CARICOM SG attends Special Signing ceremony for Paris Climate Change Agreement

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (right) and Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland at the Special Signing Ceremony for the Paris Climate Change Agreement at UN Headquarters today.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque (right) and Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland at the Special Signing Ceremony for the Paris Climate Change Agreement at UN Headquarters today.

CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has joined CARICOM Heads and other government representatives at UN Headquarters in New York for today’s Special Signing Ceremony for the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Ambassador LaRocque was also in Paris to coordinate CARICOM’s campaign as the Region sought to get its red line climate change issues represented in the final agreement.

The CARICOM campaign, with its popular mantra “1.5 to Stay Alive” successfully promoted the ‘temperature rise’ and a short-list of other critical issues to the Region.  The long-term temperature goal was pushed as an existential issue for the Region, and CARICOM negotiators were able to influence a number of countries in hard negotiations, to have language included in the final text which takes account of the 1.5 degree option.

The CARICOM negotiators also addressed the special circumstances for the financing of the implementation activities in Small Island and low-lying Developing States, SIDS, and the text includes a baseline contribution of 100 Billion USD annually. The negotiators regarded the discussions on Loss and Damage arising from slow onset climate impacts as being among the  most difficult in the negotiations. In the end, the Region was able to get what it wanted – separate treatment of Loss and Damage (apart from Adaptation) in the Agreement and the permanent housing of the international mechanism to address Loss and Damage.  The Region’s position on REDD Plus (forest conservation) is also reflected in the language of the text. This is of particular significance to Guyana and Suriname, as well as other Member States with forested areas.

The Caribbean Community  now faces the challenge to use the Agreement as the basis for future climate action.  Ambassador LaRocque had said at the time that the Region needs to ratchet up its capacity both at the regional level and the national level. He said there are resources that can be available to the Region and we need to be able to access those resources.

Today’s Special Signing Ceremony takes place on the first day that the Agreement will open for signatures.  It will remain open for one year.

 

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