Make your voices heard in international arena on climate change -President urges CARICOM leaders

Georgetown, GINA, March 12, 2014


Guyana’s Head of State, Donald Ramotar has urged that leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) let their voices resonate in the current international negotiations on climate change, even though the region’s countries have been the least contributors to climate change, but are among the first to feel some of its heavy effects.

President Ramotar made the call during the closing press conference following the conclusion of the 25th CARICOM Heads Inter-Sessional Meeting at the Buccament Bay Resort, Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines on March 10 and 11.

Participating in the press conference were CARICOM’s Chairman and Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, President Ramotar; Prime Minister of  Barbados, Freundel Stuart and Secretary General of CARICOM Ambassador Irwin La Rocque.

Responding to a question about similar relationship with CARICOM countries such as the Guyana/Norway relationship, the President said that one of the main points during the Conference was the need for CARICOM leaders to be involved in the international negotiations which are taking place, “and to make our voices heard on this matter.”

President Donald Ramotar speaking at a press conference after the 25th CARICOM Heads Inter-sessional meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines

Touching on the effects of climate change, the Guyanese Leader referred to the Christmas storms in St. Lucia and Dominica which left death and destruction in their wake, and which he said are the latest reminders of how vulnerable the region is. “So we wanted to keep this as a focus, so we can influence in a more direct way the current international discourse ongoing on this issue, and to find areas that CARICOM can benefit from,” he stated.

Meanwhile President Ramotar lauded the work of the region’s Climate Change Centre as the task force was set up during the Conference which is intended to provide guidance to Caribbean climate change negotiators, their Ministers and the region’s political leaders.

Guyana has been playing a lead role with regards to climate change, and priority projects on adaptation are outlined within its visionary Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which seeks to address the effects of climate change while simultaneously encouraging economic development.

“This is a critical decision by Heads at a time when efforts are underway through the UN (United Nations) to have a global climate change agreement by the end of 2015. We need to ensure that as a region, our voices are being heard on this important issue, and not only from our technical people, but from the collective political leadership in the region,” President Ramotar said on the second day of the Heads conference. He also reiterated the need for there to be a globally binding agreement on climate change.

CARICOM Heads and the group’s Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque at the Buccament Bay resort in St Vincent and the Grenadines

“We have to ensure that we push for a climate change agreement by 2015 which is ambitious in terms of emission reduction targets and providing climate financing,” the Head of State said during the conference.

He also stressed that, despite the difficulties faced with climate financing and support for adaptation and climate resilience, the region needs to aggressively tap into opportunities that exist now, while it organises for future possibilities.


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