CPDC to push for Caribbean debt relief and climate justice at COP 28
INCREASING the eligibility and accessibility of Caribbean states to concessional and grant-based climate financing will be high on the list of topics the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) will be placing at the forefront of discussions at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28).
COP28, which will be held from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will see world leaders and climate activists gather to discuss and take action towards achieving the world’s collective climate goals as agreed under the Paris Agreement and Convention.
According to Jwala Rambarran, senior policy advisor at CPDC and who will attend COP 28 on the organisation’s behalf, COP 28 provides an excellent platform to highlight critical climate and debt issues facing the Caribbean, and to push for collaborations with other key international stakeholders.
“CPDC sees COP28 as an ideal opportunity to continue working collaboratively with international civil society organisations and other partners such as Debt Justice UK, Eurodad, and the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group to build a global campaign for debt and climate justice for Caribbean SIDS and other Global South developing countries,” he said.
He also notes that this initiative is similar to the Jubilee 2000 debt campaign, which was one of the most successful and effective international NGO movements in history.
Rambarran further pointed out that CPDC will be using the forum to continue advocating for the Caribbean and other SIDS to have increased eligibility and access to concessional and grant-based climate finance. “Our campaign calls on the World Bank to supplement its Gross National Income (GNI) indicator — which it uses to determine access to concessional finance — with a multidimensional vulnerability index, which better captures the economic, social and environmental causes of vulnerability of Caribbean SIDS,” he stated.
CPDC’s Officer in Charge Richard Jones also indicated that CPDC will use the meeting to advance its call for debt relief in the form of cancellation, forgiveness, or restructuring as a main form of climate reparations to compensate the Global South, especially Caribbean SIDS, for the destruction and harm that the Global North has caused through global warming.
“Central to our reparation strategy is our call for half of the unused US$40-billion worth of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) sitting idle in central banks in Global North countries to be re-channelled as seed capital for the Loss and Damage Fund, emphasising that this climate finance must come in the form of grants, not loans, with no conditions attached,” Jones continued.
Jones’ comments are in line with the CPDC sovereign debt and climate justice initiative dubbed Caribbean Emancipation 2030, which seeks to cancel US$30 billion worth of Caribbean SIDS debt, freeing up resources to boost climate resilience actions aligned with the Paris Agreement and to support meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Caribbean Emancipation 2030 provides a useful template which can be further refined and expanded to include other heavily indebted, climate-vulnerable Global South nations.
Jones further noted that the organisation is both sceptical and eager to see decisions arising out of the upcoming COP28 meeting on the Loss and Damage Fund. The United Nations Transitional Committee convened its fifth meeting on November 3-4, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which saw a number of outcomes that will set the tone for decisions to be made on the fund at COP28. “However, the CPDC believes that some of these outcomes may not be in the best interest of developing countries, especially Caribbean small island developing states,” he explained, noting CPDC’s concern about the choice of the World Bank as an interim host for the fund, which may give the United States too much influence over the body’s loss and damage work while facing high administrative charges. Additionally, CPDC highlights that the lukewarm interest shown by developed countries to contribute to the Loss and Damage Fund is cause for consternation.
CPDC serves as a regional umbrella NGO for organisations comprising small farmers, women, youth, indigenous people, rural populations, persons with disabilities, and faith-based organisations located across Caricom. Altogether, it serves some 35 regional, sub-regional and national (local) NGOs working at the grass roots level in economic, social, and cultural areas across the Caribbean. The centre also has working relationships with many other NGOs and development partners across the region.
The organisation was established over 30 years ago and is mandated to work with NGOs and civil society to understand how policies affecting Caribbean people are made; to share information about policies and decision-making processes; to work to influence and bring change to the developmental process; and to support and lobby for policies which improve the lives of Caribbean people. In fulfilling its mandate the CPDC seeks to build the confidence and the ability of the Caribbean people to influence public policy.