Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States were among more than 50 small states which have called on the developed countries for urgent injection of resources to confront the challenges that climate change posed to their sustainable development.
At the Commonwealth and Developing Small States (CDSS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Perth, Australia, on Wednesday, participants identified challenges that developing countries were facing in the context of climate change and sustainable development, and pointed to the need for the commitment of resources by the developed countries.
From the Caribbean’s point of view, there was need for new, additional and predictable resources for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), since climate finance was a shared responsibility for both developed and developing countries. CARICOM Member States highlighted the vulnerability of Caribbean countries to external shocks and natural disasters, and recommended the explicit incorporation of resilience-building facilities into crisis response programmes that are developed to assist them.
With regard to the disbursement of resources to finance climate change interventions, the Region cautioned against the tendency of international financial institutions (IFIs) using the same instruments as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) allocations to channel funds for the commitment to the sustainable use of forests. This was not ODA, they argued, but payment for a service, and therefore, new instruments needed to be devised.
CARICOM Member States joined the call for the 32 small states of the Commonwealth and the 48 small states of the global community to deliver the message to the world that the most vulnerable countries on the planet had to be supported. Participants were of the view that the united voice of the Commonwealth could shape the international response in addressing the life and death issue of climate change.
Time was of the essence for low-lying states whose very survival was threatened by climate change, the meeting heard.
Participants flagged financing for adaptation and mitigation, especially for the most vulnerable, and also the critical need for legally binding targets for global temperature changes, as pivotal to any serious global effort to curb the intensifying assault of climate change on development. They stressed that they could not survive only on words in the absence of unrealised financial commitments by developed countries for adaptation and mitigation initiatives. It was agreed that "the moral imperative" of translating words into realities needed to be conveyed to the G20 which meets in Cannes, France, in early November.
Representatives of other small states identified food security, water security and drought as additional challenges.
The continued global economic turmoil was highlighted as another major challenge to sustainable development. Many of the smallest and most vulnerable countries had been hardest hit by the crisis. Not only was growth being undermined, but the socio-economic fabric of many small states was becoming thread-bare and social cohesion was being threatened.
The CDSS was convened ahead of critical global climate change and environmental negotiating fora scheduled to be held later this year and in the course of next year, namely the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) scheduled for December 2011, in Durban, South Africa, and the Rio+20 to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.