Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told the global community that small island developing states need their support now, as they battle the effects of climate change.
Ms. Mottley underscored this point on Monday, as she addressed the COP26 Leaders’ Event: Action and Solidarity – The Critical Decade. This event was part of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), currently under way in Glasgow, Scotland.
The Prime Minister said that over the past 30 years, small island developing states had to adapt to many situations, including a post 9/11 world and the COVID-19 pandemic.
She added that Barbados has had to deal with issues pertaining to the World Trade Organization, which impacted the country’s productive sectors in manufacturing and agriculture.
“We are asked now to adapt to a plus 1.5 world. We cannot do it without the assistance of the rest of the global community. We need a 50/50 split on adaptation. We need…ideally, for us to put aside $500 billion of SDRs (special drawing rights) for 20 years.
“If we can’t get that, we need to go with the IMF’s resilience and sustainability trust as a matter of urgency, with vulnerability as a criteria and not per capita income, which excludes…and has excluded all of us from an early start on adaptation because we cannot get access to the funds,” she indicated.
Ms. Mottley said states would have to do the necessary adaptation, looking at how it could be done, and within what time frame. She stressed that it was necessary for the world to act with singular purpose and not be distracted by geopolitics.
She proffered the view that countries’ solutions must be “home-driven and not cookie-cutter. And to that extent, Barbados has come up with its own Roofs to Reefs Programme, recognising that it is not only access to concessional funding that will make the difference, but we have also to fight the battle of creating sufficient fiscal space to access that funding,” she stated.
The Prime Minister noted that Barbados had set itself 2030 to have its electricity provided almost exclusively by renewable energy and to transform its transport sector. “And that soon thereafter, 2035, to deal with the remaining aspects that will get us as close to net zero as possible,” she added.