Matters related to managing the effects of climate change were high on the agenda when newly-appointed Australian High Commissioner to Barbados, John Pilbeam, met recently with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean.

During the meeting, which took place at the Minister???s Culloden road offices, High Commissioner Pilbeam noted that there were a number of similarities between Caribbean Islands and the Islands in the Pacific, where negative effects of climate change could be seen.

He added that the strategies used in the Caribbean were often very helpful to the Pacific Islands.

Senator McClean used the devastating effects caused by unseasonal rainfall in Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent in recent years as a testimony of the adverse effects of climate change.

She added that Caribbean countries were part of a study to fully assess the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States in dealing with such matters, and was currently working with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean to establish measures and indicators of vulnerabilities for the region.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also pointed out that Government would continue its efforts to encourage adaptation and mitigation, and was keen to involve the private sector in working with Government in those areas.

The two also spoke about a Commonwealth finance initiative launched last year in Mauritius, which would allow Small Island Developing States and Least Developed States, which are the most vulnerable to climate change, to access funds for urgent adaptation and mitigation.

Other matters discussed included renewable energy, Barbados??? agricultural sector, and activities to celebrate Barbados??? 50th anniversary of Independence. The Governments of Barbados and Australia established diplomatic relations on January 7, 1974.

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