Caribbean and Pacific islands working closely together on climate change response


Even more than before, small island developing states in the Caribbean and in the Pacific will be working together on climate change actions and issues:

Vulnerable islands in the region can now work more closely with the Pacific islands to address climate risks, based on a recently inked agreement between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“This memorandum of understanding has been a long time in the making, but I am happy that we have finally done it,” said Dr Kenrick Leslie, executive director of the 5Cs, at the signing ceremony held in Apia, Samoa earlier this year.

Director of SPREP David Sheppard shared his sentiments.

“We have long agreed on the need for better collaboration, but now we can do it,” he said.

Sheppard explained that the agreement would help the islands to take more concrete actions and follow up on recommendations made at the end of the four-day “Lessons for Future Action” conference held in May.

The signing ceremony was held at the SPREP headquarters and Sheppard said that his organisation was very happy about the collaboration; as the 5Cs was a key organisation in helping to promote action on climate change in the Caribbean. The 5Cs provides policy guidance on climate change to the 15 countries in Caricom.

One of the activities under the agreement is for both entities to have a joint side event at the United Nations Climate Change meeting to be held in Durban, South Africa from November 28 to December 10, 2011. This climate meeting is the premier climate event where global policy decisions are taken regarding international climate agreements.

The small island developing states of the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean have been identified as being among the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Many of the islands are already trying to cope with rising sea levels, more intense and frequent hurricanes as well as droughts and other climate impacts.

Meanwhile, it is expected that under the agreement, the islands will be able to share experiences on adapting to climate change to better increase their ability to cope.

The countries are lobbying the international community to take stronger action to deal with climate change to lessen the impact on their small economies as well as for their survival.

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