With Caribbean island life under threat, UN chief pushes to face ‘headwinds together’

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas In 2017, Secretary-General António Guterres walks through a neighbourhood destroyed by back-to-back hurricanes in Codrington town, Antigua and Barbuda. He visited the country to survey the devastation and offer support from the Organization.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


To counter global challenges that are a particular threat to vulnerable island nations like those in the Caribbean, it’s vital to “face the headwinds together”, especially in the face of the destruction being wrought by climate change, the UN chief told the annual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) conference in Saint Lucia on Wednesday.

“The beauty of St. Lucia and the uniqueness of the voice and way of life of each of the Caribbean islands is threatened”, said Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday at the Conference of Heads of CARICOM Governments gathered to focus on obstacles to sustainable development.

Mr. Guterres recounted his visit to the South Pacific in May where he saw how “Pacific island nations are addressing the climate crisis” by focusing “a climate lens” on development investments. He also recalled his visit two years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in 2017, when “in only a couple of days”, years of “hard-won development gains” were destroyed in Barbuda and Dominica.

“Hurricanes Ivan and Thomas – and the many others that came before Irma and Maria – are still etched in the memories of Caribbean people” he noted.

As climate-related natural disasters grow in frequency and severity, the UN chief pointed out that “the risks to families and to development overall will only intensify”.

What the Caribbean has endured makes “abundantly clear” the urgent need to “reduce global emissions and work collectively to ensure that global temperature rise does not go beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”, he continued, inviting government and private sector leaders to come with concrete plans to the UN Climate Action Summit in September, at UN Headquarters, which could result in a 45 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We must massively increase our ambition to advance low-emission and resilient development, including addressing loss and damage from climate impacts”, he stressed, saying “we need all hands-on deck”.

‘Act daily’ to counter plastic threat

Mr. Guterres signalled the need to “act on a daily basis” to counter the “grave threat” that eight million tons of ocean-polluting plastics are posing to marine ecosystems and tourism sectors.

“From plastic pollution to coastline erosion, more frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise and biodiversity loss, Caribbean States face immense pressure”, maintained the UN chief.

He commended the “bold vision” of CARICOM leaders, to make the Caribbean the world’s first Climate Resilient Zone and drew attention to the creation of a Caribbean Resilience to Recovery Facility. When completed, it aims to provide a regional indigenous mechanism to source talent, experience and financial solutions for the region, to build resilient communities and nations.

Economic constraints

In addition to managing the recurrent and increasing costs of climate-related events, small island developing States (SIDS) overall, face a range of economic constrictions, from small domestic markets to heavy dependence on imports and high national debt constraints, according to the UN chief.

“These challenges are further complicated by the difficulties SIDS face in mobilizing development finance on affordable and appropriate terms”, he said.

The Secretary-General said he backed steps to improve access to development financing; eligibility for Official Development Assistance, including vulnerability criteria in addition to Gross National Income per capita; and speed and predictability of climate financing, especially SIDS.

Mr. Guterres threw his “strong support” behind the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s (ECLAC) proposal to convert debt to investment in resilience, noting that “to achieve this and other global challenges, we must reaffirm commitment to multilateralism”.

“We must face the headwinds together”, the Secretary-General underscored, “There is no alternative to cooperation and collaboration”.

UN Summits in September

  • High-Level Political Forum review of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Finance Summit to take stock of implementing the Addis Ababa Action Plan on financing for sustainable development.
  • Mid-term review of the so-called SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway.
  • High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage.
  • Climate Action Summit.

He urged the leaders to “seize this historic opportunity to ensure that every Caribbean country, and all SIDS, receive optimal support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The UN chief drew attention to five UN Summits in September where the “collective voices” of the Caribbean Sates can “be heard by the global community”.

Moving forward

In closing, he thanked CARICOM for its “strong cooperation” with the UN, welcomed the Counter-Terrorism Strategy for the region, developed with the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, and recognized its leadership on key UN priorities, “not least climate change and financing for development”.

Mr. Guterres commended Caribbean nations’ commitment to foster regional cooperation on fighting illegal drug trafficking and saluted their response efforts to the refugee and migration crisis in the wider region “as a result of the situation in Venezuela”.

“Let us cooperate ever more closely in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of the Caribbean”, concluded the Secretary-General.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Getting African Women into the Boardroom

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “No other problem has jeopardised the EU as much as the refugee question” Joachim Gauck, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, cries out from Davos

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Is deflation a real danger for Eurozone?

A ship with containers at the port of Rotterdam. (Copyright: European Union. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: Robert Meerding)

US follows the EU in impeding China market economy status in WTO

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

Human Resources Information Systems Specialist Trainee – 2013

Trump rejects Europe’s offer for zero car tariffs; he had personally tabled that idea in July

Strengthening the rule of law through increased awareness, an annual monitoring cycle and more effective enforcement

This cheap, 700-year old solution could change billions of lives

Eurozone: How safe are our deposits? Which banks will survive?

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

Towards seamless patent registration and protection in 25 EU countries

Online shopping across the EU to be easier from 3 December

Neither side stands to benefit in US-China trade spat, UN says

Ukraine undecided over a strategic partnership with the EU

Review on ethics and technological development

These are the challenges facing India’s most sacred river

What the buoyant US economy means for the rest of the world

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Measles in Europe: infection rates highest in a decade, says UN health agency

Venice will now start charging tourists an entrance fee

They have more than 30 words for “apple core”, and other things you didn’t know about Switzerland

How smart farming is helping Brazil feed the world

Mali not fulfilling its ‘sovereign role’ in protecting its people: UN human rights expert

EU summit: No energy against tax evasion and fraud

World Food Programme accesses Yemeni frontline district for first time since conflict began

Amid ‘unprecedented combination’ of epidemics, UN and partners begin cholera vaccination campaign in DR Congo

COP24: green, gender focus, as UN’s crucial climate change conference gets underway

Greece begins a new chapter following the conclusion of its stability support programme

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more inclusive Argentine economy

A Sting Exclusive: “Sustainable development goals: what role for business?” Commissioner Mimica asks live from European Business Summit 2015

IMF asks Europe to decide on bank resolutions and the Greek Gordian knot

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Businesses can lead a revolution in disability inclusion

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

G20 LIVE: the EU trade gold rush continues as EU and Australia agree to launch Free Trade Agreement (FTA) live from Antalya Turkey

Link between conflict and hunger worldwide, ‘all too persistent and deadly’, says new UN report

The West cannot ignore Russia; dazed Germany sitting on the fence

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

Let your fingers do the walking

Gaza investigators call on Israel to review ‘rules of engagement’ as Gaza protest anniversary looms

Germany and Europe prepare for Trump’s America

Russia’s permafrost is melting and it could have a devastating global effect

We need to rethink neuroscience. And you can help us

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

‘A trusted voice’ for social justice: Guterres celebrates 100 years of the International Labour Organization

Are the G20 leaders ready to curb corporate tax-avoidance?

These are the fastest trains in the world

Somalia’s population, international partners must be energized to sustain country’s ‘upward trajectory,’ says senior UN official

Nearly three million more displaced year-on-year, warns refugee agency chief, but solutions are within reach

What we can learn from Asia’s courts of the future

We must stop choking the ocean with plastic waste. Here’s how

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: sexual violence in conflict, a malaria vaccine trial, updates on Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, Sri Lanka and Mali

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

Technophobe or technophile? We need more conversation about digital transformation

UN-led Yemen ceasefire monitoring team gets ready to begin operations

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s