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CARICOM’s climate “Moment of Ambition”

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Posted: Monday, December 14, 2020. 2:00 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Five years after the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement was signed, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretariat and Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), in partnership with the UK government hosted a “CARICOM Moment of Ambition” event on Friday.

The event preceded a United Nations Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the United Kingdom and France and demonstrated the leadership, ambition and call to action by small island developing states (SIDS) on climate change.

Belize was represented by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration Ramon Cervantes, who shared reflections on the accomplishments of Belize during its two-year tenure as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Belize is handing over the chairmanship to Antigua and Barbuda.

Addressing the meeting were UK Minister for the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad; CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; CCCCC Executive Director Dr. Colin Young; Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Jamaica, Pearnel Charles, Jr.; Minister of Spatial Planning and Environment, Suriname, Silvano Tjong-Ahin; Minister for Climate Resilience, Grenada, Simon Stiell, and Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Barbados, Adrian Forde.

Lord Ahmad, who noted that the UK was taking over the presidency of the Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP), promised to use that platform to accelerate progress, increase global ambition and motivate urgent, targeted action to protect climate-vulnerable countries from the impacts of climate change and praised CARICOM and SIDS leadership on the climate crisis.

Secretary-General LaRocque noted that regional members articulated ambitious revised nationally determined contributions (NDCs) but by themselves these would not be enough. The region, he added, cannot afford either the cost of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, nor to adapt to it.

Dr. Young noted that CARICOM NDCs are in line with the Region’s negotiating position going into Paris. Analysis of the NDCs found that they are focused mainly on mitigation and generally reflect interventions in sectors with the greatest greenhouse gas emissions such as energy, agriculture and industrial processes and product use.

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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