BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, on Tuesday, welcomed the adoption of the Paris Agreement at United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) over the weekend after several years of discussions.
Stuart, who is also the Barbados prime minister, said, CARICOM “welcomes this globally binding commitment to combat climate change.
“We believe that the actions and investment approved in the Agreement will bring us closer to the goal of maintaining global average temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius and along a clear trajectory downwards towards 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.”
Stuart said that the agreement will also help to realise the goals of lower greenhouse gas emissions, greater resilience and sustainable development, especially among the Small Island and low-lying coastal Developing States (SIDS), with the most vulnerable populations, such as the countries of the Caribbean.
“We determinedly and successfully promoted recognition of the special circumstances and vulnerabilities of SIDS, which are among the lowest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, but are the most threatened by climate change.
“Our Community is already experiencing the effects of climate change, particularly with the intensification of climatic events and unusual weather patterns, as demonstrated in recent catastrophic events in St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and The Bahamas.”
Prime Minister Stuart said that the CARICOM’s interests were strongly represented in a focussed and coordinated manner by regional leaders, ministers, the CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque and a team of experienced and skilled negotiators led by Dr James Fletcher, the Energy Minister in St. lucia.
“We are satisfied that our strong advocacy helped to ensure that the Agreement reflected the Region’s position on our major red line issues,’ Stuart said, adding “the region’s successful campaign, built around the slogan “1.5 to Stay Alive”, received energetic support from several groups and organizations, including youths and cultural artistes, whose efforts must be applauded”.
He said that the agreement reflects the region’s position on financing support for the implementation activities in SIDS, including a baseline contribution of US$100 billion by 2020 and future additional provisions.
“This will significantly strengthen our capacity to attain the ambitious goals of Climate Change adaptation. We also applaud the proposed international cooperation on Climate-Change-friendly technologies and capacity building in developing countries as another adaptation measure.”
Stuart said that the region was also at the forefront of the successful campaign for inclusion of Loss and Damage as a distinct element in the agreement, which goes beyond adaptation and addresses irreversible losses and permanent impact on CARICOM and other SIDS, resulting from human induced climate change.
“Our team also left the negotiations satisfied with the support received on REDD-Plus (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation),” Stuart said, adding that the “task now is to ensure that the provisions of this legally-binding Agreement are implemented.
“The international community must now retain the energising and uplifting spirit of Paris in the process going forward. The world expects no less.”