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CARICOM calls for accurate and timely information regarding early warning systems


SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, CMC – The final week of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) began today with the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell, reminding negotiators that people and the planet are relying on the process to deliver.

“Let’s use our remaining time in Egypt to build the bridges needed to make progress on 1.5 [degrees Celsius], adaptation, finance and loss and damage,” said the former Grenada government minister.

COP27 President Sameh Shoukry said that while negotiators have concluded work on some issues “there is still a lot of work ahead”.

“If we are to achieve meaningful and tangible outcomes of which we can be proud of, we must now shift gears and complement the technical discussions with more political high-level engagement,” he told the plenary.

Shoukry said that parties currently “need more time” to discuss issues regarding mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, gender and agriculture and he has asked co-facilitators to aid them.

He seemed confident that there would be an outcome document delivered on time.

“I expect very few issues to remain open by the evening of Wednesday 16th of November, when the near final text will be presented,” he said.

Today, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Dr Carla Barnett, addressed a side event on climate and broader environmental monitoring to support early warning systems as a means of averting loss and damage and building resilience.

“I see this as a critical conversation as IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports on climate projections and NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) syntheses get more dire with each iteration and promises of ambition and financing resilience continue largely unfulfilled.”

She told the event that for a CARICOM region that is both a seismically active and is subjected to increasing frequency and intensity of climatic events brought on by climate change, there is an urgent need for accurate and timely information that can be used for forecasting and early warning systems, modelling and loss-and-damage projections, and this must be prioritised for all member states.

“The future of Caribbean development must be risk-informed and planned with multiple, concurrent and cascading hazards in mind. Haiti as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines can testify to the complexities of managing COVID-19, hurricane season and major geological disasters at the same time,” she said.

Barnett said she was highly encouraged when the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announced earlier this year, a new initiative to support improvements in early warning systems globally.

She said last week, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) unveiled the action plan for the UN Global Early Warning initiative for the Implementation of Climate Adaptation.

“While this is very welcome, it is a bleak reminder that the world is gearing towards the reality of failing to deliver the requisite ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees,” Barnett said.

“The Caribbean too painfully recognises this reality. We continue our relentless advocacy to deliver 1.5, despite the shrinking window because that is what our citizens deserve. However, since the 2017 hurricane season, we become more acutely aware of the urgency of building resilience in every facet of development as CARICOM have articulated its five-pillar resilience agenda endorsed by the heads of government.”

She said to deliver on the five pillars, CARICOM continues to renew its call for fairness in international financing as the region continues to be battered by impacts not of its making, and are disadvantaged from accessing financing at concessional rates to recover from those impacts, as well as to build resilience to them.

“We have borne the sharp end of climate change impacts in conjunction with our other inherent vulnerabilities. It is, therefore, crucial that vulnerability be the main criterion in determining access to concessional financing, which we urgently need in our quest for resilience,” said Barnett.

“The region requires financing opportunities that are scaled to address short, medium and long-term responses to tackle climate change and recover from the global COVID pandemic while continuing to build our resilience as a region.”

She said such opportunities could help small island developing states (SIDS) with increased liquidity, reduced debt levels, greater fiscal space, access to new financial instruments and recovery packages that are compliant with the Paris Agreement.

She said the event today will provide for regional experts to share their unique perspectives on the very real climate challenges as it relates to monitoring and tracking environmental cues to furnish decision-makers, and the general public, with critical and timely information for averting disaster losses and coping with slow on-set changes.

“We will hear today about the tremendous progress made over the years in delivering accurate early warning that permeates to all of society and the most vulnerable. Likewise, we will hear about newer initiatives to provide key productive sectors with climate information for good planning and resilience-building,” Barnett said.


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