By Aleigha Générale
Last year’s COP The focus was on input from indigenous groups regarding climate change and the most effective ways to mitigate impacts without causing further damage to coastal communities and their environments. It is a feeling that is found throughout the Caribbean and in the different entities that represent its interests.
As a region made up of low-lying areas increasingly susceptible to erratic weather patterns brought on by the climate crisis, the subject of climate change is all too familiar to the Caribbean. As weather conditions become increasingly severe and unpredictable, the impact on the livelihoods of Caribbean people has been felt across the region. Decisions made at COP28, which takes place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, will influence how the Caribbean is able to manage these changes and threats, while also demonstrating the dedication of global partners to the well-being of the south of the planet. climate crisis.
The majority of discussions focused on the needs and wants of the Caribbean revolve around two topics: 1) loss and damage and 2) adaptation and mitigation.
Loss and Damage seeks to discuss the acquisition of climate finance for Caribbean communities that have been negatively affected by climate change, despite being one of the smallest contributors to the problem. Through discussions about loss and damage, those most responsible for the crisis can be held accountable and asked to make tangible contributions to the communities most affected.
Adaptation and mitigation focuses on introducing methods and tools to the community. This creates increased resilience in the face of natural disasters, climate change, and environmental fluctuations that can be (and have been) otherwise devastating. Through adaptation and mitigation, Caribbean communities are able to recognize the trend of increasing global temperatures while protecting their way of life through sustainable practices.
At COP27, the major success for many small island developing states was the creation of the United Nations Loss and Damage Fund. The aim of the fund is to “provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable to and affected by the effects of climate change”. Although the existence of the fund has given some participants hope for how climate finance issues will be handled in the coming years, the question remains how it will be financed, how it will be executed and who will receive the funding. COP28 participants expect the fund to be discussed and organized to its fullest extent so that progress can be made in vulnerable countries.
Another important development that will be discussed at COP28 is the proposal submitted by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) for the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to host the so-called Santiago Network. This network seeks to bring “technical assistance” to the forefront of discussions on loss and damage and calls for these discussions to be led by the Caribbean Development Bank. As a community on the frontlines of the climate crisis, a dialogue such as this one facilitated by the CDB would set a precedent for Caribbean countries to lead the conversations and take charge in the international climate justice arena.
In fields as dynamic and varied as this, it is important to also examine professional opinion (particularly that of Caribbean professionals). Kristin Qui, from regional data analytics company Climate Analytics Caribbean, sat down with me to discuss the next steps for Caribbean countries at COP28 and what can be done to make our voices heard.
Who strongly believes in the power of collaboration for the Caribbean community, citing AOSIS as a main player in UN discussions in which the Caribbean participates. She also references the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), which created the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, an organization dedicated to amplifying Caribbean issues on the global stage.
These two institutions reinforce the idea that the Caribbean performs its best when it collaborates openly and with a common goal (in this case, climate justice). When it comes to increased efforts or improvements to systems already in place, Who believes all parties could do better in raising awareness and “connecting international efforts with local action.”
Through groups such as AOSIS and CANARI, Caribbean initiatives can be led by those most affected and therefore receive international attention through international pressure groups and initiatives. Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados is a great example of scaling up and proposing concrete action plans that the international community can participate in.
Staying informed about these processes allows the Caribbean community to truly strive for continued development and awareness, while holding our representatives and elected officials accountable. With the legacy of natural disasters in the Caribbean and the rising cost of living, maintaining momentum in the fight for climate justice will benefit everyone involved and generations to come.
This story was made possible by the Caribbean Climate Tracker Journalism Fellowship.