Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is calling for a coordinated approach among governments to scale back the negative impact of climate change on their respective economies.

He issued this challenge today, while addressing a joint British and Australian High Commissions conference under the theme Climate Change in the Caribbean: Equipping Policy Makers to Combat the Threat. It was held at the Savannah Hotel.??

In giving an insight into the negative impact of climate change, the Prime Minister revealed that some countries stood to lose six per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually from wind, storm surge and inland flooding, based on the findings of a study carried out by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility.

Mr. Stuart added that the researchers further warned that in a worst case scenario, climate change had the potential to increase these expected losses by a further one to three per cent of GDP, by 2030.

Of equal importance, the Prime Minister added, was a paper written by officials in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, entitled The Impact of Climate Change on the Barbadian Economy and the Consequences of Doing Nothing, in which the authors contended: "If tourist arrivals in Barbados fell by two, five or ten per cent?? due to the effects of climate change, then decreases in real GDP of 0.8, 2.1, and 4.2 per cent, respectively, would result if no mitigation or adaptation actions were taken."??

In light of these pronouncements, Mr. Stuart urged policy makers to incorporate climate change in their planning agendas. "As policy makers, we are faced with a number of challenges, an important one of which is that of mainstreaming, by integrating climate change considerations into development planning, programme budgeting, with a view to reducing the negative impacts associated with this phenomenon."

He further stated: "This coordinated, integrated approach is very important if we are going to deal with the scale and urgency of the problem."??

During the mainstreaming phase, the Prime Minister advised technocrats, to provide accurate information for sound decision making; to ensure that there are reliable institutions to manage national strategies that are consistent with existing policy criteria; and to involve a broad range of stakeholders in the climate change policy process.

The conference, held in conjunction with the Australian Government and ??the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, continues tomorrow, Thursday November 11.??jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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