By Stacy Carmichael-James
The need for easier access to the Green Climate Fund which was established to assist in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change was today underscored by Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit as he addressed those gathered at the opening session of the 28th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government being held here.
The increasing frequency and intensity of climatic events in the region force the leaders to face the reality of climate change and emphasizes the need for the implementation of the measures contained in the Paris Agreement.
During the course of his chairmanship, Skerrit said he had the opportunity to visit Haiti and the Bahamas to see firsthand the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew and in both countries the damage was severe.
Haiti reported over 500 deaths along with over one million people in need of humanitarian assistance and 120 thousand families whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
Further, he noted that the worst of the devastation occurred in the agriculture belt which affected food supply in the country. Agriculture and fisheries along with houses and other infrastructure were badly affected in the Bahamas on the three islands hardest hit. The damage was estimated to be more than US 500 million.
It is in this light that Skerrit highlighted the importance of the Green Climate Fund established to assist in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.
The Prime Minister said that “it is critical that there be relatively quick access to this fund for those who it is intended to assist …it would be of minimal impact if disbursement is as sluggish as been the experience with other institutions and agencies.”
He noted too that almost every country in the region has been affected in some way by climatic conditions, hence the need for great emphasis to be placed on measures to reduce the impacts.