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CARICOM hosts Moment of Ambition to Mark 5th Anniversary of Paris Agreement on Climate Change

(Belmopan, Belize; December 11, 2020.) – On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in partnership with the UK Government hosted the CARICOM Moment of Ambition.  The event was convened to demonstrate continued Small Island Developing States (SIDS) leadership and ambition and to underscore the need for immediate climate action internationally.  Hosting this event prior to the 12 December 2020, Climate Ambition Summit to be hosted by the United Nations, United Kingdom and France to celebrate the Paris Anniversary served to amplify the voice of CARICOM SIDS.

The event featured addresses by Lord Tariq Ahmad, UK Minister for the Commonwealth; Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, Secretary General of CARICOM; and Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

In his opening address to the Event, Lord Tariq Ahmad, UK Minister for the Commonwealth said:

“As small island states, Caribbean countries are on the frontline of the climate crisis. Their leadership in tackling climate change, even in the face of COVID-19, is an inspiration. I hope at tomorrow’s Climate Ambition Summit, other countries match the innovation, ambition and commitment demonstrated at today’s CARICOM Moment of Ambition Summit.

The UK will use our COP Presidency to accelerate progress, increase global ambition and motivate urgent, targeted action to protect climate-vulnerable countries from the impacts of climate change.”

The CARICOM SG praised Member States for their leadership in articulating ambitious revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  He noted, however, that SIDS ambition will not get us close to the 1.5 temperature goal and called for increased ambition by the international community. 

In signaling his concern, he noted, “What is also abundantly clear in the five years since Paris is that the Caribbean cannot afford the cost of the catastrophic consequences of climate change. We also cannot afford the cost of adaptation.”

Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in his remarks recalled that when the countries went into Paris in 2015, “the INDCs were a disparate collection of proposed actions, measures, programmes, and policies covering adaptation and mitigation. Some countries had economy-wide targets while others had sector specific targets; many referred to unconditional and conditional measures. Unfortunately, too many Parties submitted un-ambitious INDCs.” “Consequently” he added, “the efforts lacked the level of collective ambition necessary to limit warming to 1.5 degrees or well below 2 degrees Celsius.”

Expressing hope for a more positive outcome, Dr Young continued: “CARICOM is awaiting, with bated breath, the ambition announcements to be aired at the Climate Ambition Summit celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2020. We expect that other countries, especially the large emitters, will follow the United Kingdom’s strong lead and announce ambitious emissions reduction targets at the Summit. Bold targets will set the proper tone for 2021 and build greater momentum going into COP 26 in Glasgow where Antigua and Barbuda, another CARICOM Member State, will lead the AOSIS team.”

The Event featured presentations by H.E Pearnel Charles Jr, Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Jamaica; H.E Silvano Tjong-Ahin, Minister of Spatial Planning and Environment, Suriname;  H.E Simon Stiell, Minister for Climate Resilience, Grenada; andH.E Adrian Forde, Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Barbados on their countries’ NDCs.

H.E Hon. Ramon Cervantes, Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration Belize, shared reflections on the accomplishments of Belize during their two-year tenure as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

All Ministerial interventions included pledges of support for the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as incoming chair of AOSIS taking over from the Government of Belize, the outgoing chair. The event was rounded out with presentations by the youth – a statement by AOSIS Fellow, Brittany Meighan of Belize, and a Creative Performance by Deneka Thomas, Spoken Word Poet from Trinidad and Tobago.

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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.

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