BASSETERRE, St Kitts – The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) convened its 6th Growth and Resilience Dialogue with Social Partners and the OECS/ECCU Community on 6 April, under the theme: “Climate Resilience: Securing the Future of Small Island Developing States”.
This year’s dialogue features an exciting new element, The GRD Climate Resilience Data Challenge. The data challenge was conceived by the event planners and approved by the ECCB Governor, in line with the need for a whole-of-society approach to ensure climate resilience.
“The Challenge provides a prime opportunity to crowdsource solutions and apply digital technologies to address this wicked problem that is climate change,” the Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N.J. Antoine, said in his opening remarks.
“In the context of building out a digital economy, I have long advocated that we become producers, not mere consumers of knowledge and technology. I reiterate that call today. Indeed, we must be innovators, not blockers; doers, not talkers; leaders, not laggards.” Governor Antoine continued. “For anyone who doubts our capacity to reach the heights of knowledge creation and innovation, I remind you of our two Nobel Laureates from Saint Lucia. I also remind you that in the aftermath of hurricane Ivan in 2004, our region was the first in the world, when in 2007, it established a multi-country catastrophe risk insurance pool now called CCRIF SPC. And of very recent vintage, our Central Bank became the first currency union in the world to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency known as DCash in March 2021.”
Addressing the participants from academia, the private and public sectors, as well as civil and political society, the Governor outlined three key messages in his remarks:
- Climate change remains a clear and present danger, with far-reaching impacts on our lives and livelihoods.
- Innovative, home-grown solutions are urgently needed to propel the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s efforts to build climate resilience.
- A whole-of-society approach is critical to maximise collective action for climate resilience.
With respect to the Climate Resilience Data Challenge, the Governor of the ECCB said:
“I thank those who have supported the Data Challenge for this year’s programme, including the many applicants who submitted applications and our panel of judges. The response was very encouraging. I am eager to see what the four finalists have for us and wish them the very best with their pitches tomorrow.”
The four finalist projects will pitch their prototypes on Day 2 (7 April) of the Growth and Resilience Dialogue for the opportunity to win the grand prize of US$10,000.00.
“I hope to see more initiatives such as the Data Challenge spring up across our region to provide that nurturing environment for unleashing the creative and innovative potential 0f all our people and especially our youth,” the Governor added.
Launched in late January, the GRD Climate Resilience Data Challenge put out a call for university students and private sector practitioners in the fields of data science and artificial intelligence to design and submit applications that would provide the OECS/ECCU Community with data-driven insights to tackle real-world climate problems.
Governor Antoine applauded coordinator, Sybil Welsh, who serves as a senior project specialist in the Governor’s immediate office, and her planning committee, along with the OECS Commission, The University of the West Indies and the World Bank, which have all collaborated with the ECCB in organising this year’s dialogue and data challenge.
During his remarks, the Governor also recognised and thanked the moderators and presenters, as well as the ECCB’s corporate relations team and other personnel for their administrative and ancillary support.