Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley says the world must be prepared to make decisions and apply the resources necessary to halt and reverse climate change.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view today as she delivered the keynote address at the International Trade Centre’s Trade for Sustainable Development Forum, in Geneva.
Ms. Mottley told her audience that the world must not begin to believe that it is a victim of climate change.
“I do not accept that it is beyond human ingenuity…. But it is a subject of priorities and in the same way that we prioritize spending in other areas, we can prioritize spending if it really mattered or if we believed it was urgent enough.
“At the same time, we need to recognize that when countries are forced to borrow with limited fiscal space already, they then are victims of an international capital market that will render negative judgments on their credit rating, such that they then are in a vicious cycle that they cannot get out of. So, do we spend the money on retrofitting or building new roofs, building reefs to protect coastal economies or do we spent the money on being able to complete the process in health care and education for the stabilization of populations?…” she asked.
The Prime Minister said the Caribbean was on the frontline of climate change and its development opportunities were being stolen because of its absolute necessity to fight the battle.
She added that it was critical that the voices of non-state actors and citizens across the world, including young people, join the fight because climate change would not only affect coral islands but coastal cities eventually.
Ms. Mottley said even though it was a destabilizing and a disrupting time, there would be opportunities and not just doom and gloom.
“The question for us is, can we work to force the world to deal with this with a sense of urgency such that we are not the collateral damage of an insensitive and procrastinating global community?”
She noted that the Climate Action Summit, as outlined at the United Nations two weeks ago, had left the world divided.
The Prime Minister stated that when certain funds were created, countries such as Barbados, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago could not access them because of their middle-income status.