Caribbean urged to continue pushing for climate change issues
A motorist travels on a flooded St John's Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine in this October 2020 file photo. Severe flooding in the region has been blamed on climate change.

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) – Executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Simon Stiell is urging the Caribbean to continue "punching above their weight" and continue to provide world-changing ideas as it pertains to the environment and climate change.

"The Caribbean is the region that can make the difference now in this time of consequence; we've done it before, we can do it again… and so I say to you, build bridges, find solutions, and chart a path," Stiell said as he delivered the 23rd William G Demas Memorial Lecture, a highlight of the annual board of governors meeting of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Speaking on the global climate finance negotiations and the progress on loss and damage funding for developing economies, Stiell told the audience on Tuesday night, "Our scientists have told us that reaching the 1.5-degree change is still possible, but the window is closing.

"As a region, we punch above our weight in world-changing ideas. Just take [Barbados] Prime Minister [Mia] Mottley's recent drive to make the regional financial architecture fit for purpose," he said in reference to the Bridgetown Initiative, which is seeking, among other things, to reform the way rich countries finance poor countries in a climate crisis."

Stiell, a former Grenada Government minister, said the Caribbean region was one of the front runners pushing for inclusion of the 1.5º-C target in the Paris Agreement of 2015.

"Those negotiating on our behalf knew all too well that 1.5 wasn't just a commitment, it was a lifeline, and it would require them to be agents of extraordinary change to deliver it. Despite a litany of hurdles, we succeeded.

"As the science now tells us, the dramatic difference in negative consequences of a world 2°C warmer rather than 1.5°C, the fact that we managed to secure this ambition to limit global warming to 1.5°C means we may have changed the whole world for the better as a result," he said, noting that "1.5ºC is not only inscribed as the stretch commitment in the Paris Agreement, it's enshrined into action across the entire world economy".

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