Barbados has made two major foreign policy moves on clean oceans, joining with New Zealand in the fight against acidified oceans and climate change.
Bridgetown’s request to join the New Zealand-led Ocean Acidification Working Group has been accepted, as Minister for Climate Change James Shaw welcomed Minister of Maritime Affairs Kirk Humphrey in Wellington.
Shaw said: “I am pleased to accept Barbados’ request to join the New Zealand-led Ocean Acidification Working Group, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Ocean acidification is a serious and urgent global challenge, linked with climate change, that requires international cooperation.”
The phenomenon, linked to man-made pollution and the increase in carbon dioxide among greenhouses gases that has led to climate change, involves the oceans’ increased uptake of carbon dioxide in the air. This has resulted in seawater moving from alkaline or neutral levels to acidity, which could worsen coral bleaching and harm other forms of marine life.
In a separate development, Barbados has signalled its adoption of commitments agreed by the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance.
A Government statement issued as Humphrey wrapped up a four-day visit to New Zealand today, said he handed over the official letter on the clean oceans initiatives while there to discuss “a range of bilateral and multilateral issues”.
Shaw noted that despite the distance between Barbados and New Zealand, the two Commonwealth nations shared “strongly aligned” interests in climate change, small island developing states issues, multilateralism and the rule of law.
Shaw declared: “Barbados is a leader in the Caribbean on issues affecting small islands developing states.
“Many of the issues affecting the islands of the Caribbean are also priority issues for our Pacific neighbours.”
The two ministers both signaled the need for urgent, global action on climate change, according to the Government statement.
Humphrey said: “We are pleased New Zealand is making efforts towards reducing carbon emissions and is, therefore, a natural partner in our fight against climate change.”
During his visit, the maritime affairs minister observed how New Zealand manages its maritime conservation areas as well as boat building and maintenance.
Next, he travels to the Pacific island nation of Samoa, 3,470 km north of New Zealand, for the meeting of African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) ministers for fisheries and aquaculture.