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Caribbean leaders finalize positions ahead of COP27

With COP27 less than three months away, Caribbean leaders will consider asking more industrialized countries to set up a future compensations fund for nations hard hit by climate change, putting two percent of oil exports into a fund and focusing more attention on loss and damage.

Leaders and senior government officials from across the Caribbean met in The Bahamas over the last two days to discuss a regional position for COP27, which will be held in Egypt in November.

While the agreed positions have not be released, Prime Minister Philip Davis, who hosted the event, provided some insight last night for some of the issues discussed among the leaders.

“One thing you would have heard is talk about loss and damage, which is something that the developed world keeps kicking down the road,” he said at a closing press conference.

“We want to ensure that focused attention is paid on it and some solutions come out of COP27 on that issue. Another example is Prime Minister [Mia] Mottley spoke about future compensations and that a fund should be set up and what is the mechanism for that fund.

“Conversations have been had in the sessions that two percent on oil export should be put into a fund. Those are some of the issues that we may be putting forward.

“As I said, my cautious optimism is because of the developed world continuously kicking the can down the road. Very often, they latch on to some excuse to justify kicking the can.”

Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said a couple things were made clear as a result of the conference. 

Among them, he said, is the region’s resoluteness in its “collective desire to advocate for ensuring that justice is done”.

“I think the issue of climate change has gone beyond that of a moral issue, but it is a justiciable issue,” Mitchell said.

“I think as islands that have born the brunt of the proven loss and damage arising from the greenhouse gases, that we are entitled to compensation.”

Mitchell assured Caribbean citizens that their leaders intend to fight and advocate on their behalf.

“We intend to do everything in our collective power to ensure that our rights and our right to live a quality of life that is deserving is maintained and promoted,” he said.

Climate change is the biggest global threat of the 21st century. 

Caribbean countries, which are frequently battered by hurricanes and left with millions and sometimes billions of dollars in damage, are considered among those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels.

Projections indicate that climate change losses for the region could total $22 billion annually by 2020, which represents roughly 10 percent of the current Caribbean economy, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

Mottley, who is the prime minister of Barbados, said the Caribbean is “paying double jeopardy”.

“I don’t talk about climate change,” she said.

“I talk about the climate crisis because this is a crisis and you in The Bahamas know it, as well as anyone else, having experience most recently with Hurricane Dorian. To that extent, he who feels it, she who feels it, knows it.

“This is a case of good cop or bad cop because whether we have a good cop or bad cop in December or next year, it’s still a death sentence and that’s the point.”

Mottley said the world is playing “fast and loose” with its future.

Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit encouraged all sectors of Caribbean society, including the church, to join the climate fight.

“We have a duty and an obligation to fight for the survival of future generations,” he said.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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