CARICOM aims to create world’s first climate resilient region

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti– With the Bahamas and Dominica which were hit hard by hurricanes in September both aiming to be the world’s first climate resilient nations, the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has a similar goal.

CARICOM’s incoming chairman, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse says it’s aiming to create the first climate resilient region in the world.

“The absolute necessity to create a climate smart region is clear, given the effects of climate change which have brought us droughts, mega hurricanes, heavy floods and unusual weather patterns, all of which adversely affect our development,” he said in his New Year’s message.

“The social and economic gains that we have made individually and collectively must be protected against the onslaught of nature. The CARICOM member states’ as well as the region’s non-member states’ production of greenhouse gases, is practically nil, even though they bear a disproportionate share of the consequences.”

Moïse added that the goodwill and pledges from the international community at two major global conferences in New York and Paris late last year provide hope that the necessary support to achieve the objective will be forthcoming.

He said these efforts come against the backdrop of CARICOM’s Strategic Plan for the period 2015-19, which is a guide towards the economic, social, environmental and technological resilience that is needed to produce sustained growth and development for the region.

“We are entering the final two years of the Strategic Plan and the results of the three partners’ [Member States, Regional Institutions and the Secretariat] efforts at implementing it are beginning to bear fruit.

“The solidity and efficiency of that partnership will be tested as never before given the magnitude of the rebuilding task ahead of us. We have to rebuild with resilience now to forestall damage in the future, in other words, to build back better. I am confident that the creativity and determination of our people will allow us to achieve that goal,” said Moïse.

In his message, the new CARICOM chairman said that this year, the regional grouping will increase efforts to make the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) more effective at providing the basis for economic growth.

“Many of the major legislative and administrative measures for the operations of the Single Market are in effect. Therefore it is now up to all of the stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure we derive the maximum benefit from its provisions. This would enable us to increase our intra-regional trade, share our best human resources, and encourage our entrepreneurs to expand their interests and provide us with a platform to move from market access to market presence in those countries with which we have trade agreements.

“The CSME undoubtedly remains our best vehicle for creating the economic resilience we need,” the Haitian leader said.