Regional Summit on climate change in Martinique May 9th

POSTED: 05/7/15 11:41 AM

(Extracted from The Caribbean Voice)

GREATBAY/THE CARIBBEAN—A regional Summit to prepare and mobilize for the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Martinique on 9 May and will be chaired by François Hollande, President of the French Republic. The aim of the Summit is to bring together the island states of the Caribbean, including the French Departments in the Americas. These territories are indeed particularly vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise, which place their sustainable development at serious risk.

In fact, while the Caribbean contributes a mere 0,3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it bears the brunt of impacts related to climate change. The populations of territories in the region are already forced to adapt to the consequences on their daily lives, change their behaviors, and re-think their traditions to deal with it. However, in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the efforts and ambitious objectives of these countries at national and international level are inadequate. This is why we call upon the international community to enter into a win-win agreement to combat climate change in a spirit of international solidarity.

The time has come to understand that this geographical, cultural and identitybased kinship is the best asset to help us achieve the crucial internationalization of our development policies. More than ever, France is anxious to share development with Caribbean states. It is of the view that discussions should take place freely, and for this reason, its most recent legislative provisions grant to overseas administrations the right to participate fully in regional development policies. The world in which we live is one of inter-dependence. Our generation’s job is to connect the elements that can be connected, to join those that have become disconnected, to bring back what has gone astray, and to add to our shared wealth that which has been removed.

This new age can be achieved only if our peoples can re-discover their fraternal ties, take cognizance of their belonging to a rich diversity of elements and identities, a potential that can open up the prospect of a new economic and social democracy to fight against the human uncertainties that undermine us. In order to depart from the sectorial management of the environment, energy, biodiversity and major risks, we must establish a framework and prepare tools on all levels – territorial, Caribbean, national and international. Through this framework, we can move towards a holistic, shared, well-planned, expert, measured, and assessed policy, which can build a better asserted citizenship, more responsible management and use, and better protection and ownership of our environment. All this contributes to improved co-existence with one another, and in harmony with our environment. Since the beginning of the industrial age at the end of the 18th century, greenhouse gas concentrations have been increasing at an unprecedented rate. These gases, which are emitted mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal), increase the greenhouse effect and impact the climate. Caribbean small island developing states are among the most highly exposed to the risks related to climate change. Vulnerability is linked to a number of factors – rising sea level, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and the increased frequency of storms. All of these factors can bring about different consequences, which our territories are unable to sustain in the long term, and which clearly threaten their future, such as the loss of land space, an increase in the number of climate refugees, the loss of arable lands and the destruction of biodiversity.

In light of this threat, we must come up with a Caribbean initiative to foster radical changes in response to the challenges of global warming. This meeting in Martinique will be the Caribbean’s first tangible step in making this environmental cooperation a reality and identifying conditions for a framework of action.

Caraïbe Climat will issue a joint Caribbean statement, the aim of which is to promote Caribbean interests and to announce the initiatives taken by Caribbean states to honour the commitment to reduce degrees In fighting climate change.

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