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Climate change issues high on agenda of CARICOM meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State

Drought land

Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2021. 9:46 pm CST.

By Hugh O’Brien: Climate change issues were on top of the agenda of a high level meeting held virtually on September 21, 2021, between CARICOM Foreign Ministers, the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman and Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Affairs, Ambassador Brian Nichols.

A release from the CARICOM Secretariat says that the Ministers “took the opportunity to press the case for increased climate ambition and financing for adaptation as well as acceptance of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index as the main criterion for access to concessional development financing”.

The region’s Foreign Ministers also strongly impressed on the US delegation to take action “at the upcoming Climate Summit COP 26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom and to scale up the ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that the global temperature rise be curtailed at 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels”. Failure to do so, the Foreign Ministers note, “would imperil the existence of CARICOM Member States”.

Concerns were also raised over financing of climate change adaptation measures, particularly the failure of developed countries to meet the commitment to provide $100 billion (US) a year by 2020 to assist developing countries to adapt to climate change.

According to the Foreign Ministers, the classification of most CARICOM States as high or middle-income countries, means that they could not access concessional development financing due to the use of GDP per capita as the main criterion. This, the Ministers said “affected their ability to fund adaptation measures for climate change as well as the recovery process from the decimation of their economies due to the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters”. The classification is not working for the region and as such it was felt that it was very important to put in place new models of financing and using more apt criterion based on vulnerability.

In order to further advance the climate change agenda, a request was made to the US delegation for the region’s Ministers to meet with US Climate Envoy Secretary, John Kerry.

 

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