Rich variety of life on earth essential – UN SG marking biological diversity day

The welfare and prosperity of people now and in the future, depends on a “rich variety of life on earth” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his message for the International Day for Biological Diversity, marked on Tuesday.

Since December 1993, when the Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force, its parties have acted to conserve the earth’s flora and fauna, in a sustainable and fair way, said the UN chief.

“Achieving these objectives is integral to meet our goals for sustainable development,” Mr. Guterres stressed, underscoring the importance of protecting, restoring and ensuring access to ecosystems to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger: Goals 1 and 2 of what are known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To mitigate climate change, he notes that deforestation and land degradation must be reduced while at the same time, enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands.

He said it was also critical to protect the biodiversity of forests and watersheds to support clean and plentiful water supplies.

Read more at: United Nations News

Hurricanes Irma, Maria cost Caribbean tourism more than US$700M

Just under a million less tourists visited the Caribbean following hurricanes Irma and Maria last year, costing the region over $700 million, according to a report from the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council.

“The hurricane season resulted in an estimated (loss) in 2017 of 826,100 visitors to the Caribbean, compared to pre-hurricane forecasts,” said the report.

Those tourists could have spent US$741 million and sustained more than 11,000 jobs, it said.

With their turquoise waters and coral reefs, Caribbean island destinations rely heavily on tourism, which provides 15.2 per cent of the region’s gross domestic product and sustains 14 per cent of its labor force, according to the report.

Worldwide, the average contribution of tourism to GDP is 10.4 per cent.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

 

Dominica signs US$65M loan agreement with World Bank for climate resilience

Dominica on Thursday morning signed a US$65-million loan agreement with the World Bank for projects to help build a climate resilient island in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The projects will include Emergency Agricultural Livelihood and Housing Recovery.

Of that sum, US$25-million will go towards agriculture and US$40-million towards housing.

Under the housing program, up to 1,700 families will receive subsidies for rebuilding houses. An estimated 4,900 farmers and fishers will receive support under the agriculture program to help restore livelihood and to introduce and adopt climate resilient practices

Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Johnson Drigo said, the signing ceremony was a “tangible demonstration” of rebuilding Dominica after the passage of the monster hurricane last September.

Read More at Dominica News Online 

CARICOM and Commonwealth Secretariats sign agreement to strengthen cooperation

The CARICOM and Commonwealth Secretariats signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to further strengthen cooperation between the two Organisations, at a ceremony at the Pegasus in Georgetown, Guyana, Thursday.

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland signed the MOU, which will facilitate joint implementation of programmes and projects while harnessing the experience and resources of the two Organisations.  It will build on areas of interest agreed to in an earlier MOU, signed in 1996. (more…)

CARICOM and Indonesia strengthen links

Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque described the presentation of credentials by Indonesia’s Ambassador as “a hallmark in relations” between the Community and Indonesia.

His Excellency Drs. Dominicus Supratikto, became the first Ambassador of Indonesia to CARICOM when he presented his letters of credence to the Secretary-General on Wednesday at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, Georgetown, Guyana. Ambassador Supratikto is based in Suriname.

Ambassador LaRocque said that with this accreditation, relations between Indonesia and CARICOM would only go from strength to strength. Both the Secretary-General and Ambassador Supratikto agreed that climate change was one area that lent itself to co-operation.

The Ambassador noted that the forming of official links allowed for more engagement between the two parties and this latest initiative was in keeping with Indonesia’s thrust to extend relations with non-traditional partners.