In August 2018, Vice-Chancellor Beckles welcomed the launch of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a ground-breaking initiative to make the Caribbean the world's first ‘climate-smart zone'. This project involves an unprecedented coalition of 26 countries and over 40 private and public sector partners that will create and implement climate solutions for resilience, renewable energy, and the development of sustainable cities, oceans and transportation. The launch was led by Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Most Honourable Andrew Holness; President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno; Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson; and World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Jorge Familiar. The Accelerator is an entrepreneurial engine that catalyses and fast-tracks priority initiatives in the battle against climate change, delivering resilience, social development and broad-based economic growth for the Caribbean. Over the next five years, it will identify and unite commitments to build a more sustainable and resilient future for island nations through collaboration between national governments, regional and international institutions, and public and private sector organisations. At the launch, Vice-Chancellor Beckles remarked upon the smooth and seamless alignment of these goals with The UWI's strategic plan for regional development and sustainability, and commended the vision and actions of the region's political leaders and their global allies for the Accelerator's conception.
Facing the challenge of climate change is imperative, especially in the context of the devastating hurricanes and other cataclysmic events that have brought hardship, suffering, economic deprivation and even loss of life to so many in the region.