Australian High Commissioner to Barbados, Philip Kentwell talking??with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart????about climate change and its impact.

Climate change and the Australian government’s commitment to assist vulnerable economies in their mitigation efforts were among the topics discussed, when the High Commissioner to Barbados, Philip Kentwell, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

During the discussion at Government Headquarters on Bay Street today, the two counterparts expounded on a range of issues all aimed at deepening the relationships between Bridgetown and Sydney.

Mr. Kentwell gave an undertaking to work with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to combat climate change and disclosed that an invitation had been extended to CARICOM, for 30 persons to attend such a workshop in Australia.

In turn, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of climate change to sustainable development and pointed out: "The emphasis on climate change is relevant to us here in the Caribbean as much as it is to Australia.?? This [climate change] is not fiction…real things are happening and it is important for us to address them.?? Thus, in this context, I am very glad that the issues will be tackled in a sustainable way."

Mr. Stuart further stated: "Ultimately, a healthy environment is the basis on which we will all be able to sustain our existence on this planet.?? Therefore, we have to ensure that our plans are in such a way, as to make the environment sustainable and to make the development that we desire sustainable as well."??

When the Australian High Commissioner enquired about the future direction of CARICOM in light of the negative comments about it in some sections of the media, the Prime Minister explained that regional integration was still a front burner issue.

Mr. Stuart noted: "That is really not my sense.?? It is true that it [CARICOM] has been impacted by the world economic crisis and as such, countries have been forced to look deeper and to deal with some of the more urgent problems on the ground as a result of the impact of the global economic recession. So, I don’t think that there is any waning in the enthusiasm … ."

Australia and Barbados established diplomatic ties on January 7, 1974.??


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