Courtnae is a Commonwealth PhD Scholar (2017-2021) at Imperial College London's Centre for Environmental Policy, pursuing doctoral research under the supervision of Karen E. Makuch and Zen Makuch. Her research focuses on climate finance for adaptation and resilience, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Research Title: Increasing International Private Finance for Adaptation and Resilience in the Caribbean SIDS
My research focuses on increasing international private adaptation finance flows to the Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Caribbean SIDS are amongst the most vulnerable countries to being impacted by climate change. Climate change adaptation which is the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate effects, in an effort to enhance adaptive capacity and build resilience, is critical to reducing the costs of climate-related disasters and preserving sustainable development. Financing climate change adaptation activities in the Caribbean will require greater private sector investments due to the limited fiscal space and high debt to GDP ratios of these countries. Attracting private investment for resilience and particularly in Caribbean SIDS is challenging given the market characteristics such as high debt, the scale of projects and the high vulnerability due to poor risk-return profiles of adaptation projects. My work explores how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be used to quantify, monetise and transfer the benefits of adaptation and resilience which are often reserved for the country or region within which it is conducted to private investors. The objective of the research is to improve Caribbean SIDS’ access capital and attract investment by creating more attractive risk-return profiles for adaptation projects.
Growing up in the Caribbean Courtnae has always been involved with the environment and developed a desire to protect it. While pursuing her studies in Geography and Environmental Science at A’ levels she became more aware of the threats that not just the environment, but we as humans face because of our actions. To further understand the Earth System, she pursued her Undergraduate studies at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus in Mathematics and Earth Sciences which she completed with First Class Honours. She later pursued an MSc in Hydrology and Water Resources Management at Imperial College because water scarcity was one of her main concerns regarding Climate Change. However, being a strict science student she decided to pursue the MSc Climate Change Management and Finance at Imperial College Business School to become a more rounded professional as she realised the response of businesses and industries to these effects is integral in managing the demands for resources and addressing foreseen challenges.
Having seen first-hand the effects of climate change that are already manifesting themselves in her home country and other developing countries, Courtnae decided to pursue research in climate finance policy which will facilitate effective deployment of capital to assist these countries to build resilience to the impacts of climate change and preserve sustainable development.
Prior to starting her PhD, Courtnae interned at Statoil as a Sustainability Analyst and at Arup within the Advanced Technology and Research (AT R) climate change team.
She is also a National Scholar of her home country St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Academic Excellence.