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Scale up carbon dioxide removal to achieve climate targets, urge United Nations regional leaders



#September 28, 2021 – In a joint statement, the Executive Secretaries of the United Nations Regional Commissions have called for enhanced regional cooperation to develop nature-based and technological solutions for capturing CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and ensuring its long-term storage.

This week’s High-level Dialogue on Energy will be the first global gathering on energy mandated by the UN General Assembly since 1981.  It gives all member states an opportunity to demonstrate their commitments and actions to achieve clean and affordable energy for all by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Time is running out to avert a climate emergency. Nations around the world are failing to live up to their objectives and commitments on sustainable energy. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated that climate change is “widespread, rapid, and intensifying”. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres called it “code red for humanity”.

First of all, we must protect our precious carbon sinks, which include forests, oceans and wetlands. Second, carbon dioxide removal is essential if the world is to achieve its universally agreed sustainable development goals. Carbon dioxide removal includes nature-based approaches such as reforestation and technology-based approaches such as capture of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants for underground storage or re-use.

All countries should set clear decarbonization targets. In addition, governments and politicians must be empowered to support ambitious and immediate carbon removal targets.

Developed countries should put a fair price on the carbon stocks held as global goods in rainforests and peatlands, including the Amazon and Congo Basin, mangrove and coral reefs ecosystems and ocean, and support efforts to increase the capacity of those carbon sinks which are at risk of becoming carbon sources with increasing land degradation driven by climate change.  While countries must continue to increase ambition under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions, data show that fossil fuels will in some ways remain part of the energy mix in many countries for years to come. Some industries such as cement, steel and iron production, and transport cannot be easily decarbonized.  Nations need to institute favorable conditions for investment in carbon dioxide removal and develop the needed legal, financial and regulatory frameworks in collaboration with infrastructure and banking institutions.

Industrialized nations should retrofit existing infrastructure now. In coastal regions, nature-based solutions such as mangrove forests can be increased to support carbon dioxide net emissions targets and to alleviate the effects of extreme weather events. Patent waivers on next-generation climate technologies could facilitate investment in modernizing global energy infrastructure.

Carbon dioxide removal is not considered universally as a viable approach to climate change mitigation.  The UN Regional Commissions can play an instrumental role in convening stakeholders to address existing gaps in knowledge and governance in the context of regional and national specificities and address the region-specific implications and trade-offs of global action on carbon dioxide removal. Sharing best practices among nations with respect to carbon dioxide removal improves the opportunity to build inclusive sustainable livelihoods.

In developing countries, carbon dioxide removal activities, whether nature based or technological, should also feature as part of the effort to provide sustainable livelihoods that can accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

A circular economy approach towards carbon needs to be embraced by societies to be able to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero GHG emissions by 2060-2070 to keep the global warming within 1.5 ℃  Having a sound understanding of the potential contributions of natural and technological carbon dioxide removal would underpin the call for a radical transformation of production and consumption patterns. In our everyday lives, the systemic changes required will see high performance buildings that re-use carbon dioxide becoming commonplace alongside stronger commitments on methane management and socio-environmental-economic contracts in resource management. These actions will integrate quality of life aspirations with environmental stewardship to deliver climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Enhancing governance of carbon dioxide removal could provide an excellent opportunity to focus and align regional and international efforts to attain global circular carbon economy. By working together, carbon dioxide removal has the potential to become a critical component of viable climate policy options for regions now and in the decades to come.


Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Armida Salsiah Alishahbana, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)
Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commissions for Western Asia (UNESCWA)
Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

 A virtual dialogue on “Challenges and Opportunities for Harnessing Climate & SDG Synergies: the role of carbon dioxide removal” was broadcast as an official side-event to the High-Level Dialogue on Energy on 24 September at 07:00-08:15 EST.

This event was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) In cooperation with Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G), fellow United Nations’ Economic Commissions and the International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development.

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Bahamas News

CARPHA Team undertakes Assessment of Guyana’s National Surveillance System for Non-communicable Diseases



October 14, 2021 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) conducted a technical mission to Guyana from September 22nd – 25th, 2021 to undertake site visits as a part of an ongoing assessment of six (6) Member States’ systems for the national surveillance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. This activity was implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Guyana through an Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – funded project.

The aim of the assessment s to provide evidence in support of the development of a Regional Surveillance System for NCDs, a priority under the regional health framework Caribbean Cooperation in Health IV (2016-2025).

During the mission, the CARPHA technical team reviewed the capacity of existing surveillance mechanisms in Guyana to collect, analyse and report on the NCDs and risk factor indicators proposed for the regional surveillance system. These indicators were recommended by a multi-stakeholder meeting series convened in 2020 under the AFD project, which reviewed global, regional, and sub-regional mandates, targets and practices in surveillance for the prevention and control of NCDs.

The CARPHA Team along with senior officials from the Ministry of Health conducted visits to two (2) health centres, the National Cancer Registry, Ministry of Health Surveillance, and Statistics Unit.  The results from the overall assessment will be presented to the Ministry of Health Guyana and will also be reviewed alongside results from similar assessments in Anguilla, Aruba, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname to inform the finalisation of the regional surveillance system design through a regional stakeholder meeting.

The regional NCDs surveillance system would facilitate the reporting and availability of data to inform policy development, planning, and tracking of progress towards meeting for targets NCDs at Regional and National levels.

Through funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CARPHA is leading the Region in Strengthening Strategic Intelligence and Partnership Approaches to prevent and control NCDs and Strengthen Regional Health Security in the Caribbean. This project, signed in 2019 with a value of €1,500,000.00, demonstrates the commitment of the Government of France and the French people to supporting the public health priorities of the Caribbean Community through CARPHA.

More information on the Project can be found at:

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Bahamas News

World Sight Day: Love Your Eyes



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.  14 October, 2021.  In the Caribbean, the leading causes of blindness are glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (a complication of diabetes).  According to the Vision Atlas, 6.2 million persons in the Caribbean were reported to have vision loss, with an estimated 260,000 persons reported to be blind in 2020.

Information gathered from eighteen (18) Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) with a population of 44 million, showed that the crude prevalence of blindness was 0.60%, and the prevalence of all vision loss was 13.20%. Many of the persons affected were females at 52%.

Global statistics reveal that for 2020, a total of 596 million persons had distance vision impairment worldwide, of this number 43 million were blind.  Projections for 2050, indicate that an estimated 885 million persons may be affected by distance vision impairment with 61 million expected to experience  blindness.

CARPHA’s vision for the Caribbean is a region where the health and wellness of the people are promoted and protected from disease, injury and disability, thereby enabling human development in keeping with the belief that the health of the Region is the wealth of the Region.

Although there are no projects that directly address vision impairment, CARPHA in collaboration with its public health partners is implementing initiatives to address risk factors such as unhealthy diets, use of harmful substances and poor physical activities. This in turn, will help reduce the risk of disability due to complications associated with poor blood sugar and blood pressure management.

Efforts to improve the standards of care for diabetes through the implementation of the CARPHA Guidelines on the Management of Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean, and training of health care workers from the CARPHA Member States will also contribute to the prevention of vision impairment and blindness due to diabetes.

Access to eye care services can reduce visual impairment.  CARPHA urges Member States to strengthen health systems to improve eye health services with emphasis on reaching the vulnerable and those most in need.  Governments should commit to integrating eye care into the universal health care system.

World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in October.  The focus of the day is to bring awareness to blindness and vision impairment as a major public health issue and blindness prevention.

The 2021 commemoration observed on 14th October, seeks to encourage persons to think about the ‘importance of their own eye health.’

Our eyes are working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been indoors, in front of our screens, and probably missed our eye test appointments. Now more than ever, we need to protect and prioritize our eyesight. There are simple things you can do for yourself to prevent the development of serious eye issues:

  • Take screen breaks for at least five minutes every hour
  • Spend time outside.  Increased outdoor time can reduce the risk of myopia (near-sightedness)[3]
  • Get an eye test. A complete eye exam can detect eye conditions such as glaucoma before it has an effect on your sight. The earlier an eye condition is identified, the easier it is to treat.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in physical activity. These are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.
  • If you have diabetes, you should have your eyes checked every year

Your sight cannot be taken for granted.  It is time to LOVE YOUR EYES!

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Bahamas News

TCI Premier and Tourism Minister lead delegation  at NABHOOD Summit



#TurksandCaicos, October 13, 2021 – The Hon. Premier, Charles Washington Missick and Hon. Josephine Connolly Minister for tourism attended the 8th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit and Trade Show. This summit was held at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel from October 8th to 10th. The theme of this year’s Summit was ‘Gaining Economic Powers Through Multicultural Tourism’. The summit was held by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD)

Both the Hon. Premier and Minister for tourism were key panelist at the summit. The Premier sat with interviewer Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, former Minister of Tourism & Aviation of the Bahamas on a one on one interview entitled A conversation on The Turks and Caicos Islands. This discussion was extremely well received and allowed for the Premier to discuss factors attributing to the success of the Tourism industry in the islands and his vision for the sector.

Hon. Connolly joined a high caliber panel with three other industry experts on Saturday morning. Their discussion centered around Diversity in Tourism and the impact to the Destination. The Minister expanded on where Turks and Caicos’ industry was heading post pandemic, how it performed over the past months and insight into the future of Tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands including the setting up of a Regulatory Authority and a Destination Management Organization.

Among others participating from the Turks and Caicos Islands were students and a chaperone from the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College Hospitality Program. The students had the opportunity to network with other US and Caribbean students at the summit.

It is clear that the growth of the Tourism sector in the TCI and the fact that we continue to perform well despite the challenges of COVID 19, is of interest to many. Also of note is the vision articulated by the Premier as he noted; ‘it is imperative that we provide opportunities within the Tourism sector for the growth of investment and local ownership. Turks and Caicos Islanders must benefit directly from the growth of this sector’. The Premier noted that much of his efforts will be to promote investment and ownership by Turks and Caicos Islanders as much as possible.

The Hon. Minister of Tourism stated her pride in representing the country and sector at this summit; ‘This is the first opportunity I have had to present our island on a panel for some time. This year despite COVID 19, we saw arrival numbers that even exceeded pre-COVID 19 during the summer months. I can say that our protocols, our partnerships, our pre-screening program and our COVID 19 marketing strategy all contributed to this success.’



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