Cuba Accesses US$23.9 Million Grant From Green Climate Fund For Coastal Resilience Project

Cuba

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved US$23.9 million in finance for a coastal resilience project along Cuba’s southern coastline.

GCF financing will be provided during the project’s first 8 years and will complement US$20.3 million of dedicated financing that will be provided by the Government of Cuba for the implementation of an ecosystem-based adaptation approach for coastal protection. The 30-year ‘Mi Costa’ project will enhance climate resilience for over 440,000 Cubans and protect vulnerable coastal habitats.

Delivered by the Environment Agency of the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the innovative project will accelerate the ambition of the Cuban Government’s contribution to the Paris Agreement, enhancing ecosystem-based adaptation approaches for 1,300 kilometers of coastline across 24 municipalities. It will also provide an important basis of support for the implementation of the “State Plan to Manage Climate Change ‘Tarea Vida’ (Life Task).”

The island nation of Cuba is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. And while the Cuban Government has made impressive gains towards sustainable development, coastal erosion, flooding, saline intrusion, drought and sea-level rise, threaten these hard-won economic and social gains.

“Impacts from these climate drivers pose an existential threat to coastal settlements and communities. With funding from the Green Climate Fund and support from UNDP, this new project will provide valuable inputs to the Government’s work under Tarea Vida. Together these efforts will help vulnerable populations adapt to risks brought on by climate change,” said Dr. Odalys Goicochea, Director, General Environment Directorate of CITMA.

Projections show that if no intervention is made by the end of the 21st Century, up to 21 coastal communities will disappear entirely in Cuba, with 98 more severely affected by climate-related threats.

Hurricanes have also extensively damaged infrastructure across the island. Hurricane Matthew crossed the eastern end of Cuba in October 2016, causing over US$97 million in damages (2.6 percent of GDP). Hurricanes Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012) cost US$293 million (12.05 percent of GDP) and US$278 million (9.53 percent of GDP) respectively.

“By taking cost-effective ecosystem-based approaches, this innovative project will protect and restore natural habitats, reefs, seagrasses and mangroves, and help communities to protect their environment from the present and future risks posed by these severe tropical storms and hurricanes, sea-level rise and other climate change related risks. A key aspect of the project will be its focus on working with communities and local authorities to fully understand the value of ecosystems to their own resilience and livelihoods,” said Dr. Maritza García, President of the Environment Agency.

In all, the project will restore over 11,000 hectares of mangroves, 3,000 hectares of swamp forest and 900 hectares of grass swamp. These steps will improve the health of over 9,000 hectares of seagrass beds and approximately 134 kilometers of coral reef crests – essential protections from rising seas and storm surges. The project’s integrated ecosystem-based approach will allow coastal ecosystems to act as a layer of protective barriers to climate change impact seen in the form of coastal erosion and flooding while managing saline intrusion.

“The interventions on ecosystems and with the participation of communities will be reflected in the benefit of more than 1.3 million of inhabitants. “Mi Costa” will be a critical contribution to Cuba’s efforts in achieving the Sustainable Developments Goals set in the 2030 Agenda,” said Ms. Maribel Gutiérrez, the UNDP Cuba Resident Representative.

“Mi Costa” builds on the impacts of a highly successful coastal resilience project financed by the Adaptation Fund and implemented also with the support of UNDP and Environment Agency.

This new project will enhance adaptive capacity for vulnerable coastal communities on Cuba’s southern coast by rehabilitating coastal land and seascapes, and their interlinked ecosystems and hydrology, replanting and restoring mangroves and reefs, and strengthening local climate governance and approaches for communities living on the frontlines of the climate crisis. It will be benefitted by leveraging the support of local centers for environmental education, capacity building centers as well as local and national coordination mechanisms as part of the project’s long-term approach to manage climate change.

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New Report Analyses the Socioeconomic Repercussions of COVID-19 in the Caribbean

Covid economy

The large-scale and long-lasting effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), combined with the possible impact of other hazards and recent events, threaten to damage or destroy vital infrastructure and the life-support systems of large parts of societies and economies. That is why it is urgently necessary to move towards a systemic approach to disaster risk, primarily in the Caribbean, which is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with economies dependent on foreign tourism and heavy debt burdens. So indicates a document released today, which was produced by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

The report entitled The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic: an opportunity for a systemic approach to disaster risk for the Caribbean emphasizes that disaster risk is systemic and generates complex interactions between human, social, political and economic systems on the one hand, and natural systems on the other. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the extent to which a single hazard has the potential to trigger a series of cascading effects, impacting the life-support systems of societies and economies worldwide.

“This crisis underscores the need for disaster risk management to be incorporated into national planning, in order to guarantee a comprehensive response to disasters. At the global and regional levels, it is crucial that those of us who work in international organizations seek ways to promote and foster a new development model and a global framework that would enable us to provide a coordinated and adequate response to the next pandemic,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, affirmed.

Meanwhile, Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, indicated that “now is the time for multi-stakeholder dialogue and action to understand and manage systemic risk. Progress towards risk-informed sustainable development will only be accelerated by incorporating systems-based approaches into the design of policies and investments across all sectors and regions, and at all levels.”

The document indicates that the duration of COVID-19 increases the likelihood that the risk of disasters originating from other threats occurs simultaneously, or that post-disaster reconstruction be delayed. The effects and impacts of the Eta and Iota hurricanes in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua – combined with those of COVID-19 – are proof of this, as is the delay prompted by the pandemic in reconstruction efforts after the disaster caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

It specifies that the selection of the Caribbean to exemplify the potential effects of systemic disaster risk is no coincidence. “This region was chosen because it is highly vulnerable to hydrometeorological or extreme climate phenomena, it has more than 90% of the population living in coastal areas and its economies are dependent on foreign tourism and are highly indebted,” the report emphasizes, adding that the economic and social effects of COVID-19 have been devastating for the Caribbean and will last for several years.

According to the report, the pandemic has brought to light the cracks in current development models and highlighted their limitations, both globally as well as in the case of Latin America and the Caribbean in particular. Until recently, orthodox economists agreed that maintaining fiscal balance, limiting State intervention in the economy as much as possible, and fostering trade and financial openness would suffice to generate growth and redistribution. There was unfettered confidence that liberalizing markets for goods, services and capital would be the right formula for ensuring prosperity. This ideological framework sustained a system of international governance whose main objective was to minimize national barriers to trade and investment.

“It is now recognized that the State must play a much more important role, regulating and coordinating markets and promoting social protection and equality. Building back better in the Caribbean must be rebuilding with equality and resilience, for instance by implementing active fiscal policies with a gender approach to mitigate the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and by forging political compacts at all levels based on feminist principles of redistribution of power, time, work and resources. The aim is to move towards a development model that has equality and environmental sustainability at its center. In the Caribbean, which is threatened by multiple hazards, a systemic approach is required to reduce disaster risk and vulnerabilities,” the document states.

The report concludes that the complexity of these situations demands an approach that transcends traditional and compartmentalized methods of disaster risk reduction. It asserts that, in order for efforts to reduce disaster impact to be effective, it is necessary to abandon the simplistic model that ignores the systemic characteristics of extreme phenomena. This applies to institutional arrangements for risk governance, community organizations, research initiatives and policymaking. Thus, development planning can play a fundamental role, helping to incorporate a systemic approach into risk governance.

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Pandemic Prompts Rise in Poverty to Levels Unprecedented in Recent Decades

poverty and unemployment covid

In a new annual report, ECLAC estimates that the total number of poor people rose to 209 million by the end of 2020, which is 22 million more people than in the previous year. In addition, it calls for creating a new welfare state.

Poverty and extreme poverty in Latin America reached levels in 2020 that had not been seen in the last 12 and 20 years, respectively, while the indices of inequality in the region worsened along with employment and labor participation rates, among women above all, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the emergency social protection measures that countries have adopted to halt this phenomenon, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) reported today.

The Executive Secretary of the United Nations regional commission, Alicia Bárcena, presented a new edition of the flagship annual report Social Panorama of Latin America 2020, which indicates that the pandemic burst forth in a complex economic, social and political scenario of low growth, rising poverty and growing social tensions. In addition, it exposes the structural inequalities that characterize Latin American societies and the high levels of informality and lack of social protection, as well as the unfair sexual division of labor and social organization of care, which undermines women’s full exercise of rights and autonomy.

According to ECLAC’s new projections – as a result of the steep economic recession in the region, which will notch a -7.7% drop in GDP – it is estimated that in 2020 the extreme poverty rate was 12.5% while the poverty rate affected 33.7% of the population. This means that the total number of poor people rose to 209 million by the end of 2020, affecting 22 million more people than in the previous year. Of that total, 78 million people found themselves living in extreme poverty, or 8 million more than in 2019.

The document indicates that gaps remain between population groups: poverty is greater in rural areas, among children and adolescents; indigenous and Afro-descendent persons; and in the population with lower educational levels. It adds that the increase in poverty and extreme poverty levels would be even greater in the absence of the measures implemented by governments to transfer emergency income to households. Governments in the region implemented 263 emergency social protection measures in 2020, reaching 49.4% of the population, which is approximately 84 million households or 326 million people. Without these measures, the incidence of extreme poverty would have surged to 15.8% and that of poverty, to 37.2% of the population.

“The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the region’s major structural gaps and currently, we are living in a time of heightened uncertainty in which neither the way out of the crisis nor the speed of that process is yet known. There is no doubt that the costs of inequality have become unsustainable and that it is necessary to build back with equality and sustainability, aiming to create a true welfare state, a task long postponed in the region,” Alicia Bárcena affirmed.

That is why ECLAC calls for guaranteeing universal social protection as a central pillar of the welfare state. It specifies that in the short term, it is necessary to implement or maintain the emergency transfers proposed by the Commission: the emergency basic income (EBI) and the anti-hunger grant and EBI for women. In the medium and long term, countries must move towards a universal basic income, prioritizing families with children and adolescents, and get behind universal, comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems, increasing their coverage, as a central component of a new welfare state.

The Commission also urges for moving towards new social and fiscal compacts for equality in times of pandemic, and for ensuring health, education and digital inclusion, so that no one lags behind.

“ECLAC’s call for a new social compact is more relevant than ever: the pandemic is a critical juncture that is redefining what is possible, and it opens a window of opportunity to leave the culture of privilege behind,” the high-level United Nations official emphasized.

The report indicates that the pandemic’s adverse impact on people’s income mainly affects lower and lower-middle income strata. It is estimated that in 2020, some 491 million Latin Americans were living with income of up to three times the poverty line. And around 59 million people who belonged to the middle strata in 2019 experienced a process of downward economic mobility.

According to the document, inequality in total income per person is expected to have grown in 2020, leading to the average Gini index being 2.9% higher than what was recorded in 2019. Without the transfers made by governments to attenuate the loss of wage income (the distribution of which tends to be concentrated in low and middle income groups), the increase in the average Gini index for the region would have been 5.6%.

The report also underscores the major labor market impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The regional unemployment rate ended 2020 at 10.7%, which represents an increase of 2.6 percentage points versus the figure recorded in 2019 (8.1%). It adds that the overall drop in employment and withdrawal from the workforce have had an intensified impact on women, informal workers, young people and migrants.

The report includes a special chapter on the care economy as a strategic sector for a recovery with equality. It emphasizes that the pandemic has revealed the enormous cost the region’s countries have borne because they do not have an integrated, defeminized and quality care system with broad coverage. In light of this, it warns that “it is urgently necessary to invest in this sector to tackle the crisis, guarantee the right to give care and receive care, as well as to reactivate the economy from a perspective of equality and sustainable development.”

To this end, ECLAC urges for moving towards a care society that would allow for guaranteeing an egalitarian and sustainable recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Caused a Setback of Over a Decade in Labor Market Participation for Women in the Region

Woman Labour

In a new special report, ECLAC stresses that it is essential to advance toward policies that contribute to a sustainable recovery with gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on employment and labor conditions for women in Latin America and the Caribbean, generating a setback of more than a decade in terms of the progress achieved in labor market participation, according to Special Report COVID-19 No. 9: The economic autonomy of women in a sustainable recovery with equality, released today by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

According to the report, the rate of job market participation by women was at 46% in 2020, while for men it was 69% (in 2019, these rates were 52% and 73.6%, respectively). It is further estimated that the unemployment rate for women reached 12% in 2020, a percentage that rises to 22.2% if we factor in women’s participation in the labor force in 2019. In 2020, the study explains, there was a mass exodus of women from the labor force, who have not returned to search for employment, having to attend to care demands at home. 

The decline in regional gross domestic product (GDP) (-7.7% in 2020) and the impact of the crisis on employment are negatively affecting household income, says the report presented at a press conference by Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary. The United Nations regional organization estimates that around 118 million Latin American women are living in poverty, 23 million more than in 2019.

“The women of the region are a crucial part of the frontline response to the pandemic. Some 73.2% of people employed in the health sector are women, who have had to face extreme working conditions such as long work days, in addition to increased risk of contagion as health personnel. All of this in a regional context in which salary discrimination persists, where salaries for women who work in the health sector are 23.7% less than men’s in the same sector,” pointed out Alicia Bárcena.

The study further underscores that paid domestic work, characterized as highly precarious and impossible to do remotely, has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the crisis. In 2019, before the pandemic, around 13 million people worked in paid domestic labor (91.5% of them women). In total, this sector employed 11.1% of employed women in the region. However, in the second quarter of 2020, the employment levels in paid domestic work fell -24.7% in Brazil; -46.3% in Chile; -44.4% in Colombia; -45.5% in Costa Rica; -33.2% in Mexico; and -15.5% in Paraguay.

“Latin America and the Caribbean must invest in the care economy and recognize it as a dynamizing sector in the recovery, with multiplying effects on wellbeing, the redistribution of time and income, labor participation, growth and tax revenue,” asserted the ECLAC senior authority.

In this context, Bárcena encouraged governments to “prioritize health workers in their vaccination strategies – including persons who provide associated services like cleaning, transport and care – as well as those working in educations systems and domestic health, most of them women, who are a fundamental pillar for the care and sustainability of life.”

According to the ECLAC report, 56.9% of women in Latin America and 54.3% in the Caribbean are employed in sectors where the pandemic is expected to have a higher negative impact in terms of employment and income.

According to the study, the closing of borders, restrictions on mobility, the fall in international trade and paralysis of internal production have impacted the female workers and businesswomen associated with sectors like commerce, tourism and manufacturing. For instance, the tourism sector, where 61.5% of positions are occupied by women, suffered a significant contraction that mainly affected the countries of the Caribbean, where one in 10 working women are employed in this sector.

During the presentation of the report, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary highlighted the urgent need to reinforce employment policies and ensure that women participate in the dynamizing sectors of the economy in decent working conditions. She likewise emphasized the importance of combining measures aimed at employment support and reactivation with measures of immediate attention to losses in income.

In this context it is “urgent that we promote inclusive processes of digital transformation that guarantee women access to technologies, strengthen their abilities and remove the socioeconomic barriers they face in order to strengthen their economic autonomy,” underlined Alicia Bárcena, while at the same time stressing the low fiscal effort posed by the basic digital basket proposed by ECLAC (1% of regional GDP) and the enormous impact connecting one of every four women in Latin America and the Caribbean would have.

“It is essential that we advance toward a new fiscal compact that promotes gender equality and prevents the deepening of poverty levels among women, the burden of non-paid work and the reduction of financing for gender policies,” she warned.

“In addition to having a gender perspective that cuts across all recovery policies, affirmative actions are required in the areas of fiscal, labor, productive, economic and social policies to protect the rights of women achieved in the past decade, prevent setbacks and take on gender inequalities in the short, medium and long terms,” concluded Bárcena.

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Leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean Set Priorities for the Post COVID-19 Recovery Agenda

economy recovery covid

Over 2,700 attendees and representatives from 35 governments met virtually on January 12, 13 and 14 at the XII Ministerial Forum for Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean “COVID-19 – Beyond Recovery. Towards a new social contract for LAC”.

The event co-organized by the government of the Republic of Colombia and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), included the Fourth Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Regional Conference on Social Development in Latin America and the Caribbean of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). It brought together vice-presidencies and ministries in charge of the design and implementation of development policies oriented to social, economic and environmental areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Forum was aimed at sharing and analyzing experiences and strategies to reach a new social contract for the region that goes beyond the recovery to target conditions prior to the pandemic, and that advances in the construction of more inclusive, productive and resilient societies better equiped to face future crises.

The event was framed by the reflection on how the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region quickly went from being a health crisis, to presenting social, economic and, in several cases, even governance challenges. The pandemic has also interacted with structural lags, threatening decades of progress in the development of countries.

COVID-19 and its unprecedented effects on human development are a warning of the kinds of challenges we will undoubtedly face in the future, unless we transform the way we interact with the planet.

In order not to leave anyone behind, it is essential to strengthen national, regional and global alliances and cooperation mechanisms that include all sectors and forces of society. At the regional level, the new United Nations Regional Collaboration Platform (RCP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, established following the mandate of the UN General Assembly and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to strengthen the regional architecture of the United Nations and ensure a better response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will play a key role.

 

The forum focused on three critical areas for the region’s development: social protection, inclusive digital transformation, and effective governance.

The forum opened with a welcome greeting from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Claudia Blum, followed by the valuable interventions of H.E. Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia, and the renowned academic Francis Fukuyama, among other participants. The first event, reflected on how social protection and tax systems can serve the construction of resilient societies. Participants deliberated on the importance of expanding access to health and social protection for those sectors more vulnerable to the crisis. The importance of rethinking social protection systems so that they gradually move towards universal schemes, was also discussed. This requires to understand social protection systems as a part of a broad social pact that is intimately linked to countries’ fiscal situation.

The 2020 Ministerial Forum offered an oportunity for the Regional Launch of the Global Human Development Report, which had the honor of having H.E. Iván Duque Márquez, President of Colombia as the main speaker and Ms. Laura Chinchilla, Former President of Costa Rica, as a panelist, among other distinguished personalities. The new Human Development Report 2020 (HDI) looks at how humanity can navigate this new era (the era of the Anthropocene), unfolding the relationships between people and the planet and showing how our impacts on Earth interact with inequalities in societies.

 

The COVID-19 crisis has also made clear the need to move away from a classification of Caribbean economies based solely on income to incorporate a vulnerabilities approach. With a presentation by Ravi Kanbur, Professor of World Affairs and Applied Economics at Cornell University, the forum served as an initial platform for discussion on options for a new classification of the Caribbean economies.

In relation to digital transformation, the central role of technological inclusion was analyzed so that the impact caused by the pandemic does not aggravate social inequalities between those with and without access to economic or learning activities through digital means. The current situation is an opportunity for digital inclusion to promote present and future economic dynamism, in coordination with private agents and civil society. In fact, one of the discussion tables that attracted the most attention from the public, was the one where private initiatives for digitalization for development were discussed with senior executives from companies such as Visa, AT & T / DIRECTTV, 1MillionBot and Davinci Technologies.

On the realm of effective governance, prominent personalities such as H.E. David Choquehuanca Céspedes, Vice President of Bolivia and H.E. Ricardo Lagos, Former President of Chile, among others, shared their perspectives. According to them, a broad and inclusive public deliberation is necessary for evidence-based policies to find an echo in the competitive Marketplace for ideas. Policies that are conceived with transparency and citizens’ participation, are more likely to be effective and sustainable in the medium term.

 

Finally, the participants examined the measures necessary to consolidate effective governance to prevent the impact on the income of millions of families and on public budgets, from increasing political polarization.

The Vice Presidencies and Ministries thanked the government of the Republic of Colombia and UNDP for the opportunity to dialogue on crucial issues in a context of unprecedented complexity. They highlighted the role of the organization and its strategic contributions offering timely research and policy proposals based on evidence to build solutions to the crisis; as well as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for its contributions to the reflections of the Forum.

A new social pact to emerge from the crisis requires recognizing that, as a systemic crisis, recovery from the pandemic requires a systemic solution and, therefore, this is an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionize the way we think about and conduct social development.

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Colombian President Officially Opens Trina Solar Plant

Solar plant power

The second phase of the Los Llanos photovoltaic power plant project developed and managed by Trina Solar in Colombia has been connected to the grid and the start of its commercial operations officially declared.

The President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, cut the ribbon at the delivery ceremony on Jan 22. He expressed his gratitude to Trina Solar for its important contribution to the smooth grid connection of the project and said it will enable thousands of Colombian families to have safe, reliable and permanent energy. Colombia has made great strides in renewable energy, he said, and by next year the installed capacity of solar and wind energy in the country will have increased more than seven-fold.

Phases one, two and three of the Los Llanos project, with total installed capacity of 82 MWp, have been developed by Trina Solar’s International System Business Unit (ISBU). Trina Solar (Colombia), a wholly owned subsidiary of Trina Solar, provided EPC management services for this project. The first phase of the 27MWp megawatt project was completed and delivered to the grid in October. The second phase, involving grid connection, installed capacity of 27MWp megawatts and will generate 51 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year, equivalent to the consumption of 23,800 households. It will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 19,450 tons a year.

The President of Trina Solar International System Business, Mr. You Hongming, said that having President Duque cut the ribbon was a great honor for the company.

“The President’s recognition of Trina Solar’s contribution to Colombia’s renewable energy business encourages us greatly. Trina Solar International System Business has worked on cultivating its activities in Latin America over many years, has accumulated a fantastic pipeline and built up a strong and experienced project execution team. Our team completed the second phase of the Los Llanos project  and achieved grid connection in just four months, this is a remarkable achievement given the difficult circumstances resulted from COVID-19.”

The head of the Latin American North Region of Trina Solar International System Business, Ruben Borja, said: “President Duque’s attendance at the ceremony adds to our confidence in the Colombian solar market. Our team is now giving its all to complete the fourth and fifth stages of the Los Llanos project, which will have installed capacity of about 52 MWp.”

The overall project will install more than 200,000 high-reliability, high-power dual-glass modules, coupled with Vanguard Tracker Solutions. The perfect adaptation of Trina Solar’s dual-glass modules and the tracker system can reduce the levelized cost of energy and provide customers with high reliability, high-power generation and higher returns. As the leading global PV and smart energy total solution provider, Trina Solar provides customers worldwide with a package of integrated solar energy solutions including products, power plants development, design, procurement and EPC management services.

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Chilean artist Ivan Navarro’s electric works will be exhibited in Paris

Lights

The City of Lights will be saturated with the radiant works of conceptual artist Iván Navarro as it hosts two new exhibitions, at Centquatre and Galerie Templon. The arts centre is offering a retrospective look at over 20 years of his work while the gallery is unveiling ten radically new pieces, born of pandemic-era isolation; bursting with inspiration and inventiveness, the works are entirely handmade by the artist.

Born in 1972 in Santiago, Chile, Iván Navarro grew up under the regime of Pinochet before moving to New York in 1997. Fascinated by the codes of minimalism and American design, he builds electric sculptures whose raw material is light itself. Haunted by his experience of the dictatorship, his work subtly intertwines artistic references and political engagement. He uses lighting, optical illusions and wordplay as tools to transform space, shift perceptions and explore questions of power and control. Over the years, he has created pieces that, behind their enticing appearance as light installations, evoke the darkest themes of our time: torture, imprisonment, domination, north-south inequalities and political propaganda.

With Planetarium, Iván Navarro takes the viewer on a poetic journey through cosmic landscapes. Constellations, nebulae and eclipses inhabit large panels of illuminated glass which open like windows onto infinite space. Both sublime and slightly disturbing, his imaginary maps question the limits of astronomy, mental representations and anthropocentrism. At the heart of this star-strewn voyage, pieces such as Shard refer to shattering blasts; and Mirage also implies a latent violence.

As Iván Navarro explains “observing the stars is like touching the greatest secrets of the universe with your fingertips.” Which gives rise to metaphysical probing: what are the origins of our civilisation? Is history bound to repeat itself? What role could we imagine for human beings in a constantly expanding universe?

This questioning process is driven by the artist’s incursion into hitherto uncharted territory: the use of paint as a working medium. For the first time, Iván Navarro, whose practice has thoroughly explored the boundaries between design, architecture and sculpture, is taking up the paintbrush. Repeating the same movement over and over, he meticulously engraves then paints and pours thousands of splashes of vivid colour inside one-way mirrors, transforming the LED lights into explosions and celestial phenomena. This cathartic approach underscores the artist’s examination of the modern human-machine pairing. He sets the object – an industrial-style mirror – against the arbitrary nature of the human hand, the singularity of human touch, the fragility of the human being.

Iván Navarro currently lives and works In New York. He represented Chile at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. Over recent years, his work has been shown worldwide: Bifocal, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Buenos Aires (2019); This Land is Your Land, Momentary, part of the Crystal Bridges Museum, USA (2019); This Land is Your Land, solo, Busan Museum, Korea; Age of Terror, Imperial War Museum, London (2018); Light and Space, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2017); Art Basel Parcours, Switzerland; Yinchuan Biennale, China (2016); Under the Same Sun, South London Gallery (2016 and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2014); Storylines, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London and Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2013 – 2016).
His art features in a great many international collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC) and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (Paris). He has been represented by Galerie Templin since 2005. This Spring, the city of San Francisco inaugurated The Ladder, a new permanent installation by the artist.

This winter, a retrospective of his work will be on show at Centquatre, Paris, from 9 January  to 28 February 2021. Publishing house Skira is co-publishing a catalogue with Galerie Templon. Welcome is a 200-page work with texts by José-Manuel Gonçalvès, director of Centquatre-Paris, Pablo Leon de la Barra, curator, and Alfredo Jaar, artist, architect and filmmaker. Ivan will also be featuring a group of 10 pieces, all recent and never shown before, at the Galerie Templon from January 30 to March 27.

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Brazil Partners with 3rd Floor Public Relations for its Expo 2020 Pavilion’s Integrated Communication

Brazil

The Brazil pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has entrusted 3rd Floor Public Relations for managing its integrated communication plans. 3rd Floor Public Relations was awarded the assignment after a rigorous six-month tender process that witnessed the participation of several agencies from around the world.

3rd Floor Public Relations is a global integrated communication agency with operations in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Milan and Dubai. The agency works in the region for local government entities, breakthrough UAE brands and Expo 2020 country pavilions.

3rd Floor Public Relations will manage Brazil pavilion’s communication, including traditional and digital PR and Social Media in the UAE and the rest of the region. 

Jacopo Stecchini, CEO of 3rd Floor Public Relations, said, “We are happy to have the opportunity to work for a truly unique pavilion, a country that has always proved to be one of the leading participants in the past editions of the World Expo. We, therefore, face this new path with extreme enthusiasm and a sense of great responsibility. The pavilion represents an important part of the beauty and uniqueness of the much-loved country of Brazil, and we are eager to get started.”

“We have been associated with the World Expos since our inception. Our work for various countries at the Expos in Shanghai in 2010 and Milan in 2015 have won us several awards and accolades. Our learnings and experience at the previous events will add value to our work for clients at Expo Dubai 2020,” he added.

 

The Brazil Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

With 4000 square meters, the pavilion will have water as the main element. A thin water blade, representing the Brazilian rivers and where visitors can walk, will occupy most of the space, providing an experience that will be complemented by projections, sounds and aromas. Inspired by the Negro River (located in the Amazon Forest) and the nature of Brazil’s northern region, the building will have a pavement that reproduces the houses in stilts common to the riverside regions.

Under the organization of Apex-Brazil, the Brazilian pavilion, designed by architect José Paulo Gouvêa, will have space for lectures and exhibitions, a restaurant and a souvenir shop. It will be a space of shade and rest during the day, and in the evening, it will come alive as a floating luminous cube.

 

3rd Floor Public Relations

Founded in 2007, 3rd Floor is an award-winning communications agency. It connects media, digital ambassadors and a select community of global influencers through international offices opened in Dubai, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Milan, and working through a network of partners to reach single countries worldwide.

In the MENA Region, 3rd Floor builds tailored strategies to reach targeted audiences through digital and traditional Public Relations, social media, online and offline advertising and visual communications.

 

The Expo Dubai 2020

The global exhibition takes place every five years. They are major events where the biggest attraction is the participating countries’ pavilions, which have an exhibition space, cultural and gastronomic activities, seminars, and networking hip events. In 2020, with the theme Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, the Dubai Expo is organized into three thematic axes: opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

The Brazilian pavilion will be part of this last thematic axis, reaffirming the importance of biodiversity, culture of environmental preservation, competitiveness based on sustainability and the portrait of Brazilian multiculturalism.

Expo Dubai 2020 represents a singular moment of promotion of Brazilian diversity and an opportunity to tell the world of its unique features. The event is linked to the efforts of Apex-Brazil in the commercial promotion of agribusiness, innovative technologies, as well as the construction of an economically attractive country image and a natural destination for foreign investments. It will also contribute to reinforcing the regional, gastronomic and ethnic multiplicity and immigration diversity of Brazil.

Apex-Brazil is responsible for building the pavilion and organizing the Brazilian participation at Expo Dubai. In 2015, the agency organized the Brazilian participation at Expo Milano and, in 2010, at the Expo Shanghai.

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Global Superstar Neymar Jr. Joins Forces With Superdry To Front Organic Cotton Underwear Collection

Neymar
Right image sourced from talkSPORT

Brazilian football star Neymar Jr. joins the Superdry family in a three-year global deal that champions sustainability with a 100% organic underwear and sleepwear collection.

The partnership marks a milestone in Superdry’s history, which will see the brand kick start 2021 by amplifying the message of sustainable style to a global audience. Joining forces with the footballing legend and style icon will further promote Superdry’s sustainable vision for the future of fashion. Superdry has pledged to become a 100% organic cotton brand by 2030 and is already supporting 400 farmers in India, in a transition to organic farming, as part of the brands Grow Future Thinking initiative.

On joining the Superdry family Neymar Jr. quoted,

“Obviously, when we talk about clothes, whatever their type, the first thing we want is comfort. It’s not different with underwear and sleepwear. But when you add sustaintability to both first conditions, Superdry is, unquestionably, the best one I’ve found. I’m very happy with the development and potential of this partnership.”

The agreement with Neymar is a further step in the revival of the Superdry brand under founder, Julian Dunkerton, who [yesterday] was confirmed as permanent CEO of the business.

The relationship with Neymar Jr will see Superdry commit to supporting a cause close to the footballer’s heart, the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. (iNJR) based out of the Jardim Glória neighbourhood, in Praia Grande, where Neymar Jr grew up. Currently the non-profit civil association has over 2,000 children registered. It works to expand opportunities for children, adolescents and their families who live in a situation of social vulnerability, through education, culture, sport and health.

“Neymar’s passion for creating positive change through the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr. aligns with our goals to produce the most sustainable product, whilst protecting our planet and supporting our people in all that we do.” says Julian Dunkerton. “Superdry will do the right thing to drive progressive change in our global communities leaving a positive environmental legacy for the future generation, through one of the many exciting initiatives we have planned.”

Furthermore, Superdry have pledged an annual donation to support the iNJR in helping to change the lives of young people in Brazil, channelled through sustainable style helping to protect our planet and our people.

“Neymar Jr has unique style on and off the pitch” says Superdry Creative Director, Phil Dickinson. “We love his approach to life and his creativity fits perfectly with our brand value of embodying the spirit of adventure. We already make amazing underwear and our aim is to make it even better. They are a super comfortable organic cotton fabric, using recycled poly waistbands which make them 100% sustainable and responsibly sourced. In addition to underwear, working with Neymar, we are expanding our collection to provide stylish organic cotton essentials within a sleepwear collection. All this means you can look stylish and be doing good things, even whilst you are lounging.”

Neymar Jr. currently plays football for Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazilian National Team. He has won The Champions League, the Copa Libertadores as well as winning domestic trophies in France, Spain and Brazil. In 2016 he picked up an Olympic Gold Medal with the Brazil National Team and has proved to be one of the all-time highest scorers for the CBF. Neymar Jr. has a massive global social media audience with over 143 million on Instagram alone. This reach combined, with a passion for social causes, makes him the perfect partner for Superdry to Grow Future Thinking.

Superdry is a contemporary brand focussed on delivering high style and premium quality products in four collections. Inspired by the cultures of America, Japan and Britain Superdry delivers beautifully crafted, relaxed style with engaging content. Methods of making, attention to detail, premium materials and hand drawn art are the signature details of the collections.  Superdry has a significant global presence in 65 countries. Superdry.com our digital experience retails safely and securely to over 100 countries worldwide.

Our Brand Mission is to inspire and engage style obsessed consumers, leaving a positive environmental legacy.

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Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme Adds New Development to Real Estate Roster

Timbo's

The Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica has approved a new real estate development option to operate under its world-leading Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. The upcoming boutique resort, Timbo’s Downtown, is anticipated to become the hotspot for business lodgings and luxury leisure in Dominica’s capital. The property is also the second to be developed under the Timbo brand on the island. The first opened in 2017.

The Timbo property is now the eighth approved development that applicants can invest in under the CBI Programme. Additional properties on the island include renowned brands from the likes of Marriott, Hilton and Kempinski, with other unique boutique resorts like Secret Bay and Jungle Bay. Dominica’s real estate sector has been pivotal to bolstering eco-tourism on the island, attracting investors and holidaymakers alike.

As much of the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, Caribbean real estate has seen a surge in interest, particularly from Americans investors hoping to secure a Plan B should one be needed. “Dominica has such a diverse real estate offering ranging from internationally branded hotels and eco-resorts. Timbo’s Downtown is a fantastic addition to a great array of real estate in Dominica. With easy access to USA and the surge in demand for ecotourism it makes ideal investment and asset diversification for Americans,” says Paul Singh, Director at CS Global Partners. Investors who choose this route can also expect a return on their investment as they are permitted to sell the property after holding it for the required number of years.

Introduced in 1993, Dominica’s CBI Programme has gone on to become the world’s best offering for second citizenship as internationally recognised by the annual CBI Index. For the last four consecutive years, Dominica has led the investment migration industry with its transparency, affordability and efficiency. Applicants who want to become citizens of Dominica can do so by either investing $200,000 in a chosen pre-approved real estate property or by contributing to the government fund for $100,000.

After undergoing stringent due diligence checks, successful applicants unlock a world of possibilities including increased travel freedom to approximately 140 destinations, the right to live and work in the country and the invaluable option to pass citizenship down for generations to come.  

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