Money promised but Caribbean countries still struggling, CARICOM’s Secretary-General laments

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Sums of money have been promised to help smaller countries protect themselves against the harsh impact of climate change but Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Dr. Carla Barnett laments that much of those funds have not been provided yet.

During a virtual end-of-year press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Barnett said that the recent international climate talks- COP26- fell short of many expectations.

And so, she said that CARICOM has to continue advocating for countries to up their climate ambitions, such as reducing the use of fossil fuels that help destroy the environment.

More importantly, however, is the need for funds to be given to small island developing states and low-lying coastal states like Guyana. These states are among the countries most affected by the harmful effects of climate change.

“The large issue of countries that pledge and don’t deliver is something that we all uniformly advocate for because that is one of the hindrances to being able to effectively address the impact on all of our countries,” Dr. Barnett said.

Climate change has become a crucial and fundamental consideration in regional and international talks because all people are affected by the harmful effects.

These harmful occurrences include natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes as well as health concerns. And the funds being called for would help countries protect against these disasters.

At COP26, calls were made for a dedicated fund for ‘loss and damages’ caused by the effects of climate change. That fund was not established, however.

Dr. Barnett said that with Caribbean countries battered by natural disasters either caused by or worsened by climate change, this dedicated loss and damages fund is crucial. She highlighted too that the funds already agreed to for adaptation and mitigation should materialise.

An annual sum of $100 billion was identified under the Paris Agreement to help developing countries cut their carbon emissions, minimise the impact of climate change and adapt their economies to deal with its impact.

But developed countries have not met this pledge and some world leaders have lamented that small countries have not received adequate finance to rebuild sustainably or fund their efforts to cut emissions and increase the use of renewable energy.

Without the necessary funds to strengthen countries’ abilities to withstand the devastating effect of climate change, Dr. Barnett said Caribbean countries will be the worst-affected.

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