The United Nations (UN) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have both emphasised the need for urgent and continued action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mindful of the threat climate change poses to Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
At the opening of the Tenth General Meeting of the Caribbean Community and the United Nations System on Tuesday, 23 July 2019, in Georgetown, Guyana, CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said the threat of climate change hung heavily in the consciousness of the Caribbean.
He said the severity of hurricanes Maria and Irma, from which the Region had not fully recovered, demonstrated “there is need for continued advocacy for urgent and enhanced climate action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, since global warming poses an existential threat to our Community.”
Seized of this urgency, he told the meeting that CARICOM Heads of Government at their 40th Regular Summit earlier this month, adopted the “Castries Call for Collective Commitment and Action on Sustainable Development,” expressing concern that “climate change, increased natural disasters, biodiversity and environmental degradation, coupled with economic and social shocks, could render [the Community’s development untenable.”
In his remarks, Head of the United Nations Delegation, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Mr. Miroslav Jenča, said Caribbean counties are leading the way on climate action, adaptation and mitigation. The international community should, he stated, “support these efforts by providing the necessary public and private resources”.
Mr. Jenča said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called on world leaders to come to the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 “with concrete, realistic plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”
Commending the timeliness of the meeting, he said it was a year of important global review processes that were of direct significance to the Caribbean. He was referring to the Addis Ababa Action Plan on financing for sustainable development; the mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway for SIDS and the Climate Action Summit both slated for September 2019, as well as the just concluded the High-level Political Forum review of the 2030 Agenda.