Barbados' foreign affairs minister calls for increased action to combat climate changeThursday, July 22, 2021
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Barbados' Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr Jerome Walcott has appealed for efforts to be stepped up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-induced impacts, which negatively impact Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“We all have to work assiduously to increase climate action, build resilience and lower emissions. In addition, it is imperative that climate finance is urgently increased and that the global community acts quickly and with a high level of ambition to make up for delays in financing commitments under the Paris Agreement,” he said as he delivered virtual remarks at the Seventh CARICOM-Japan Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction on Wednesday.
Explaining why an urgent increase in climate action is needed, he added: “Climate change is one of the most serious environmental problems affecting Small Island Developing States like ours. SIDS are characterised by their exposure to a variety of risks and with limited capacity to effectively respond to them when they occur. This is particularly true for us in the Caribbean, being especially susceptible and vulnerable to natural disasters every year.
“The regularity of natural disasters as seen in recent years, gives countries in our region a narrow window of opportunity to recover and rebuild their resilience. The 2021 hurricane season has only just started and already Barbados and St Lucia have been affected by Elsa, a Category 1 hurricane which caused a great deal of damage and destruction to the housing stock here in Barbados and which was preceded by considerable ash fall from La Soufriere in April this year.”
Walcott stressed that in order for SIDS to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change, new and additional financial resources must be mobilised from all sources.
He pointed out that Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries are keen to see the continuation of a long-term finance programme under the Conference of the Parties (COP); and urged countries to fulfil their financial commitments under the tariff agreement.
The foreign minister noted this was especially necessary as the majority of SIDS funds have been “diverted to deal with the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He emphasised that his own country was committed to undertaking significant mitigation and adaptation measures, and pointed out that Barbados has not wavered in fulfilling its climate change actions.
Walcott reported that Barbados, like several other Caricom countries, had updated its Nationally Determined Contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in line with new national priorities.
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