Regional Unions Want Say in Climate Change Response

November 30, 2015





CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Regional trade unions have written to Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony outlining their concerns ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) that opens today in Paris.

The unions want Caribbean leaders to engage the labour movement in addressing issues relating to climate change.

Last week, they discussed the need for sustainable policies in the Caribbean, given the impact of climate change, and in their letter to Anthony in his capacity as head of environmental matters within the quasi-Caribbean Community (Caricom) cabinet, the unions said the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters in the recent past throughout the region is evidence of the impact of climate change.

“We join together as regional unions, and with the workers’ movement globally to demand climate justice and a just transition,” noted the unions in the letter that was signed by Johann M Harewood, secretary general of the National Workers Union here.

He said the recent experiences have shown that the impacts of these disasters are not only physical.

“While indeed infrastructure is severely damaged, there are also major negative impacts for the economies of our region. This is of major significance, given that the majority of the region’s economies are resource-based, example, tourism for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States countries and energy for Trinidad and Tobago,” Harewood said.

He said this fact, combined with the status of the member countries of the region as Small Island Developing States, increases the region’s vulnerability in the face of climate change.

Harewood said the unions are demanding a fair, ambitious and binding treaty on climate change and they were looking forward to partnering with regional governments to ensure that the Caribbean is able to face and overcome the challenge of climate change.




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