2021 is a big year for climate action. The most significant international climate conference since the Paris Agreement, called COP26, is being hosted in November in the UK. This conference will be a vital moment for action if we intend to get the world back on track.

The head of the UK’s Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, said the world was already hitting worst-case scenario levels on the climate crisis, and without more action ecosystems everywhere face catastrophe, with dire consequences for humanity.

Sir David Attenborough Tells the UN ‘It is Too Late to Avoid Climate Change’

On February 23, 2021, Sir David Attenborough, an English broadcaster and natural historian, addressed the UN Security Council about the urgent need for climate action.

“If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security: food production, access to freshwater, habitable ambient temperature, and ocean food chains,” he said, adding “and if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilisation will quickly break down,” said Attenborough.

While there is no going back, Sir David Attenborough emphasised we can reach a new stable state if countries act fast enough.

Small Islands and the Effects of Climate Change

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), small island nations are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

In a report concerning climate change in small island states, the UNFCCC said rising sea levels threaten many islands. “Another growing concern is the increasing number and severity of extreme weather events – with all they entail in terms of loss of life and damage to property and infrastructure that can easily cripple small economies.”

“As we continue pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, warming the planet, hurricanes like Maria are expected to grow in number and intensity. Studies have shown that the Atlantic Ocean is heating up, causing storms to become more common, intense, and long-lasting,” a National Geographic article stated.

Dominica’s Commitment to Climate Action

Situated in the eastern Caribbean, Dominica is geographically prone to hurricanes. When Hurricane Maria destroyed the Nature Isle in 2017, the devastation’s impact spurred an ambitious goal to adapt the island to climate change fully.

In 2017, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged Dominica, Prime Minister Skerrit addressed the United Nation’s General Assembly, declaring an international humanitarian crisis and pledging to make Dominica the world’s first climate-resilient nation.

Read also: Dominica is Building a Climate-Resilient Future

In response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit declared to rebuild Dominica as the world’s first climate-resilient nation.

To prevent devastation from future natural disasters, the government of Dominica has pledged to build back better. In March 2018, the Climate Resilience Execution Agency for Dominica (CREAD) was launched and funded by the Governments of the United Kingdom, Canada and Dominica. The four-year mandate will drive the country to develop a full Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan (CRRP).

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that Dominica is “at the forefront of climate change”. The island is focused on implementing its green agenda, again putting the money from foreign investors-turned-citizens to good use. “Climate change is real, and we have lived the impact and implications of climate change,” the Prime Minister added.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Dominican Government adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, including the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme has been a crucial element in funding many of the projects that make reaching the goal of climate-resilient possible.

Projects like the geothermal energy plant are putting the Nature Isle ahead of the globe in combatting climate change while relieving the country of its reliance on imported fossil fuels.

“We’re moving more towards renewable energy and, in the next few years, we will be able to produce about 85 per cent of our energy through renewable means. We have this major geothermal project, which, in large measure, will be financed with citizenship by investment funds. We will be able to supply most of our energy [needs] from geothermal [sources],” the Prime Minister said.

The Dominican Government has taken urgent climate action by constructing new sustainable infrastructures, such as SMART schools, health centres and hurricane-resilient housing to ensure durability against natural disasters. Dominicans are also encouraged to adopt eco-friendly habits by using biodegradable packaging after the government banned single-use plastic.

Read also: How Citizenship by Investment Contributes to Dominica’s Ongoing Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals