Regional agencies converged on Saint Lucia on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, April 27 & 28, for the second meeting of the Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change. The high level meeting focused on a comprehensive review of the execution of the Implementation Plan to the landmark Regional Framework on Climate Change.
The Committee, which is chaired by Dr James Fletcher, St Lucia’s Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, deliberated on the role that members – namely CARICOM specialized agencies, academic institutions and regional financial institutions – should play in assisting Member States to effectively implement their obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. CARICOM Member States were among the 175 countries that signed the global Agreement in New York on April 22, 2016. Five CARICOM states also deposited their instruments of ratification upon signing, a strong indication of commitment, and others have pledged to do so in the immediate future.
In his opening address, Minister Fletcher informed the committee that CARICOM Heads had extended the mandate of the Task Force on Sustainable Development but limited it only to Climate Change because the other processes had ended. The Committee subsequently agreed that the Task Force and the Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change be merged into one entity and that recommendation be forwarded to COTED for its consideration.
In recognition of the concern that education on Climate Change appeared to be limited to Tertiary level institutions and in particular the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), the Committee endorsed the recommendation from the Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Dr. Kenrick Leslie, that a Technical Paper on Capacity Building for Climate Change be commissioned. It was further agreed that the CCCCC will take the lead on this initiative.
The Committee further agreed that since both the CCCCC and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are accredited as Regional Implementing Agencies under financial mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that national and regional institutions and agencies should take advantage of that status to access climate financing.
Recognizing that the region is already experiencing the impacts of climate change and climate variability, agencies have been undertaking work within their respective mandates to ensure the resilience of the Caribbean. These activities relating to sectors such as Tourism, Health, Agriculture, Coastal and Marine, Energy and Finance, to name a few, are articulated in the region’s Implementation Plan, which is used to guide regional and national approaches to enhancing the region’s response to the impacts of climate change and climate variability.
The donor community was also in attendance and shared their plans to assist the region to implement the Paris Agreement, including support for integrating these commitments into a revised Implementation Plan and the Regional Framework. The two-day meeting was organized by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.