through the Lesser Antilles.

Clinton was among leaders who attended and addressed an international donor conference held in New York last November to mobilise resources for the countries.

He said the Clinton Foundation will be launching an Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, following a meeting Thursday with officials from the islands, as well as leaders from business and civil society.

The Action Network will formally convene for a meeting on April 3rd at the University of Miami, where stakeholders will continue to work towards Commitments to Action to address the on-going immediate response needs, as well as the long-term recovery in the region.

The network builds from the successful Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) model, where leaders from across sectors convene to mobilise resources and implement solutions to addressing pressing global challenges.

Clinton said he appreciated the ‘heroic efforts” of Dominicans in seeking to rebuild their country following the hurricane, adding that he was also pleased they were seeking to take “advantage of the moment to position the country to handle the net disaster better and to respond in a way that will improve both your chances of surviving the climate change …and prospering from it.