Barbados and other small island developing states (SIDS) are becoming increasingly susceptible to climate change and steps have to be taken to reduce this vulnerability.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this observation, last Friday, during a wide-ranging interview at the close of the 35th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). It was held at the Sandals Grande Resort in Antigua.
Mr. Stuart noted that as a result of climate change, unprecedented flooding was taking place in several parts of the world, including the Caribbean, with neighbouring territories experiencing unseasonal hurricane type behaviour.
???St. Vincent and the Grenadines, for example, around Christmas last year and St. Lucia and Dominica experienced systems that were unprecedented for that time of the year. Seventeen per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was destroyed by that system last December.
We were fortunately spared [that system but] about two or three years before, Tomas passed by at a very awkward time for us as well and I am not aware that we have fully come out of the damage done by Tomas,??? he remarked.
The Prime Minister said that Barbados would be articulating its position on the effects of climate change on SIDS at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which will be held in Samoa in September.
He added: ???We???ll be accentuating a lot of those issues that have to do with the threats posed to small island developing states by climate change and making sure that we can access a lot of the funding that is being put in place to effect adaptation and mitigation measures so that we can minimise our risks.
???So, for us, this is not an academic issue. This is an issue that affects people in their everyday lives, and therefore, we have to continue our leadership on the issue of the environment and on issues related to climate change as these two affect small island developing states, of which Barbados is one.???
The United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held in Apia, Samoa, from September 1 to 4.
Barbados and other CARICOM nations will be hoping to develop and secure partnerships in areas such as climate change and disaster risk management, oceans and biodiversity, water and sanitation, food security and waste management, sustainable economic development, sustainable energy and social development, health and non-communicable diseases, and youth and women.