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Incoming Chair of CARICOM prioritises benefits for people in 2016

Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“People of the Caribbean Community, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. Let us strive to make 2016 one to remember as a landmark year for our integration movement.” – The Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and Incoming Chairman of CARICOM

With the firm resolution to strengthen the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to provide greater benefits for its peoples, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize assumes the six-month chairmanship of the Community from 1 January 2016.

He succeeds the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados.

In a message to usher in the New Year, Prime Minister Barrow pointed out that there was a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to.

Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community. We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim,” he said.

Making a commitment to build on past successes and to become more efficient in the face of the “sternest economic test that Member States have had to face in recent memory,” the incoming-Chair looked forward to increasing the pace both of the CARICOM Reform process and the implementation of the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

The Plan, which is designed to build CARICOM’s economic, environmental, social and technological resilience, has the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as an important vehicle in that drive for greater resilience. Therefore, Prime Minister Barrow signalled CARICOM’s commitment to vigorously pursue the consolidation of the Single Market.

“We will be making our governance arrangements more flexible and dynamic.  We will be continuing efforts in the coming year to revise those arrangements for our integration movement to become more effective and relevant to the needs of our people.”

A significant element of his resolution as the New Year dawns is encouraging more Member States to join the Belize, Barbados, Dominica, and Guyana in making the Caribbean Court of Justice their final court.

In my view, another relevant factor in the lives of our people is the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).  The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community.  During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more Member States joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

He emphasised the strength in unity in achieving CARICOM’s plans, exemplifying the manner in which it rallied to attain the objectives of the three major international conferences in the past year, most recently at COP 21 in Paris.

“The binding decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Development Goals and Climate Change have great potential to boost our growth and development and bolster our resilience.  It is therefore in our interest to use our coordinated foreign policy to advocate at every opportunity for urgent implementation of those decisions.  In so doing we will be seeking the support of our International Development Partners as well as other Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS),” the Incoming-Chairman stated.

“I assume the chairmanship of our Community, following the incisive and decisive leadership of the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart.  His guidance during the past six months has been highly appreciated by his colleague Heads of Government,” he added.

Credit: CARICOM Today

The Green Climate Fund Accredits the 5Cs!

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

5Cs Accredited As Regional Implementing Entity by the Green Climate Fund:

Other accredited institutions include Conservation International, the World Bank and IDB

Songdo, Republic of Korea| July 09, 2015― The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre has been accredited as a regional implementing entity by the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a key multilateral financing mechanism to support climate action in developing countries. The announcement made today at the tenth meeting of the GCF Board means the CCCCC will act as a channel through which the Fund will deploy resources to the Caribbean.

This is a key achievement for the small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean. Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie says:

“This is the first such accreditation for the Caribbean region. It speaks to the high calibre of work being done in the region and the strength of our internal systems. We will now move forward with a set of ambitious and bankable projects that we have been developing under a directive from CARICOM Heads”.

The CCCCC is one of 13 institutions accredited by the GCF today, including Conservation International, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and others. The GCF notes that the expansion in accreditation is demand driven.

 We are building a vibrant network of partners – which is evidence of a rising demand for an active GCF,” said Ms. Héla Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund. “Seven months ago we invited institutions for the first time to become partners with us. Today, close to 100 well-established institutions from around the world are working towards becoming GCF accredited entities,” she said. “We have added to this momentum by boosting our number of accredited entities to 20.

Accreditation to GCF is open to sub-national, national, regional and international, public, private and non-governmental institutions which are eligible to apply through the Fund’s Online Accreditation System (OAS). Applicants are assessed on their abilities to meet fiduciary, environmental, social, and gender requirements set out by the Fund.

 The 13 institutions accredited today are:

  1. Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a public-private institution that provides support for sustainable development of infrastructure in Africa, based in Nigeria;
  2. Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a development finance institute, headquartered in France;
  3. Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), a public organization that coordinate’s the Caribbean’s response to climate change, headquartered in Belize;
  4. Conservation International Foundation (CI), a non-profit environmental organization based in the United States;
  5. Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), a regional development bank, headquartered in Venezuela;
  6. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank AG), an international investment bank based in Germany;
  7. Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), which supports projects that ensure sustainable use of natural resources;
  8. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral development bank, headquartered in the United Kingdom;
  9. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a multilateral development bank, headquartered in the United States;
  10. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), together known as the World Bank, headquartered in the United States;
  11. Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda (MINIRENA), which focuses on environment, climate change, and natural resources management at the national and local levels;
  12. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), a national financial institution based in India; and the
  13. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered in Kenya.

Do you know how climate change affects the Caribbean? Peruse this video of Five Things You Should Know.

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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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Register for the “Youth Action on Climate Change” Workshop

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The World Youth Foundation in collaboration with Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Pembangunan Pertanian Melaka Sdn Bhd and various other agencies is organizing an International Workshop on Climate Change “Youth Action on Climate Change”, tentatively scheduled to be held on 21st – 24th May 2015 at Melaka, Malaysia.

This International Workshop will examine evidence of climate change, its natural and human causes, its ecosystemic impacts and its human impacts. It will also highlight the technological, social, ethical and political responses to climate change. Youth engagement throughout the workshop will be enhanced to ensure that views and contributions are acknowledged and strengthened.

The objectives of this International Workshop are:

  • To promote awareness and empower young people in advocating and initiating climate change adaptation and mitigation actions in their respective communities;
  • To build the capacity of young people in matters of environmental awareness and conservation focusing on issues related to Climate Change;
  • To provide young people with a workshop for exchange of ideas and experience thus enhancing inter-country cooperation;
  • To facilitate youth participation in national, regional and international environmental efforts for a whenever possible;
  • To encourage young people’s involvement in International environmental processes such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention on the Biological Diversity;
  • To raise the visibility of environmental conservation through environmental awareness campaigns using media.
  • To facilitate an inclusive platform for effective partnerships with youth, youth-led organizations, youth organizations, youth ministries and relevant stakeholders to further strengthen inclusive youth participation in the decision-making processes and implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

World Youth Foundation would appreciate your support in identifying qualified candidates to attend theInternational Workshop. More detailed information concerning the schedule of events and the registration fee can be found on their website http://cc.wyf.org.my

World Day to Combat Desertification

UN Decade on Biodiversity

The land under our feet is ancient. Minerals and organic material have mixed together over decades, if not centuries and millennia, to provide the bed upon which our food is grown. The plants which grow in this soil are not only the basis for food and fibre they are also contribute to our supply of clean water and are a storage place for carbon. Land is the key for life and livelihoods today.

As the global population increases in the years to come, and as climate change affects the availability of water, with consequences for water and food security, land will become even more important. Dry lands hold a significant proportion of the world’s soil carbon stock, and land degradation contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable land management is therefore a key climate change mitigation strategy.

Biodiversity conservation and sustainable land management will be critical for managing our ecosystems so that they can support improved water security for food production as well as being more resilient to climate change.

Ecosystem-based adaptation, which integrates biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall adaptation strategy, can be cost-effective and generate social, economic and cultural co-benefits. This approach can contribute to the conservation of biodiversity while providing climate change adaptation benefits.

The Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held 2010 in Japan, adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which provide a framework for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and sustainable land management.

In particular, I would like to highlight Aichi Biodiversity Target 15 which calls for the enhancement of the resilience of ecosystems and the restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification. Also relevant are: Target 5 which aims that by 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced; Target 7, which calls for areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry to be managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity; and, Target 14, which aims that by 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities and the poor and vulnerable.

As sister Rio Conventions, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification have many areas of convergence, the most significant being the work to conserve, restore and sustainably utilize dry-land ecosystems. In fact, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets provide strong bases for implementing the synergies between the two Conventions at the national level.

As we prepare to celebrate the World Day to Combat Desertification let us strive for sustainable strategies that integrate the management of land, water and biodiversity through sustaining ecosystem services. In this way we can combat desertification, help adapt to climate change and achieve the goals of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

Credit: United Nations Decade on Biodiversity

CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food Poster Shows the Complexity of Climate Change

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Credit: CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food

To learn more, read Mulligan, M., et al. 2010. The Andes basins: biopphysical and development diversity in a climate change. Water International. Vol. 35 No. 5.

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