Sir Richard Branson once again finds himself at the heart of the battle against climate change, this time hosting the Caribbean Conservation Summit on his very own Necker Island.
Bringing together influential figures from across the whole of the Caribbean, Sir Richard Branson has this week issued a call to action, urging the region’s political elite to follow in his footsteps to make an all-important transition to clean energy. From the luxurious surroundings of Branson’s Necker Island 74-acre eco-retreat, the Prime Ministers of the British Virgin Islands and Grenada sat together with the eco-minded entrepreneur to work out a more-sustainable future for the Caribbean.
Central to Branson’s plans is the so-called Ten Island Challenge, a comprehensive conservation endeavour sponsored by the UNFCCCC and the Carbon War Room. Following on from discussions held at last year’s Rio+20 talks, this forward-thinking plan looks towards the pioneering island economies of the Caribbean to reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, and, in doing so, protecting 20% of the region’s coastal resources by 2020.
Despite hosting some 10% of the world’s coral reefs and approximately 1,400 species of fish and marine life, attempts at improving the environment have often fallen at the first hurdle, due to a frustrating combination of political deadlock and financial shortfalls. A combination of overfishing, pollution and overdevelopment has already seen live coral cover drop from 50% to a meager 8% during the past few decades, firmly indicating that the time to act is now.
Modeled upon a similar initiative in the Pacific region, and with a sustainable finance mechanism and firm links to the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund already in place, it is hoped that this new project will be the first of its kind unite all member states in the fight against climate change. As well as securing a more positive environmental future, business leaders are optimistic that conservation efforts will also have a positive impact on the tourism industry – a factor sure to delight the more than 2 million individuals employed within this sector.
Read more: http://www.stlucianewsonline.com/sir-richard-branson-welcomes-saint-lucia-to-ten-island-challenge-and-hopes-other-islands-follow/