CARICOM developing strategies to meet the goal of sustainable development

Impact of climate change

All indicators of global sustainability including food, water, energy, climate and oceans are moving in the wrong direction. That's what the representative of Barbados told the General Assembly's committee that deals with economic and financial matters. Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, Deputy Representative Selwyn Hart noted the effects of climate change, saying that it was already exacerbating water and food scarcity. He pointed to a range of other shocks and stresses, some of which would be highly unpredictable and potentially catastrophic.

Selwyn Hart: Recent scientific findings point to climate change impacts and effects occurring much faster than previously forecasted. In particular, new studies indicate that sea-level rise over the next century is likely to be significantly higher than the estimates in the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC's) 4th Assessment Report (AR4) of 2007, on account of the accelerating loss of ice from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. This would result in some small island developing states ceasing to exist, and significantly altering life in others. Simultaneously, according to the IEA, global emissions are rising at their fastest rate in history and at this pace the international community will not achieve the goal of holding global mean temperature below 2 degree Celsius, furthermore the more ambitious and safer goal of 1.5 degrees advocated by over 100 developing countries.

Ambassador Hart said CARICOM shared a sense of alarm over the state of the global environment, and was convinced of the urgency attached to collective action if the challenge of global sustainability were to be addressed.

Selwyn Hart: Despite our small size and our inherent vulnerabilities, CARICOM countries have developed or, are in the process of developing, policies, strategies and plans that serve as the basis for a greener, low-carbon economic transition while addressing the challenge of poverty eradication and the broader goal of sustainable development. At the regional level we have made good progress at creating a Single Market and Economy that facilitates the free movement of people, goods and services in the region. We are also working with countries in the wider Caribbean region through the Association of Caribbean States to protect one of our most valuable resources, the Caribbean Sea. It is through actions like these at the national and regional level that the benefits of sustainable development will be realized for those who matter most – our people. However, without a supportive international environment these efforts will be undermined. Addressing the many challenges highlighted today including climate change, energy, biological diversity, poverty eradication and water scarcity will require a massive scaling up and transfer of financial and technological resources to developing countries.

According to Ambassador Hart, it will also require governance reforms at the international level to provide a greater voice for developing countries in decision-making and norm setting, and re-aligning the mandates of some existing institutions to current realities.

Selwyn Hart: CARICOM believes that the convening of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next year provides the international community with an unprecedented opportunity to reconnect human development and global sustainability, and move away from the false dichotomy that places them in opposition. Fundamental transformation and innovation in all spheres and at all scales is urgently required in order to stop and reverse global environmental change and move toward fair and lasting prosperity for present and future generations. CARICOM calls on all member states to raise their sights and level of ambition as the preparatory process for Rio +20 intensifies. Rio +20 should not be just another UN Conference where the lowest common denominator prevails. The scope and complexity of the challenges facing humanity demand that business as usual and incremental improvements will not be sufficient. If we are to ensure a sustainable future for all, we must confront these global challenges with a sense of urgency and ambition, and collectively.

Deputy Permanent Representative Selwyn Hart expressed CARICOM's commitment to the Climate Change Conference later this year calling for greater ambition and urgency.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 5’02″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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