Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will participate in the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta and the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) in Paris.
The CHOGM meeting will be held from November 24 to 29, while COP 21 and associated meetings will be held from November 25 to December 12.
Underscoring the importance of these high-level discussions, Mr. Stuart said: ???CHOGM 2015 will give the Commonwealth leaders and stakeholders an opportunity to come together as a community and work collectively to add value to the lives of their citizens, the Commonwealth family and the international community.???
He pointed out that the Prime Minister of Malta would convene a Special Executive Session on Climate Action as part of the CHOGM agenda, and a Commonwealth Leaders Statement on Climate Change would be considered, adopted and conveyed to UNFCCC COP 21.
Mr. Stuart said the potential outcomes of the Paris discussions would be important to Barbados and the CARICOM region, given the projected adverse effects climate change would have on the countries.
???Climate change is one of the most serious environmental problems affecting small island developing states, such as Barbados. Global warming, as a result of continuing greenhouse gas emissions, is causing changes in weather patterns, which have the potential to negatively impact the environmental, social and economic sectors in Barbados,??? he explained.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the CARICOM Heads of Government at their meeting earlier this year in Barbados adopted a Declaration for Climate Action, which sets out the region???s agreed negotiating positions. He added that the Declaration asserts that the Heads ???look forward to the adoption for the first time of a universal, legally binding agreement at the COP 21???.
Those attending CHOGM will include Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean; Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister???s Office, Sonja Welch; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, E. Cecile Humphrey; and High Commissioner of Barbados to the United Kingdom, Guy Hewitt.
Prime Minister Stuart and Ms. Welch will attend the Leaders Session and the Opening of COP 21 from November 30 to December 1, as well as a series of bilateral, regional, and SIDS meetings from December 2 to 4.
Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe; Project Manager in the Ministry, Rickardo Ward; and two others will participate in the high-level session from December 7 to 12. The UNFCCC will be providing funding for three of Barbados??? delegates to attend the conference.
Special Envoy on the Environment, Dr. Leonard Nurse, who is Chairman of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, will also be a member of the Barbados delegation, along with representatives of the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network.
At the biennial CHOGM meeting, which has as its theme: The Commonwealth ??? Adding Global Value, the Prime Minister will address the Commonwealth Enterprise Investment Council???s Focus on the Caribbean session, and participate in the Maltese Prime Minister’s Roundtable.
The selection of a new Commonwealth Secretary General is one of the important items on the agenda, as three candidates, two from the Caribbean and one from Africa, are vying for the top spot.??Barbados will seek to discuss important bilateral and regional issues with a number of partners in the margins of both meetings.