As the world grapples with the ongoing climate crisis which threatens to adversely affect several of the world’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the time for action is now, and it cannot be business as usual, said a senior United Nations official here on Monday.
UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq, made the comment during a lighting ceremony in observance of the UN’s 76th anniversary and Barbados’ own 55th anniversary of UN membership.
The emphasis on the climate crisis comes in the week that world leaders gather in the Scottish city of Glasgow for the COP-26 climate change summit where momentum of expectations is building for a deal to reverse or hold global temperatures.
Trebucq told attendees that the severe weather events and the widespread ramifications of COVID-19 seen globally have in many respects signalled an important call to many of the dominant economies around the world that economic, social, and environmental changes are required as a matter of urgency to develop a sustainable planet.
“It cannot be business as usual,” he declared. “We are all compelled, now more than ever, to be nimbler, more adaptive, and certainly more inclusive in our response. The need for greater solidary and reinvigorated multilateralism efforts to address these global challenges are critical.
“As we approach COP 26, now only one week away, the UN is demanding a strong commitment from world leaders to increase funding for climate adaptation and to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century. This is a matter of survival for Caribbean SIDS. We must step up for climate action.”
Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands also mirrored Trebucq’s call and said the UN is currently the ideal forum that should be used by all member nations to invoke a shared sense of responsibility for sustainable recovery and development in the post-COVID era.
She said: “It is a forum where we can inform the developed world and partners about the challenges that threaten our development and the prosperity of our people. We are at one of those moments now where the challenges are overwhelming for all of us; we face on the one hand a devastating pandemic, and on the other a climate crisis that threatens the very existence of many countries, particularly Small Island developing states like Barbados.
“We are at a point where the development gains we achieved since independence are also at risk, and the lack of access to concessional development financing, coupled with inequitable access to vaccines, will make it all the more difficult for us to work towards a sustainable, resilient, green recovery post-COVID.”