Barbados has joined with other Caribbean countries in agreeing to a special declaration on climate change. The Fort-de-France appeal came at the end of last weekend’s Caribbean Climate Summit, which was attended by some 40 leaders, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
France’s President Francois Hollande, who was also in attendance at the meeting in Martinique, noted that climate change was a pressing issue that represented $600 million a year in costs to the Caribbean region alone.
The meeting came ahead of a global climate conference in Paris that activists hope will mark the first time all countries take collective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
Following is the full text of the official declaration:
Planet Earth is our common cradle –– a shared homeland. It is an indivisible ecosystem where national frontiers and vanities cannot overshadow a profound interdependence in which the excesses of some affect the security and the future of others. In this shared homeland, wealth and poverty, abundance and scarcity are simply the extremes of a spiral dynamic of cause and effect.
This interdependence is even more evident through the extraordinary challenges posed by climate change, its chain reaction of consequences, its unfolding disasters and those to come, the brutal renewal which will be imposed on all of us.
None can be saved alone.
None can collapse without the entire biosphere, and its resilience capacity, remaining unaffected.
1. The Caribbean region, which contributes only marginally to greenhouse gas emissions, will nonetheless be among the most adversely affected zones. Its populations are already feeling the effects of climate disturbance, which can trigger more frequent and more intense extreme phenomena, modify precipitation, cause acidification and warming of the oceans, coral bleaching, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, salination of aquifers, appearance of new transmissible infections with a significant impact, reduction of agricultural productivity, an overturning of fishing customs . . . .
2. Despite our emergencies, our unequal responsibilities, our differentiated situations, we must admit:
a common destiny that obliges us to unite in a spirit of collective responsibility;
a demand for shared, effective and tangible solidarity.
These are the two pillars of a high earth consciousness without which we would not be able to surmount these challenges.
3. The international community has less than one year to define a compelling judicial system applicable to the contracting parties of the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC). This agreement is to be adopted at the 21st session of the Conference Of Parties (COP 21) to be held in Paris, France, in December, 2015. This new agreement shall respond to the recommendations contained in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC). It must also be entirely adaptable in order to take into account evolving scientific data.
4. Therefore, we the Heads of State, Heads of Government and representatives of regional authorities, assembled in Martinique on May 9, 2015, call on world leaders, regional and municipal authorities, the private sector and people of the world:
to join us in a working formula which will allow us to take up, in the most solid, healthy and broadest possible manner, the multifaceted challenge of climate change;
to understand that international cooperation and collaboration are indispensable in order to tackle both the causes and consequences of climate change in order to protect our Caribbean region in the interest of future generations and planetary balance;
to hear the call of the most vulnerable countries, so that this international mobilization benefits the greatest number in a perfectly equitable manner;
to decide on a financial, scientific, technical aid and all other forms of support aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Caribbean to take the necessary adaptation and prospective redeployment measures that are required;
to recognize that certain problems are specific to small-island states and low-lying territories; that these differentiated situations call for unique solutions adapted to their national and cultural realities; that regional expertise, that recourse to traditional knowledge, are necessary so that these measures, supported by global solidarity, receive the creative adhesion of local populations;
to lend the necessary financial and technical support to the preparation and submission of their contributions which will be determined at the national level by October 2015. These expected national contributions will be ambitious. They provide for measures aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
They will determine those which can be engaged with national resources, and specify those which are achievable only with technical, scientific and financial aid from international sources.
5. Finally, even though the Caribbean generates only a negligible share of greenhouse gases, our governments will ensure effective contribution to international action with a view to limiting future emissions to a level that will guarantee the survival of the most vulnerable communities, food security for all, socio-economic well-being of all, and this in the ultimate respect of the balance of our biosphere.
We are in the world and the world is within us.
Therefore, we are the world.