FORT DE FRANCE, Martinique — A climate change declaration signed by Caribbean leaders at a climate change summit in Martinique on Saturday makes a special appeal to the conscience of the world’s richest countries to do their part to help small island developing states.
Caribbean heads of state are hoping that the Declaration of Fort de France will result in a unified voice to the unique challenges and solutions to climate related issues in their region. The tourism-dependent countries have maintained that despite their small sizes and negligible contribution to global gas emissions, they are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Thirteen Caribbean leaders, including Cuba’s environment minister, attended the one-day Martinique summit, Saturday, which was chaired by French President Francois Hollande. The landmark gathering gave regional leaders an opportunity to put forward a joint policy position ahead of the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December.
Chairman of the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, said the summit gave the islands a chance to ensure that concerns of the Caribbean receive due prominence in the Paris talks. Skerrit also said climate change is an issue that affects the very survival of small island states in the Caribbean.
“We remain convinced that the global goal of limiting average temperature increase to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels is inadequate for protecting fragile ecosystems in SIDS from the adverse impacts of climate change, and that a target rate lower than 1.5°C would be more appropriate,” he said. “We are painfully aware that in the Caribbean, some ecosystems are already approaching the limits of their adaptive capacities, presenting major challenges for the livelihoods of the people. We therefore reiterate the call for urgent and ambitious action by developed country parties in particular, geared toward achieving this target.”
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc, Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, spoke of the urgent need to close the gap between the mitigation emitters and the level of effort required to decrease the global average temperature.
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