Paris climate deal gets CARICOM’s thumbs up

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CARICOM Chairman Freundel Stuart

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday December 17, 2015 – The Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, has applauded the recent historic adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by 195 nations.

“The Community 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 2 degrees Celsius, and along a clear trajectory downwards towards 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” he said in a statement.

The climate deal was reached after several years of discussion and an intense negotiation period from November 30 to December 12.

“That Agreement will also help to realize 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,” the CARICOM head said.

However, he stressed that the task now was to ensure that the provisions of this legally-binding Agreement were implemented, saying the international community must now retain the “energizing and uplifting spirit” of Paris in the process going forward.

“The world expects no less,” he declared.

Stuart pointed out that CARICOM’s interests were strongly represented in a focused and coordinated manner by Heads of Government, Ministers, the CARICOM Secretary General and his staff, and a team of experienced and skilled negotiators led by Dr. James Fletcher. He said they were satisfied that their strong advocacy helped to ensure that the Agreement reflected the region’s position on major red line issues.

“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.

“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.” He added.

Stuart pointed out 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 went beyond adaptation and addressed irreversible losses and permanent impact on CARICOM and other SIDS, resulting from human-induced climate change.

The Prime Minister commended the Government of France for guiding the inclusive and transparent process in which small States, like those in CARICOM, had a respected voice alongside bigger, more powerful nations.

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