Caribbean Leaders Present Shopping List to COP 28 President-Designate

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders on Thursday presented a shopping list to Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the president-designate of the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

COProDominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is also CARICOM chairman (File Photo)COP 28 will take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 to December 12 this year and Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is also chairman of the 15-member regional integration grouping, presented the shopping list during a meeting here with Al Jaber and other regional leaders.

Skerrit told the president-designate that even as CARICOM is celebrating its 50th anniversary, it was doing so in the face of its “biggest challenge to date."

“The Caribbean is one of the most vulnerable regions of the world; climate change, for us in the Caribbean, is an existential threat. We are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, suffering from the ravages of climate change that is not of our making,” he said.

Skerrit said that the scientific imperative is clear and that the global community needs to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

“The political leadership required, however, to deliver at the scale and speed necessary, is lagging. Despite the geopolitical challenges being experienced across the globe, we cannot let up on pursuing ambitious climate actions.

“As the COP28 President designate, we in the Caribbean will count on your leadership to ensure that COP28 is a COP of action. COP28 must deliver actions that are commensurate with ensuring that we keep 1.5 alive. Our lives and that our children and their children depend on it.”

Skerrit said that regional countries expect that COP28 will deliver, at the very least, several major political outcomes including an ambitious mitigation work program that will see developed countries and major economies submit enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) aligned to the 1.5 pathway.

He said the region also wants a global stock take that will provide an opportunity to ensure that “we keep the promise of Paris alive as well as assess the adequacy of adaptation efforts, and the financing, capacity building and technology transfer that the Paris Agreement is to deliver”.

In addition CARICOM countries want the operationalization and capitalization of the Loss and Damage fund that will provide critical climate finance to the most vulnerable countries who are ravaged by the adverse impacts of climate change.

He said these funds must be in the form of grants and that CARICOM is also hoping that COP 28 will deliver a credible roadmap for the doubling of adaptation finance

He said the Caribbean also wants the selection of the host of the Santiago Network1 , and a Work Programme in Just Transition that will ensure equity and include both mitigation and adaptation and that won’t leave any small island developing state (SIDS) behind.

“These outcomes are critical to rebuild trust in the UNFCCC process. Developed countries must be accountable, keep their promises and deliver the climate finance required if trust is to be maintained.

“They must deliver on the US$100 billion per year by COP28 and must commit new and additional resources by 2025 as we articulate the New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance,” Skerrit said.

He told the meeting that time has never been more urgent as the window to avert global catastrophe is fast closing.

He recalled Dominica having experienced such catastrophe first hand when Hurricane Maria caused damages equivalent to 226 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product (GDP), two years after tropical storm Erika wiped out the equivalent of 90 per cent of GDP.

“Other CARICOM countries have similar experiences. As bad as this is, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) makes it clear that with without steep cuts aligned to a 1.5 pathway, the situation will worsen.

“As a result, we have committed in my country to pursue climate resilience across all aspects of our society and economy to avoid such losses in the future and enable more rapid recovery. “We, like all our CARICOM counterparts require profound development finance reforms, solutions to the debt crisis and equitable access to climate finance to truly make resilience a reality,” Skerrit said.

The CARICOM chairman said that the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently indicated that there is a 66 per cent chance that “we will temporarily overshoot 1.5 degrees C within the next five years and that there is a 98 per cent chance that the next five years will be the warmest on record.

“We know that with every increment of warming, the frequency an intensity of climate-related disasters will increase…undermining our sustainable development aspirations,” Skerrit said, noting that it is with this urgency that Al Jaber will take up the mantle of the COP28 presidency.

“The negotiations, as always, will be difficult. However, we are counting on your effective leadership to steer the world on a path that will keep 1.5 within reach,” Skerrit said, adding “rest assured of the fullest support and solidarity of the Caribbean Community during your presidency”.