The recent destruction by Cyclone Pam and Super Typhoon Maysak has once again highlighted the unique vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the impacts of climate change, and their limited capacity and resources to respond and recover.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart expressed this view in his statement on Saturday in Martinique, at the opening of the Regional Summit Dedicated to the Preparation and Mobilisation, ahead of the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21), to be held in Paris in 2015.
Mr. Stuart noted that in March, Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest recorded for the Pacific region, devastated the Alliance of Small Island States in Vanuatu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, and Super Typhoon Maysak followed swiftly in April and wreaked havoc in the Federated States of Micronesia, leaving behind an extensive trail of death, destruction and damage.
He continued: ???For decades, we have borne witness to this unfolding global tragedy, and rather than taking the bold steps needed to arrest it, we have postponed action for another tomorrow. Tomorrow is now! The 2014 Fifth Assessment Report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change has settled the scientific uncertainties and it has been long established that the cost of action taken now is far lower than that postponed to some future time.???
The Prime Minister added that in light of the climate-related challenges faced by SIDS, which encumber their sustainable development pathways and threaten their very existence, the Government of Barbados remained concerned about two areas.
He listed them as calls by some Parties for a negotiated outcome that, both in form and substance, fell short of what was required to safeguard and protect vulnerable countries; and the significant gap between the Parties??? mitigation pledges and levels of emission consistent with keeping a global temperature increase of below 2 ??C or 1.5 ??C above pre-industrial levels.
Mr. Stuart said one of the main priorities for Barbados at UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris would be to advocate for an outcome that achieved substantial and legally-binding emissions reductions by all major emitters in the shortest time frame possible.
???As incoming Chair of CARICOM, during the latter half of this year, the Government of Barbados and, if I may say, CARICOM, will support the Presidency of France at the UNFCCC COP 21 as we work towards an ambitious, equitable, legally-binding, comprehensive and fair protocol, that is applicable to all, responds to the demands of the science and avoids the worst impacts in vulnerable developing countries,??? he stated.