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PRESS RELEASE – “1 point 5 to stay alive”, the Caribbean speaks to the world at global Climate Change Conference

PRESS RELEASE – Bonn, Germany. 13 November 2017.  “1 point 5 to stay alive”, the Caribbean speaks to the world at global Climate Change Conference

“1.5 is a matter of necessity,” said University of the West Indies’ Professor Michael Taylor, speaking at an event convened by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) as part of the Conference on Climate Change, COP23, taking place in Germany until the end of this week.

Prof. Taylor was at the time delivering the main results of a study funded by the CDB, a study that has brought together 45 Caribbean scientists from 11 regional institutions to examine and compare the implications of climate change for the region.

The facts speak for themselves. On average, the temperature on this planet has already increased by 1 degree Celsius over what it was before the world began to industrialise, and the impacts of that increase are there for all to see.

In the Caribbean, global warming has already resulted in more intense hurricanes with stronger winds and much more rain, but it is also responsible: for increases in both air and ocean temperature; for more very hot days and nights; for longer and more frequent periods of drought; for an increase in very heavy rainfall events; and for sea-level rise and coastal erosion.

Climate change is real, and things can only get worse, but the question is: how much worse? This is the question that was at the centre of the climate change negotiations in Paris two years ago, and this is why the Caribbean considered it a success that the Paris Agreement made a commitment to an increase of “not more than 2 degrees”, trying to achieve the target of 1.5 degrees.

“This 1.5 Caribbean project,” said Prof. Taylor, “is the region doing its own science, putting Caribbean science in the literature of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

And the messages from that research are clear. With ‘business as usual’, temperatures will increase by at least 2.5 degrees by the end of the century, reaching 1.5 degrees in the late 2020s, and 2 degrees in the 2050s.

“At 2 degrees, we would have a significantly harsher climate. We would be moving into the realm of the unprecedented. It’s a matter of compromise,” said Prof. Taylor, “even a 1.5 degree temperature increase will be very problematic.”

The message that the Caribbean is giving at the UN Conference is therefore one of urgency, a message that was echoed by Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who spoke at the session and who is attending the Conference in his capacity as CARICOM Lead on Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

“The Caribbean and other small island developing states (SIDS) have been patiently waiting for the world to get its act together,” said PM Chastanet, “but we now need action; we don’t have the ability to wait any longer, we need investment to build our resilience. Financing is a major constraint, and we now need a dedicated source of funds to support resilience building, specifically for the SIDS”.

The need for accessible and appropriate financing was also stressed by Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and current Chairman of CARICOM, who declared that “we need funding for adaptation but, with the projected impact of a 1.5 increase, adaptation is not enough, thus our call for a more comprehensive regime on Loss and Damage.”

“Since the Climate Change Conference of 2009 in Copenhagen, when the message of 1 point 5 to stay alive was first sent out, the Caribbean has been advocating that a target of 1.5 degrees is both necessary and feasible,” said Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Executive Director of the CCCCC.

At the Bonn Conference this year, thanks to the work of Prof. Taylor and other Caribbean scientists, and to the tireless work of Caribbean delegates in these critical negotiations, this message is coming across even louder and stronger, backed by the highly credible scientific work of the region’s scientific community.

For more information, contact climate.justice@panoscaribbean.org and visit www.1point5.info and https://www.facebook.com/savethecaribbean/

Nicaragua signs the Paris Agreement while UN urges the world to upscale climate policies

A month after Nicaragua announced its intention to join the Paris Agreement, the country officially committed to the landmark climate accord, – one day after UNFCCC published a new report urging policymakers to upscale existing and new climate policies in order for the Paris goals to be met.

President Daniel Ortega had announced his plans to sign the Paris Agreement last month, during a meeting with a delegation of Senior Executives from the World Bank.

Nicaragua’s Nationally Determined Contributions haven’t been submitted yet, but the country is already considered a renewable energy paradise, as it currently produces more than 50 percent of its power needs from clean energy and aims to increase this to 90 percent by 2020.

Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s Vice President and First Lady commented that the Paris Agreement “is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters”.

Nicaragua constitutes a developing country, which is however threated disproportionally from the impacts of climate change like extreme weather events and it is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes.

In 2015, it refused to sign the Paris accord as it claimed the Agreement was too weak and it did not protect developing countries from climate change.

However, President Daniel Ortega decided that Nicaragua’s decision to join the Agreement will be done in support of these nations.

He had said: “We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters and that are countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, of the Caribbean, which are in highly vulnerable areas”.

To date, 169 countries have ratified the agreement and 165 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

On Monday, UNFCCC published its “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” based on recommendations from the Technical Expert Meetings on climate change mitigation and adaptation held in May 2017 in Bonn, and as part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action that is working to support INDCs and National Climate Action Plans.

The report shed light on the importance of coordination and coherence of all three global agendas related to climate change, i.e. the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

For example, climate change mitigation action can bring co-benefits for adaptation and sustainable development; renewables can increase access to electricity as well as reduce emissions and more efficient and sustainable agriculture and forestry can contribute to adaptation too.

In addition, it stressed the importance of data and information availability, as a lot of data about the impacts of climate change and the associated risks are not available for many countries.

The report also mentions the complexity of measuring and verifying emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use, stressing that this needs to be addressed soon.

You can read the full “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” report here.

Credit: Climate Action Programme

LAC Carbon Forum Stresses Cooperation Among non-State Actors for Success of Paris Agreement

Participants at the eleventh Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF) have underlined the importance of commitments by “new actors,” such as cities and local, tribal or state governments in achieving the objective of the Paris Agreement on climate change to keep global average temperature rise well below 2 °C and as close as possible to 1.5 °C.

In his closing remarks, former Mexican President Philippe Calderón said the participation of sub-national and non-state actors could fill the gap between between current climate mitigation pledges by national governments and efforts required to achieve the objective of the Paris Agreement. He told participants that the shift towards new actors creates a “new vision in a politically adverse world,” noting the example of pledges by cities and businesses that are part of ‘We Are Still In,’ a network of more than 2,500 mayors, tribal leaders, CEOs and university presidents in the US committed to continued action in the face of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Other speakers highlighted the need for continued efforts to decarbonize Latin American economies, noting that such endeavors cannot be achieved through isolated actions but require cooperation among many actors and mutual transparency. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa underlined the role of private and public sectors working together to mobilize necessary investments.

Attended by more than 480 participants from 38 countries, LACCF 11 served as venue to inspire greater climate action in the LAC region. While its primary focus is on market mechanisms, carbon pricing, climate finance and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the event also provided an opportunity to discuss other forms of climate action and policies.

Co-organized by the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural resources, UNFCCC, UNDP, the World Bank Group and many other partners, LACCF 11 was held 18-20 October 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Credit: IISD SDG Knowledge Hub

Regional Scientists To Present 1.5 Report at Caribbean Climate Change Conference

PRESS RELEASE – Port-of-Spain: October 9, 2017: When scientists and researchers meet in Trinidad at the International Climate Change Conference for the Caribbean this week, it will be in the aftermath of the devastation wrought in the region by successive monster storms in the current 2017 Hurricane Season.

The conference, which is being hosted by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in association with the European Union (EU) funded Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Initiative (GCCA+) runs from October 9 to 12. It brings together regional scientists to update regional stakeholders on the ongoing regional research in climate change, inform on actions being undertaken to build climate resilience across the region by regional and international organisations, and discuss issues related to climate finance and the science, policy and finance nexus.

Scientists will present the key findings of the 1.5 to Stay Alive research project for the Caribbean region, which was funded by the Caribbean Development Bank. This should offer more insight into the consequences of global warming exceeding a 1.5 degree Centigrade threshold and provide our regional climate change negotiators with a more robust science-based platform for further insisting at the forthcoming Conference of Parties (COP) at the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) that global mitigation efforts need to be scaled up so that global warming does not exceed this threshold.

The meeting is being held under the theme “Adaptation in Action” which CCCCC’s Deputy Executive Director and Science Advisor Dr. Ulric Trotz said because this best describes the focus of regional institutions and countries in the face of threats posed by Climate Change.

“The 2017 Hurricane Season shows us that we must be proactive in building resilience in the small nation states of the region. And while adaptation and mitigation are critical, climate financing is a much-needed lifeline if the region is to successfully pursue a low carbon climate resilient development pathway. We cannot survive unless we are able to build to withstand these super storms,” he said.

Climate negotiators and Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Focal Points from across the region are also in attendance.

Other sponsors include the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), United Nations Development Programme Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (UNDP J-CCCP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

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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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CCCCC Supports Jamaica in Climate Change Dialogue

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz (centre), displays a signed copy of the Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change during a seminar at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew on April 11. Others sharing the moment (from left) are Deputy Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Elsie Laurence Chounoune; and Principal Director, Climate Change Division, Una-May Gordon. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at the Climate Change Summit in Paris in December 2015, signals the commitment of the international community to combat climate change and its wide-ranging effects. (Photo: JIS)

The Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation of Jamaica is undertaking a public outreach entitled “Uncut Conversations on Climate Change: Dialogue for the Future” at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica from 11 to 13 April 2017. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has been invited to participate in the event. Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, was the lead conversationalist on the opening day on the theme “Come on People, COP is the Conference of the Parties”. He explained the international climate change negotiation process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Executive Director of the CCCCC, Dr Kenrick Leslie, will participate on Day 2 of the event as the lead conversationalist for “What did Small Island Developing States Give Up or Gain by Signing and Ratifying the Paris Agreement”.

In his opening address, the Honourable Daryl Vaz announced that the Government of Jamaica had ratified the Paris Agreement. This was greeted with applause by the audience which consisted on students and representatives of the media, government agencies, the private sector and the NGO community. Among the subjects being covered in the Conversations are: the Paris Agreement, adaption, mitigation, capacity building, finance, and technology.

Minister Vaz urged everyone to become advocates for ‘Mother Earth’ and work hard to preserve and protect her for the next generation. He urged Jamaicans to take proactive steps such as practising proper disposal of garbage, carpooling to reduce the carbon footprint, and conserving and recycling water, as well as incorporating climate-smart agriculture, to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“In all we do, we need to enable and empower the poorest and most vulnerable among us, including our women and children, to adapt to and cope with some of the intense and often devastating weather conditions associated with climate change,” he said.

The private sector and the NGO community also lead conversations. The event will culminate with the measures Jamaica is undertaking to respond to climate change.

The National Water Commission, Forestry Department, National Environment and Planning Agency, Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism, Meteorological Services Division, Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Climate Change Division mounted exhibits at the event.

22nd COP of the UNFCCC & the Entry into force of the Paris Agreement

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place from 7-18 November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco. COP22 will build on last year’s Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21) and begin preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement, focusing on action to achieve the commitments of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

See: Side Events & Exhibits | UN Climate Change Conference November 2016 (COP 22/CMP 12/CMA 1)
The Paris Agreement in a Nutshell from Track 0 on Vimeo.

This three minute video explains all you need to know about the 2015 Paris Agreement and how it will help to address climate change and promote the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Paris Agreement enters into force today, 4 November 2016, creating binding commitments. The video highlights the need for further ambition by governments and businesses.

Peruse articles related to the Paris Agreement and what it means for the Caribbean below:

Paris Agreement- Status of Ratification

Why is COP 21 Important for the Caribbean? 11 points our negotiators are championing

Credit: Track0 Vimeo Video; UNFCCC Secretariat

For more inforemation, please contact UNFCCC Secretariat   
Phone: +49-228 815-1000;Fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int  

GWP Launches Global Support Programme for NDCs, Water, Climate, and Development

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms Christiana Figueres, Morocco’s Delegate Minister of Environment Ms Hakima El Haite, GWP Executive Secretary Mr Rudolph Cleveringa.

Global Water Partnership (GWP) has launched a global programme to assist countries to implement the adaptation component of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the climate plans submitted to the UNFCCC ahead of the Paris Agreement.

The launch took place at this year’s UNFCCC climate conference in Bonn, SB44. The event was attended by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Ms Christiana Figueres and COP 22 host, Morocco’s Delegate Minister of Environment Ms Hakima El Haite, who both opened the session together with GWP Executive Secretary Mr Rudolph Cleveringa.

“NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and Adaptation is at the heart of the urgency”, said Ms Figueres. She reported that 85% of NDCs include adaptation.

Mr Cleveringa said that GWP will support countries to develop investment plans for water-related commitments in their NDCs, and he called for the urgent need to act on water, now.

“Water is the most cited ‘sector’ in NDCs. By the end of November 2015, 129 countries (including the EU), submitted their NDCS to the UNFCCC. 92% of them included water as a priority”, he said – adding that water also topped the list of the global top 10 risks to business and economic progress, according to the 2015 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report.

Morocco’s Minister of Environment, Ms Hakima El Haite, welcomed GWP’s support to assist countries in implementing their adaptation commitments in NDCs.

‘Poor countries are not ready and need support to develop national adaptation plans. When we started to talk about adaptation, it was to make the voices of the most vulnerable heard’, said Minister El Haite.

Ms Figueres encouraged all countries to finish or at least start their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). The UNFCCC Chief also encouraged countries to consider adopting the 1.5 degrees in the Paris Agreement as the target for mitigation and 2 degrees as the target for countries to prepare adaptation plans.

“This is not an official position of the Parties, but can be a way forward to help countries prepare for adaptation”, she said.

Welcoming the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the SDG goal on water in 2015, the GWP Executive Secretary stressed that SDGs and NDCs provide an opportunity for countries to put water on national agendas.

The adaptation component of NDCs provides an opportunity for countries to outline current and future actions to improve water security. For many countries, water security is key for climate change adaptation and essential to economic development.

GWP recognizes the challenge that many countries face in adapting to climate risks. Many countries faced challenges in preparing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Many will face challenges in implementing their actions in NDCs. Mr Cleveringa reported five priorities for GWP’s global support programme on NDCs, Water, Climate and Development:

  1. Support to formulation of NDC road maps and implementation at the national and subsector level. This will be linked to existing and planned adaptation activities such as NAPs and other water-related strategies.
  2. Support to formulation of NDC investment plans. This includes estimating the finance and investment requirements, sources of finance, linking national budget planning processes to medium term expenditure frameworks, absorption, financial management capacity, and potential to mobilise private investments.
  3. Support to project preparation and development of funding proposals to implement NDC investment plans. Countries will be assisted to prepare proposals for submission to international climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and others.
  4. Capacity development for planning, implementation, and monitoring of NDC activities.
  5. Promote south-south cooperation and coordination at all levels in implementation of NDCs, NAPs, and SDGs.

Mr Mohamed Benyahia, COP 22 Head of Side Events and member of the COP 22 Steering Committee from Morocco government applauded the partnership between Morocco and GWP. ‘This is just a beginning, an important step for south-south cooperation as we progress towards Marrakesh in COP 22.’

Mr Alex Simalabwi, GWP’s lead on climate change, lauded the partnership with Morocco and announced that the support on NDCs builds on GWP’s flagship programme on water, climate, and development, and associated programmes on drought and flood management, jointly implemented with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Since 2012, GWP, through its climate programme, has assisted over 60 countries on four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Caribbean) to integrate water security and climate resilience into national development.

Credit: Global Water Partnership

Tackling climate change in the Caribbean

climate change

Sanchez, Petite Martinique. Climate-Proofing the tiny island of Petite Martinique includes a sea revetment 140 metres long to protect critical coastal infrastructure from erosion. (Photo: TECLA  FONTENAD/IPS)

The world is still celebrating the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the main outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its ambitions are unprecedented: not only has the world committed to limit the increase of temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” it has also agreed to pursue efforts to “limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.”

This achievement should be celebrated, especially by Small Island Development States (SIDS), a 41-nation group—nearly half of them in the Caribbean—that has been advocating for increased ambition on climate change for nearly a quarter century.

SIDS are even more vulnerable to climate change impacts — and risk losing more. Global warming has very high associated damages and costs to families, communities and entire countries, including their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

What does this mean for the Caribbean? Climate change is recognized as one of the most serious challenges to the Caribbean. With the likelihood that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and intensity of the yearly hurricane season, comprehensive measures are needed to protect at-risk communities.

Moreover, scenarios based on moderate curbing of greenhouse gas emissions reveal that surface temperature would increase between 1.2 and 2.3 °C across the Caribbean in this century. In turn, rainfall is expected to decrease about 5 to 6 per cent. As a result, it will be the only insular region in the world to experience a decrease in water availability in the future.

The combined impact of higher temperatures and less water would likely result in longer dry periods and increased frequency of droughts, which threaten agriculture, livelihoods, sanitation and ecosystems.

Perhaps the most dangerous hazard is sea level rise. The sea level may rise up to 0.6 meters in the Caribbean by the end of the century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This could actually flood low-lying areas, posing huge threats, particularly to the smallest islands, and impacting human settlements and infrastructure in coastal zones. It also poses serious threats to tourism, a crucial sector for Caribbean economies: up to 60 per cent of current resorts lie around the coast and these would be greatly damaged by sea level increase.

Sea level rise also risks saline water penetrating into freshwater aquifers, threatening crucial water resources for agriculture, tourism and human consumption, unless expensive treatments operations are put into place.

In light of these prospects, adapting to climate change becomes an urgent necessity for SIDS—including in the Caribbean. It is therefore not surprising that all Caribbean countries have submitted a section on adaptation within their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are the voluntary commitments that pave the way for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

In their INDCs, Caribbean countries overwhelmingly highlight the conservation of water resources and the protection of coastal areas as their main worries. Most of them also consider adaptation initiatives in the economic and productive sectors, mainly agriculture, fisheries, tourism and forestry.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been supporting Caribbean countries in their adaptation efforts for many years now, through environmental, energy-related and risk reduction projects, among others.

This week we launched a new partnership with the Government of Japan, the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP), in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The initiative will be implemented in eight Caribbean countries: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, benefitting an estimated 200,000 women and men in 50 communities.

It will set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies, helping put in practice Caribbean countries’ actions and policies to reduce greenhouse as emissions and adapt to climate change. It will also boost access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel imports and dependence, setting the region on a low-emission development path, while addressing critical balance of payments constraints.

When considering adaptation measures to the different impacts of climate change there are multiple options. Some rely on infrastructure, such as dikes to control sea level rise, but this can be particularly expensive for SIDS, where the ratio of coastal area to land mass is very high.

In this context, ecosystem-based adaptation activities are much more cost-effective, and, in countries with diverse developmental priorities and where financial resources are limited, they become an attractive alternative. This means healthy, well-functioning ecosystems to boost natural resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change, reducing people’s vulnerabilities as well.

UNDP, in partnership with national and local governments in the Caribbean, has been championing ecosystem-based adaptation and risk reduction with very rewarding results.

For example, the Government of Cuba partnered with UNDP, scientific institutes and forestry enterprises to restore mangrove forests along 84 km of the country’s southern shore to slow down saline intrusion from the sea level rise and reduce disaster risks, as the mangrove acts as a protective barrier against hurricanes.

In Grenada, in coordination with the Government and the German International Cooperation Agency, we supported the establishment of a Community Climate Change Adaptation Fund, a small grants mechanism, to provide opportunities to communities to cope with the effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions. We have engaged with local stakeholders to develop climate smart agricultural projects, and climate resilient fisheries, among other activities in the tourism and water resources sectors.

UNDP’s support is directed to balance social and economic development with environmental protection, directly benefitting communities. Our approach is necessarily aligned with the recently approved 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its associated Sustainable Development Goals, delivering on protecting ecosystems and natural resources, promoting food security and sanitation, while also helping reduce poverty and promoting sustainable economic growth.

While there is significant potential for climate change adaptation in SIDS, it will require additional external resources, technologies and strengthening of local capacities. In UNDP we are ideally placed to continue working hand-in-hand with Caribbean countries as they implement their INDCs and find their own solutions to climate-change adaptation, while also sharing knowledge and experiences within the region and beyond.

 

Jessica Faieta is United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

 

Credit: Caribbean 360

‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ Campaign Hailed A Success By CARICOM

CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and Dr James Fletcher, who led CARICOM negotiators, in discussion with regional heads of government, ministers and negotiators at the Paris Climate Talks.

The ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ campaign – run primarily in the lead-up to and during the recent international climate talks in Paris – has been given praise by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman Freundel Stuart.

“CARICOM’s interests were strongly represented in a focused and coordinated manner by heads of government, ministers, the CARICOM secretary-general (Irwin LaRocque)and his staff, and a team of experienced and skilled negotiators led by Dr the Honourable James Fletcher. We are satisfied that our strong advocacy helped to ensure that the [final] agreement reflected the region’s position on our major red-line issues,” Stuart, who is also prime minister of Barbados, said in a release issued by the CARICOM Secretariat through Panos Caribbean.

“The region’s successful campaign, built around the slogan ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’, received energetic support from several groups and organisations, including youth and cultural artistes, whose efforts must be applauded,” added Stuart.

The campaign kicked off in October with a launch event held in St Lucia. At the same time, a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account were established to promote Caribbean negotiating positions and to expose the region’s climate challenges.

Later, a theme song – the collaborative effort of a number of regional acts – was released.

Several other activities, including a Selfie Video Challenge and a flash mob, were also implemented to get Caribbean people in the know and behind the campaign effort.

At the talks, the region, for the first time, had a pavilion – called the Wider Caribbean Pavilion – that afforded the space for strategy meetings by regional negotiators and networking among players.

Caribbean artistes Aaron Silk of Jamaica and Adrian ‘The Doc’ Martinez of Belize were also on hand to spread, through music, the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ message, and were big hits with participants.

PAID OFF

In the end, Stuart said it all paid off.

“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 two degrees Celsius and along a clear trajectory downwards towards 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” he said.

“That agreement will also help to realise 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,” Stuart added.

One Jamaican actor involved in the negotiations agreed that the Caribbean could feel satisfied with the result.

“The CARICOM region can be satisfied with the outcome, which retains the recognition under the (United Nations Framework) Convention (on Climate Change), of the fact that SIDS have specific needs and face special circumstances which render our territories particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. We have also secured a decision for equal funding for adaptation and mitigation,” noted Colonel Oral Khan, a member of the Jamaica delegation to Paris and chief technical director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change.

“This is very significant for us as the science is telling us that the concentration of greenhouse gases is already at a level that can be catastrophic. We, therefore, cannot await the benefits from current mitigation efforts, which will be realised over the next half a century. There are things we must do now to protect vital sectors of our economy and the lives of our people,” he added.

What remains is to have these things actioned.

“The international community must now retain the energising and uplifting spirit of Paris in the process going forward. The world expects no less,” Stuart said.

Credit: Jamaica Gleaner

GCF signs grant agreement with Guyana and CARICOM in Paris

header-GuyanaGrantAgreement

Guyana signed a readiness grant agreement with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris on Tuesday, December 08, 2015. The funding will provide USD 300,000 to Guyana to help the country build capacity to access GCF funding for its priority projects in the future.

This project, which was negotiated between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC or 5C) and the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, aims to address several issues affecting CARICOM States under the rubric of Climate Change, inclusive of mitigation, adaptation and vulnerability.  The 5Cs is an Accredited Entity (AE) to the Fund, meaning that it can partner with GCF in delivering mitigation and adaptation projects on the ground in the Caribbean.

Executive Director of the 5Cs, Dr. Kenrick Leslie attended the ceremony along with H.E. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Governance of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, who signed on behalf of Guyana in the presence of H.E. Winston Jordan, the Guyanese Minister of Finance. Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director of Country Programming, signed on behalf of the Fund.

The GCF aims to help CARICOM Member States to adapt to climate change, by lessening their vulnerability to sea level rise and climate variability; identifying and implementing the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs); reporting and assessing of the Member States INDCs and the development and dissemination of renewable energy sources and technology.

According to iNews Guyana, “Francesco La Camera, Director General of the Ministry of Environment of Italy, signed a €6 million project to assist CARICOM Member States to mitigate climate variability and change.”

The GCF also seeks to transfer scientific and technical knowledge, experiences and technology, facilitate the exchange of experts, scientists and researchers; enhance the capacities for the implementation of mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its related instruments, and to promote joint ventures between the private sectors of the Parties.

The Fund provides early support for readiness and preparatory activities to enhance country ownership and access through its country readiness programme. A minimum of 50 per cent of readiness support is targeted at Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Guyana, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and African States.

More than 95 countries have so far expressed interest in receiving readiness support from the Fund, and more than 30 such grants have been approved to date.

The estimated timeframe for the project is five years. Minister Trotman thanked the Government and People of Italy for their continued support and friendship shown towards the people of Guyana and the Caribbean.

Credit: iNews Guyana, Green Climate Fund
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