Caribbean leaders meet to discuss climate change issues

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says the two-day United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Caribbean Heads of Governments meeting, opening in The Bahamas on Tuesday, should allow for a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) position ahead of the UNFCCC COP 27 to be held in Egypt November 7-18.

“My message at this conference will be very clear that the kicking of the can down the road where action on climate change needs to be taken must stop,” Skerrit said as he departed for Nassau.

“Our countries in the Caribbean are facing an existential threat because of climate change and there have been promises of monies to help us build resilience, to help us build adaptation in our countries but we have not been receiving that money,” he added.

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Skerrit said at every COP meeting “there are some promises and there are some new promises and coming from the Paris agreement, nothing has happened really.

“So there is this pool of funds and if these funds are going to be accessed by way of loans how are we going to pay it,” said Skerrit, who wants Dominica to become the first climate resilient country in the world.

In July, Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis addressing the annual summit of CARICOM leaders in Suriname said the meeting in Nassau will allow for discussions on matters pertaining to climate financing and adaptation ahead of COP 27.

“The Caribbean as a region will need more than US$40 billion to finance adaptation efforts and disaster recovery. Over the last few years, many of our countries have not fared well. Small ocean economies gain in negotiating strength and influence when we work effectively as one.

“It is no exaggeration to say that, if we do not stand together, we, each one of us, are in danger of falling apart. The deadline to attain the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda is a mere eight years away. Many of us are lagging in critical areas. There is no time to waste.”

Davis said too many times, Caribbean countries have acquired to the pressures of larger, more developed states. He said their approach of divide and conquer has hurt every country adding “might we be deriving greater value from our tourism industries if we had continued to negotiate in concert with some of the large multi-national corporations?

Skerrit, who is expected to be among a number of regional leaders attending the two-day meeting, reiterated that “the developed world has the opportunity, the ability to address the issues and they are not doing it.


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