Barbados has reaffirmed its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and combating the challenges posed by climate change.
These assurances came from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Edison Alleyne, during the opening ceremony for Climate Diplomacy Day, held at the Old Spirt Bond Mall on Wednesday.
Noting that the island was cognisant of its limited contribution to the global climate change crisis, the Permanent Secretary highlighted the recently-announced revised national target of 50 per cent of power generation from renewable energy by 2020, along with a 22 per cent increase in energy efficiency.
???This stands as a testament to our commitment to contribute to the global endeavour that is enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as to chart a new and more sustainable pathway to our development,??? he said.
Mr. Alleyne added that while Barbados??? actions were ???highly ambitious???, the island had carved mutually beneficial partnerships at the domestic and international levels, and was therefore confident that its aspirations could be achieved.
He stated that some of the island???s responses to climate change could be seen through the work of the Coastal Zone Management Unit and its efforts to protect the island???s shores from storm surges, sea level rise and coastal flooding events.
Mr. Alleyne stressed that all efforts were being made to press for a favourable outcome in the areas of adaptation and finance at the Conference of Parties 21, being held in Paris in December, given Barbados??? size, economic base and the island???s vulnerability.
In his address, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Ronald Jackson, also stressed that the road to Paris needed to be integrated and coordinated in order to build synergies and ensure the effectiveness of efforts towards national and regional resilience building.
He pointed out that reports indicated that hurricanes, tropical and local storms and flooding, accounted for an estimated economic loss of US$38 billion to the Caribbean region between 2010 and 2012, impacting over 15 million people.
???The seriousness of this threat to sustainable development of the countries in the region requires us to ensure that our focus goes beyond energy security, sustainability and clean development, but preferably towards a balance between those efforts and preparedness for response and disaster risk reduction and adaptation,??? he said.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, also commended Barbados for taking important and challenging strides in transforming its economy to deal with the effects of climate change.
Also part of the open day was an exhibition themed: Barbados ??? Building National Resilience to Climate Change, which highlighted past and ongoing work of several key departments across Government in responding to climate change challenges.