On Tuesday, the British medical journal The Lancet will publish a landmark report highlighting the inalienable and undeniable link between climate change and human health.
We warmly welcome the report’s message of hope, which confirms the fact that climate change is more than just a technical or financial challenge (as Pope Francis did in his encyclical letter on June 18) and confirms the voice of health in the discussion on climate change. Indeed, the central premise of the Lancet commission’s work is that tackling climate change could be the single greatest health opportunity of the 21st century.
It is no surprise that climate change has the potential to set back global health. The greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet come from industrial activity that pollutes our air and water, and the temperature changes may lead to drought that brings malnutrition. Those with little or no access to health care — children and the elderly in particular — are more vulnerable to such predicaments.
However, health is symptomatic of a larger problem, which undermines and fragments our broader worldview. In addition to highlighting the effects of climate change, we must address the root of the problem. In so doing, we will discover how the benefits of assuming moral responsibility and taking immediate action — not just on matters related to health, but also world economy and global policy — far outweigh the cost of remaining indifferent and passive.
It is this vital link that The Lancet’s report conclusively and authoritatively demonstrates. In short, it proves that our response to climate change — both in terms of mitigation and adaptation — will reduce human suffering, while preserving the diversity and beauty of God’s creation for our children. God’s generous and plentiful creation, which we so often take for granted, is a gift to all living creatures and all living things. We must, therefore, ensure that the resources of our planet are — and continue to be — enough for all to live abundant lives.
The report could not appear at a more significant and sensitive time in history. This year, as all eyes look ahead to the Paris climate negotiations and as governments prepare to sign a universal commitment to limit global temperature rises, we have reached a critical turning point. We are — as never before — in a position to choose charity over greed and frugality over wastefulness in order to affirm our moral commitment to our neighbor and our respect for the Earth. Basic human rights — such as access to safe water, clean air and sufficient food — should be available to everyone without distinction or discrimination.
Because of our faith in God as creator, redeemer and sustainer, we have a mission to protect nature as well as human beings. The obligation of all human beings is to work together for a better world, one in which all human beings can flourish; our Christian vocation is to proclaim the Gospel inclusively and comprehensively.
To this purpose, as early as the mid-1980s, when the faith-based environmental movement that has come to be known as creation care was neither political nor fashionable, the Ecumenical Patriarchate initiated pioneering environmental initiatives. In 1989, it established a day of prayer for the protection of the natural environment and, from 1991 to this day, instigated a series of symposia and summits on an international, interfaith and interdisciplinary basis. Its ecumenical and ecological vision has been embraced in parishes and communities throughout the world.
In 1984, the Anglican Consultative Council adopted the Five Marks of Mission, the fifth of which is: "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth." In 2006, the Church of England started a national environmental campaign, Shrinking the Footprint, to enable the whole church to address — in faith, practice and mission — the issue of climate change. In 2015, a clear direction has been set for the Church of England’s national investing bodies in support of the transition to a low-carbon economy that brings its investments into line with the church’s witness.
As representatives of two major Christian communions, we appeal to the world’s governments to act decisively and conscientiously by signing an ambitious and hopeful agreement in Paris during the United Nations’ climate conference, COP 21, at the end of this year. We hope and pray that this covenant will contain a clear and convincing long-term goal that will chart the course of decarbonization in the coming years. Only in this way can we reduce the inequality that flows directly from climate injustice within and between countries.
The Lancet report is further proof that all of us must act with generosity and compassion toward our fellow human beings by acting on climate change now. This is a shared moral responsibility and urgent requirement. Civil society, governmental authorities and religious leaders have an opportunity to make a difference in a way that bridges our diverse opinions and nationalities. More
From John Dennis Liu here are the bare bones of what I have learned studying the Loess Plateau. There is more detail for those who crave knowledge.
|John Dennis Liu|
1. Functional ecosystems gave rise to life and are necessary for life to continue.
2. Ecosystem degradation has local, downstream (regional) and global impacts suggesting that we must rethink the way we see our relationship with the Earth. This is an essential part of globalization.
3. Human activity without ecological understanding leads to ecosystem collapse.
4. 4. Poverty and ecological destruction are interrelated. You must solve them together.
5. The collapse of ecosystem function is linked to the collapse of civilization.
6. It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems and restore ecosystem function that has been lost over vast areas.
7. It is necessary to differentiate and designate ecological and economic land to ensure that there will be at least some land that is able to function ecologically.
8. In order to restore ecosystem viability it is necessary to address the root causes of the degradation and so all unsustainable agricultural practices must end.
9. In order for unsustainable agricultural practices to end, policies must reflect these principles, alternative livelihoods must be identified, training and investment must be provided to help transition the poorest toward sustainable behaviors. They cannot do this alone.
10. Land tenure ensuring uninterrupted access to agricultural land for those who live near subsistence agriculture is required or they will be forced to devastate common ecological lands to survive.
11. Governments must understand these lessons and their policies must reflect these principles.
12. Ecosystem function and the ecosystem benefits that accrue have not been valued by traditional economic systems and so those systems are false.
13. The survival of people who live in or near large degraded ecosystems and the survival of people who live in wealth far from these places in the developed world, are both dependent on restoring viability to large ecosystems that have been disrupted or destroyed by human activity.
14. Learning these lessons will ensure that future generations will enjoy rushing rivers, forests, wildlife and more efficient, productive farms, as well as living in peace and prosperity.
15. We need to understand what is at stake. History provides strong, compelling evidence that ignoring these lessons will lead to ecosystem collapse and the end of our civilization.
16. When we look toward the future do we see growing deserts, more people living lives of desperation and poverty, or do we see forests, rivers, healthy and wealthy people with a sustainable future? These are two different paradigms. When we achieve the second paradigm the entire dynamic changes. This is exactly what is needed now to address climate change, poverty, and ecosystem health. The lessons of the Loess Plateau help to illustrate a sustainable future for humanity and represent "EARTH’S HOPE".
An economic impact assessment for the proposed cruise berthing facility is in the works, The Cayman Reporter understands.
|George Town's Proposed Cruise Terminal|
Minister of Finance Hon Marco Archer confirmed that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has been contracted to carry out the assessment. The Cayman Reporter inquired if the assessment has already started and how much this assessment will cost the country, but Mr Archer has not responded at press time.
The Cayman Islands has already done an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the tune of $2.5 million based on the current proposal of a two finger pier. The EIA indicated that dredging and its silt plume could impact 15 acres of coral reef. Now that the EIA has been completed and the Department of Environment (DoE) is the process of completing a report on the assessment to submit to Cabinet, a call for the examination of the proposal’s impact on the entire economy has been made.
Founder and Director-General at The Cayman Institute, Nicholas Robson, said to grasp the full impact of the proposal its impact on the country’s economy must be evaluated. He believes the economic impact assessment should state how financing a cruise port, that could destroy a significant part of the reef on the south-west of the island, will affect the country. He believes it should look at how many jobs will be affected in the retail sector as well as in to water sports industry.
He noted that it is also imperative to analyse the true strengths and weaknesses of the cruise tourism and stay-over tourism to these islands.
“We should be weighing up the cruise passenger industry and its per-capita spend against stay-over tourism. Should we be looking into lengthening the runway to 10,000 feet to be able to accommodate long haul flights from Europe and points east? The Persian Gulf and China have many high net worth individuals which may well want to come to the Cayman Islands. We have already had Mr. Lee Ka-Shing one of the richest men in Hong Kong residing and doing business here,” he said.
Furthermore, Mr Robson stated that it is important for Cayman to know how many cruise passengers it can manage. “If we try and take too many cruise passengers per day none will have an enjoyable experience,” he said.
Commenting on his own stance on the port plans Mr Robson said he is for any initiative that will have the greatest benefit to the majority of the people in the Cayman Islands. “A decision made today will affect the Cayman islands for many years into the future. Furthermore, with Cuba opening up the cruise industry may find that more passengers want to go to Cuba, causing some of the cruise lines dropping Cayman,” he said.
The Advancement of Cruise Tourism in the Cayman Islands (ACT) member Chris Kirkconnell told The Cayman Reporter that the ACT was formed because members involved in the cruise industry felt that the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), the tourism sector’s representative group, was only concerned about stay-over businesses. Those involved in cruise felt that in order to have a voice they had to start a group of their own.
“Once we formed ACT CITA tried to convince us that we didn’t need a separate entity and it seemed like they were trying to give us some kind of attention up until now. If you look at the member makeup of CITA its much more heavily stay-over focused than cruise,” Mr Kirkconnell expressed. More
REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS
For immediate release, 19 July 2015
Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands
MARSHALL ISLANDS FIRST SMALL ISLAND COUNTRY TO SET CLEAR AND ROBUST CLIMATE TARGET FOR 2025
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) today became the first small island state to set a new emissions reduction target for 2025, and the first developing country to adopt the simpler and more robust absolute economy-wide target that is usually expected of industrialized countries.
RMI’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – or ‘INDC’ – includes a commitment to reduce emissions by 32% below 2010 levels by 2025, and also includes an indicative target to further reduce emissions to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030. This is in line with RMI’s longer-term vision to move towards net zero emissions by 2050, or earlier if possible.
The preference for a 2025 target is consistent with calls by the US, Brazil and the world’s most vulnerable countries for shorter five-year commitments to avoid locking in insufficient ambition all the way to 2030, some 15 years away. It will strengthen calls from a growing majority that all countries must come back to the table by 2020 to see if stronger action is possible, particularly as renewable energy and other low-carbon technology becomes cheaper and more efficient.
As RMI once again mops up the damage after the latest in a series of climate disasters to hit the low-lying atoll nation, the new targets reaffirm RMI’s commitment to strong climate leadership in the Pacific region, as recognized by the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership adopted in the country when it hosted Pacific Island Leaders in September 2013. RMI’s new target builds on those previous efforts, but are now based on the more rigorous data collected during the preparation of RMI’s greenhouse gas inventory for 2010, which is soon to be submitted to the UNFCCC in the country’s ‘Second National Communication’.
Speaking on the release of the INDC, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, said:
"I am proud that, despite the climate disasters hitting our shores with increasing regularity, we remain committed to showing the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy. We may be small, but we exemplify the new reality that going low carbon is in everyone’s interests. It improves our economy, our security, our health and our prosperity, particularly in the Pacific and more broadly in the developing world."
"With these ambitious targets, we are on track to nearly halve our emissions between 2010 and 2030, en route to becoming emissions-free by the middle of the century. The science says this is what’s required globally. We have now joined the United States, the European Union, Ethiopia and others in setting a long-term decarbonization strategy. When added together in Paris, these strategies will stamp fossil fuels with an expiry date."
"Having an absolute economy-wide target means no-one has to look into a crystal ball to understand what it means for how much CO2 goes into the atmosphere. Unlike ‘below business-as-usual’ and ‘GDP intensity’ targets, our numbers don’t rely on unknown variables like size of population and future economic growth. This is the simplest and most robust type of target that a country can adopt. It says ‘we mean business’, and we’re not continuing with ‘business as usual’."
Speaking from Paris, where he is preparing to attend an informal Ministerial meeting on the negotiations convened by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, RMI Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tony de Brum, added:
"Leadership requires vision. Despite the costs of climate change spiraling out of control, we have once again shot for the upper end of what’s possible with our limited resources and international support."
"Since the 2008 oil price shock, the Marshall Islands has embarked on one the world’s most aggressive rollouts of renewables and energy efficiency measures. This helped us to peak our emissions in 2009, just before Copenhagen. But going forward, we’ll need to go harder, upscaling not only on solar, but also biofuels and wind, as well as the potential use of transformational technology, such as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. If we can show OTEC to work in our waters, it could change the global energy landscape altogether, delivering clean, green power to big coastal cities all over the world."
"With most of the big emitters’ targets now on the table, everyone knows we are falling well short. This is not something that can be ignored, nor swept away by political expediency. There can be no more excuses for delay or for low-balling ambition on the false premise that coal and other dirty fuels somehow increase prosperity. Exactly the opposite is true. Our message is simple: if one of the world’s smallest, poorest and most geographically isolated countries can do it, so can you."
Thom WoodroofeRMI Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Seismic Research Centre (SRC) of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is warning the region to “move expeditiously” towards building resilience amid predictions the Caribbean could be hit with an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or greater, Caribbean 360 reports.
“We must develop, legislate and enforce Building Codes using up-to-date seismic hazard maps based on the latest available science. Preparedness measures at the individual levels are insufficient and greater efforts are needed to facilitate self-resilience,” the SRC said in a statement as it marked the fifth anniversary of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010, killing an estimated 300,000 people.
The SRC said that the earthquake in Haiti “should have been the wakeup call for a fundamental shift in regional mechanisms for coping with seismic hazards.”
It said major earthquake disasters around the world have stimulated similar shifts and resulted in greater resilience to seismic hazards in these regions.
“This has not happened in the Caribbean and the region continues to be extremely vulnerable to seismic events,” the SRC said, adding “research suggests that the region is capable of generating an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or larger every 3-5 years.
“Of more concerns, we are long overdue for a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, which has 32 times more energy than the Haiti event. In light of these sobering facts, it is imperative for the region to move expeditiously towards building resilience to such events,” it added.
The SRC said that while there have been advances in many areas, “the effectiveness of the implemented strategy from country to country still needs to be measured.
“The need for broad-based impact assessments for seismic hazards and risks is now greater than ever with clearly established short term and long term objectives. Every year that passes without the necessary measures being in place is a year closer to a repeat of the Haiti disaster. Now is the time to be ready,” the SRC added. More
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) received the 2015 Energy Globe Award for its renewable energy and potable water work in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Cayman Islands should be emulating this initiative and moving towards potable water production for Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Editor
Energy Globe, an internationally recognized trademark for sustainability, is one of the most important environmental prizes today with 177 participating countries. The award, which is made from a cross-section of over 1, 500 entries annually, is given in recognition of outstanding performance in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource conservation.
The CCCCC won the 2015 Energy Globe National Award for the project “Special Programme for Adaptation to Climate Change”. The project was executed on the island of Bequia in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and focuses on the production and provision of clean drinking water for more than 1,000 people. This is being done through the acquisition and installation of a reverse osmosis desalination plant. The project is deemed highly sustainable as the water input is inexhaustible sea water and the energy used is solar, a renewable, carbon-free source.
The landmark project was also presented by Energy Globe as part of a global online campaign (www.energyglobe.info) on World Environment Day. The campaign ran under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP and received significant recognition.
“To be honoured with this award is a great recognition of our work for a better environment and motivates us to continue our endeavours in the future,” – Henrik Personn, Renewable Energy Expert, CCCCC
Since completing this key project, we have applied the lessons learned in Belize and on the Grenadian islands of Petite Martinique and Carriacou. Review the poster above to learn more about the progress we are making in Grenada:
"I want to salute Caribbean countries for taking on ambitious renewable energy targets. By 2020, for example, Barbados will be one of the world's top five leading users of solar energy on a per capita basis. You are lighting the path to the future,"
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon My main message to you is to remain fully engaged and keep working with us to strengthen our partnership during this vital year for humanity. Together, we can build a better, more sustainable world, for all.said during a high-level symposium focused on sustainable development in the Caribbean.
This meeting was among the UN chief's first stops in Barbados, where later on Thursdayhe is expected to make opening remarks to the 2015 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit, and where tomorrow, he will, among others, hold an interactive dialogue at the University of the West Indies.
"Twenty years ago, this very building was the site of the First Global Conference on Small Island Developing States that adopted the Barbados Programme of Action – the first compact between this group and the international community," he noticed
For small island developing States, Ban added, this space is "hallowed ground."
Encouraged by the presence of so many leaders of governments, regional and international organizations, the private sector, academia, and civil society, the Secretary-General highlighted the "continuing Caribbean commitment to put our world on a safer, more sustainable and equitable pathway," a few days from theThird International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"As leaders of some of the most vulnerable countries in the world, you don't need to be told that our planet is at grave risk. You are on the climate frontlines. You see it every day," he continued.
Convinced that sustainable development and climate change are "two sides of the same coin," the UN top official went on to say that this generation could be the first to end global poverty, and the last to prevent the worst impacts of global warming "before it is too late."
To get there, he underlined, the international community must make sure that the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) are "focused, financed and followed up – with real targets, real money and a real determination to achieve them."
Considering these goals as a sort of a "to-do list for people and the planet", Ban emphasized that it will take partnerships to make that happen. In that regard, he said, the Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States in Samoa last year laid a pathway for collective action and success within the post-2015 development agenda.
But, as the world prepares for a new sustainability framework and the sustainable development goals, a number of critical partnership areas must be strengthened, in particular the need for capacity building; financing; access to technology; and improved data collection and statistics.
Member States also must continue working together to link the global agenda to regional agendas and to deepen regional integration and to address the "unique needs and vulnerabilities" of small island developing states and middle-income countries, such as the debt challenge.
"And we need to keep forging the way forward towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathway that will benefit both people and the planet," the Secretary-General underlined.
He gave the assurance that, through the Green Climate Fund, and in working with world leaders, he will continue to insist that small islands and least developed countries are top funding priorities.
"My main message to you is to remain fully engaged and keep working with us to strengthen our partnership during this vital year for humanity. Together, we can build a better, more sustainable world, for all."
Later, in an address to an event on ending violence against women, the Secretary-General said the Caribbean has among the highest rates of sexual assault in the world. Three Caribbean countries are in the global top ten for recorded rapes. Moreover, he noted that in the eastern Caribbean, UNICEF estimates that child sexual abuse rates are between 20 and 45 per cent – meaning at least one in five precious children are affected. Most are girls who have no choice but to live close to their attacker.
"They desperately need our help. Too many women are afraid to seek help. One study showed that up to two thirds of all victims suffer without ever reporting the crime. I am outraged by this. Shame belongs to the perpetrators – not the victiWe have to change mindsets – especially among men," declared the UN chief.
In that light, he said he was proud to be the first man to sign onto the UN's HeForShecampaign, and he invited more men to take the HeForShe pledge.
"I encourage you to join UNICEF's End Violence global campaign. And every day, I count on all of you to work for true equality."
In the margins of the 36th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Barbados, the Secretary-General met with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Maxine McClean, of Barbados, a country he congratulated for its upcoming leadership of CARICOM. More
In the photo: Glaciologist Jason Box, left, at work on the Petermann Glacier on Greenland’s northwest coast, which has lost mass at an accelerated pace in recent years. Box and his family left Ohio State for Europe a couple years ago, and he is relieved to have escaped America’s culture of climate-change denial.
The incident was small, but Jason Box doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s been skittish about the media since it happened. This was last summer, as he was reading the cheery blog posts transmitted by the chief scientist on the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which was exploring the Arctic for an international expedition led by Stockholm University. “Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented … we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites…. The weather Gods are still on our side as we steam through a now ice-free Laptev Sea….”
As a leading climatologist who spent many years studying the Arctic at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State, Box knew that this breezy scientific detachment described one of the nightmare long-shot climate scenarios: a feedback loop where warming seas release methane that causes warming that releases more methane that causes more warming, on and on until the planet is incompatible with human life. And he knew there were similar methane releases occurring in the area. On impulse, he sent out a tweet.
“If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.”
The tweet immediately went viral, inspiring a series of headlines:
CLIMATOLOGIST SAYS ARCTIC CARBON RELEASE COULD MEAN “WE’RE FUCKED.”
CLIMATE SCIENTIST DROPS THE F-BOMB AFTER STARTLING ARCTIC DISCOVERY.
CLIMATOLOGIST: METHANE PLUMES FROM THE ARCTIC MEAN WE’RE SCREWED.
Box has been outspoken for years. He’s done science projects with Greenpeace, and he participated in the 2011 mass protest at the White House organized by 350.org. In 2013, he made headlines when a magazine reported his conclusion that a seventy-foot rise in sea levels over the next few centuries was probably already “baked into the system.” Now, with one word, Box had ventured into two particularly dangerous areas. First, the dirty secret of climate science and government climate policies is that they’re all based on probabilities, which means that the effects of standard CO2 targets like an 80 percent reduction by 2050 are based on the middle of the probability curve. Box had ventured to the darker possibilities on the curve’s tail, where few scientists and zero politicians are willing to go. More
EFFORTS TO preserve the country’s water reserves must be supplemented by legislation that makes rainwater harvesting compulsory for all housing developments and other such major projects which put a drain on Jamaica’s limited water resources during construction.
|Dr Christopher Tufton|
That is the recommendation from Dr Christopher Tufton, who told The Gleaner that such legislation is overdue, given Government’s failure to examine and report back on a resolution passed in the Senate March 1, 2013 on legislating rainwater harvesting.
“This is yet another example of a country that gives lip service to sustainable development, while citizens have to experience the hardships from a water crisis each year. We have heard nothing of the resolution since then, and as is customary, we act surprised that we are in another water shortage crisis, even though we have this situation each year,” said the former government minister.
He wants to make it mandatory that developers include in their applications information on how they will harvest and store rainwater for use during the life of the project. The legislation also speaks to the incorporation of features such as guttering on individual buildings, to ensure that water conservation becomes a part the Jamaican culture going forward.
“What it would mean is that one could determine to what extent existing projects could be retrofitted or adjusted. For new projects, however, part of their design should include a rainwater harvesting process. Now, it does add to the cost of construction, but in some countries, they have done things like tax rebates, among other things, to incentivise developers,” Tufton said. “So once construction is done, you could get a tax write-off in a short period of time to keep costs to a minimum.”
Acknowledging that this additional cost might prove a deterrent for some investors, Tufton said one has to look at the much bigger picture of the emotional distress and financial fallout the country is now experiencing. More
Already, American corporations are poised to rush into a country only 90 miles from Florida’s shores.In March, a delegation from the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, an agribusiness group that includes Cargill, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Chicken Council and other companies and organizations, flew to Havana to meet with Cuban officials.
And cruise ship companies and hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton have indicated their enthusiasm. "I can’t stop thinking about it," Frank Del Rio, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said in an interview. "Cuba and the cruise industry are just a match made in heaven, waiting to happen. More
The question for the Cayman Islands, who is considering constructing a new cruise ship dock, is how will the opening of Cuba affect cruise traffic to George Town?
I argue that an Economic Study is needed, in addition to the Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA), to analyse the economics of the cruise business to the Cayman Islands as a whole. This study should compare the financial benefits of stay-over tourism, with the extension of Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) to 10.000' feet allowing the handling of long-haul direct flights from Europe, East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea) and the Persian Gulf. It may be possible to turn ORIA into the air-hub of the Western Caribbean with Cayman Airways actually turning a profit as a regional carrier. Editor
CARICOM 5 July 2015: The 36th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) focused on energy, bolstering education systems, and Haiti's "looming humanitarian crisis," among other issues. A high-level symposium on sustainable development convened on the sidelines of the Conference.
During the meeting, held on 2-4 July 2015, in Bridgetown, Barbados, leaders welcomed the establishment of a Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy, which will be hosted by Barbados. The Centre will act as the implementation hub for sustainable energy activities and projects within the Caribbean. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago proposed creating a Caribbean Energy Fund, which participants supported.
Discussions at the Conference also addressed: access to concessional development financing for small island developing States (SIDS), with leaders advocating for a vulnerability measurement instead of gross domestic product (GDP) to determine economic health; a climate agreement that would limit warming to below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels; and decision-making mechanisms in the region.
The Conference resulted in a communiqué that addresses: sustainable development; resilience building and wealth creation for Caribbean development, and the role of Caribbean universities; science and technology; and the promotion of sustainable energy. Participants also adopted 'The CARICOM Declaration for Climate Action,' which outlines the Caribbean region's priorities for the 2015 climate agreement, including loss and damage, limiting warming to below 1.5°C, a compliance mechanism, and finance measures, including improved and privatized access to funds by SIDS.
Speaking during the high-level symposium on sustainable development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that, by 2020, Barbados will be one of the world's top five solar energy users on a per capita basis, and Caribbean countries "are lighting the path to the future." Noting that sustainable development and climate change are "two sides of the same coin," Ban reiterated that this generation could be the first to end global poverty, and the last to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, "before it is too late."
Ban underscored that the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must be "focused, financed and followed up," and that partnerships must be strengthened with regard to capacity building, financing, access to technology, and improved data collection and statistics.
Ban also called on countries to: link the global agenda to regional agendas; deepen regional integration; focus on the needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS and middle-income countries (MICs), including by addressing the debt challenge; and achieve a low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathway. He said he will continue working to guarantee that SIDS and the least developed countries (LDCs) are top funding priorities of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), among other sources.
The JetBlue Foundation is offering two scholarships for students to attend the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) and the Puntacana Ecological Foundation’s Innovators Think Tank. This is a unique opportunity for students to learn about key issues involving climate change and tourism. Applications will be due July 10th and a decision will be made by July 13th. CREST will be handling applications. More
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5CCCCC's) http://caribbeanclimate.bz/ is the region’s premier climate change focused blog. It is produced by the Belmopan, Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change.
The Centre maintains the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean.
The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.
May 2015: A small island developing States (SIDS) urban agenda must reflect the cultural, economic and geographic characteristics of SIDS, in order to address sustainable urbanization in SIDS, according to a publication by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).
The report provides an overview of current trends in climate change and urbanization, describes the impact of climate change on cities in SIDS, and explores the role of urban planning and design as a tool for addressing the challenges and opportunities of climate change in relation to human settlements in SIDS.
‘Urbanization and Climate Change in Small Island Developing States' responds to SIDS' calls to enable strong, genuine and durable partnerships at all levels and to strengthen long-standing cooperation and support from the international community. The publication is part of UN-HABITAT's ‘Cities and Climate Change Series.'
Global urbanization trends are present in SIDS, where 59% of residents live in urban settlements. According to the report, the term ‘urban' in the SIDS context can refer to a small town connected by villages on a single island, along a coastal perimeter or a series of islets.
“Climate change threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” particularly for SIDS, the report states. To position SIDS to achieve the SDGs and tackle climate change, the report emphasizes the importance of adapting resilience and sustainable urbanization concepts to the SIDS context and adopting innovative approaches such as the blue economy.
The report recommends promoting compact urban forms to address the ‘primacy of capitals' and resulting urban sprawl. Tools for achieving compact urban forms include smart growth principles, land use regulation, development and recognition of urban growth boundaries, and promotion of walking and cycling.
The report further recommends: adopting ecosystems-based approaches (EbA) to adaptation, such as reducing exposure to natural disasters through maintaining coastal ecosystems; incorporating an inclusive human rights-based approach; prioritizing investments and improving local capacity; and compiling adequate local data and information systems. [Publication: Urbanization and Climate Change in Small Island Developing States] More
This follows the signing Tuesday morning of a General Cooperation Agreement and a Short Stay Visa Waiver Agreement between the two countries which seeks to allow bilateral cooperation between the two sides in several areas.
The agreements were signed by the Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport Joel Morgan and Palau’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Hersey Kyota.
Kyota is part of the four-member delegation which the Palauan President Tommy Esang Remengesau is leading on his official visit to Seychelles.
The signing followed a tête-à-tête between President Remengesau and Seychelles President James Michel at State House in the Seychelles capital of Victoria, after which they were joined by officials of their two countries for further discussions.
In a press statement issued this afternoon, State House said talks between Michel and Remengesau centred on their respective countries' progress in various sectors, namely fisheries, aviation, tourism, environmental protection, renewable energy, economic reforms and wider issues of sustainable development.
Seychelles and Palau only established formal diplomatic ties earlier this year, although the two heads of states have enjoyed close relations for a number of years.
Michel and Remengesau were the ones who called for the setting up of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) in January 2005 during the second International Meeting of the Small Island Developing States held in the neighbouring Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
GLISPA is an open and voluntary platform for all islands and their supporters to work together to build resilient and sustainable island communities through innovative partnerships.
Both Palau and Seychelles are also members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
On his first visit to Seychelles, Remengesau was also the guest of honour at yesterday’s National Day Celebrations.
In a press statement issued by State House this afternoon following this morning's meeting, Michel described Remengesau’s visit to the Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands as "a historic milestone" in the relations between the two countries.
"His presence amongst us is not only an opportunity for him to share in our festivities, to share our joy and achievements as a nation, but also an occasion to celebrate and strengthen even further the strong island kinship between our two brotherly countries and between islands everywhere," said Michel.
According to the statement, the two leaders have agreed that "the close cooperation between Seychelles and Palau that is planned in the future" will be an example of collaboration between individual small island developing states adding that Seychelles and Palau will encourage such cooperation between other island nations.
"This type of cooperation should be replicated in the Post-2015 era if small island countries or as we say ‘large ocean states’ are to benefit to the maximum from the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Change agreement as well as the SAMOA PATHWAY," said Michel.
For the Palauan president, the visit represents an opportunity which will allow the two island nations to share experiences and learn from each other’s best practices considering they face similar challenges.
"…I am reminded that we share the same values; that the development of a nation rests on the benefits it can bring to the people and that sustainability is at the heart of our island nations. We seek to continue to bring the same message of island people to the world community and work together in close collaboration," said Remengesau.
The Palauan President will leave Seychelles on Wednesday July 1.
During his stay, he is also paying close attention to restoration of eroded coastlines due to climate change in Seychelles which is a similar challenge faced by Palau. This is through visits to several sites in the Seychelles where such projects have been undertaken.
Palau consists of over 200 islands, out of which only eight are permanently inhabited. The western Pacific islands have a much smaller population size of only around 21,000 people when compared to Seychelles’ population of around 90,000.
Palau which is close to Southeast Asia has a rather mixed population of Malay, Melanesian, Filipino, and Polynesian ancestry. It is believed that its original settlers as early as 2500 BC were from Indonesia.
The Palau islands remained under Spanish ownership for many years before Spain sold them to Germany in 1899. The islands were also occupied by Japan during the World War 1 and the US during the World War 2.
Palau became independent in 1994 More