James calls for summit on the environment

POSTED: 07/18/11 11:41 AM

Climate change becomes focus point

St. Maarten – United Peoples (UP) Party Member of Parliament (MP) Jules James says climate change is predominant issue that is receiving global attention as well as national focus.  James feels the issue also has to be broached at Government level with respect to the global changing phenomenon.

James, who attended a Parlatino Environment and Tourism Affairs Committee meeting in El Salvador back in June, says a presentation was made of the Report of the Working Group of the draft law on glaciers. There is dramatic evidence with respect to the loss of glaciers in Latin America due to climate change. The Andes and Patagonia Mountain Range in Argentina shows evidence of glacial retreat and reduction in areas covered by snow. The glacial retreat and reduced water availability is a major concern for the Andean countries which account for 95 per cent of the world’s tropical glaciers, which now cover an estimated area of 2,500km2 with 72 per cent located in Peru, 22 per cent in Bolivia, four per cent in Ecuador and three per cent in Colombia. The Andean countries produce 10 per cent of the planet’s water, which comes mainly from the high Andean eco-systems and glaciers. The loss of glaciers in the Andes and the interference of sea water due to sea level rise will affect the availability of drinking water and may also affect agricultural production and tourism, according to the presentation that was made.

Parlatino delegates also spoke about the Regional Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the need for countries to enact laws on protecting the environment. Their main point of departure is that environmental management should reflect the environmental and developmental context and bear in mind the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which aims to ensure environmental sustainability. The aforementioned incorporates the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs with the primary objective of reversing the loss of environmental resources. The conservation of eco-systems will help to preserve the latter for present and future generations.

“St. Maarten also has to do its part. We have to protect what is left. I do believe the time is ripe for an environmental summit involving various stakeholders. We need to get their input on climate change issues as well. Our Caribbean brothers and sisters are also following developments closely. In the recently concluded 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from June 30 to July 4 in St. Kitts & Nevis, the Heads of Government in their final communiqué agreed to establish a team of experts to draft a regional plan of action to guide regional negotiators within the fora of the United Nations 17th Climate Change Conference which will be held from November 28 to December 9 in South Africa. Countries from CARICOM have expressed hope that this round of negotiations would result in a balanced outcome which adequately addresses the issues core to the interests of the Caribbean Community. We also need to bring climate change discussions to the kingdom level and this will also be addressed in my motion to parliament,” United Peoples party MP Jules James said on Thursday.

The Parlatino committee meeting took place at the Sheraton Hotel in San Salvador, the capital of the Central American country of El Salvador.  Some of the parliamentarians present who were representing their respective parliaments were, Aruba, Curacao, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Panama, Honduras, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Peru.

 

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