#TurksandCaicos, November 5, 2021 – The Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries, Maritime Affairs, Culture & Heritage, Agriculture, Religious Affairs and Gaming, represented by the Hon. Minister Josephine Connolly and Director Lormeka Williams, from the Department of Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR), are currently attending the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
The summit has brought parties together, including the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) Association Delegation, to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. While in Glasgow, the Hon. Minister has had access to the ‘Blue Zone’, the UN-managed space that hosts the negotiations and brings together delegations from 197 countries. The Zone was the venue for the World Leaders’ Summit on November 1st & 2nd. On November 6th the Overseas Territory delegation (which includes the Turks & Caicos Islands) will host an event for Nature and Land Use Day. The event will explore how the UKOTs are taking action to counter and mitigate the effects of global warming and how they are safeguarding precious marine environments.
Honourable Minister Connolly engaged at the highest level, with her Caribbean counterparts, on topics which include reopening strategies and tourism-related impacts and the way forward as it pertains to COVID-19, as well as issues of sustainable financing for climate change resilience for island-states.
“For the future, we must shift to sustainable development and mainstreamed resilience practices, and arm ourselves with the data, expertise, and modelling required to understand how Climate Change will impact our society and environment. We need improved comprehension of increased impacts of flooding, intense heat, drought, and storms, and regional realities like Climate Change-induced migration. To mainstream Climate Change resilience, we need expertise, and capital and recurrent funding, while at the same time not sacrificing other vital conservation projects and programmes. “, said Hon. Minister Connolly.
At COP26 countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets (NDCs) that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. This is particularly pertinent to the Caribbean region as island-states, including the Turks & Caicos Islands, find themselves on the frontline of the impacts of climate change. Coral reefs, vital to our economy, are less resilient to disease and our reefs are more susceptible to bleaching impacting the overall biodiversity of our marine ecosystems. We are most vulnerable to the increase in sea levels and are starting to see the impacts on our communities as land stability is threatened on a daily basis. Each year we face more intense storms, with hurricane season arriving earlier and ending much later.
Header: L-R; Hon. Josephine Connolly – Min of Tourism Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Vincent Wheatley – Min of Minister for Natural Resources, British Virgin Islands, Hon. Walter Roban – Deputy Premier Bermuda, Baroness Patricia Scotland Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Quincia Gumbs-Marie, Natural Resources Anguilla.
1st insert: L-R; HE Najib Balala – Min of Tourism & Wildlife Kenya, Hon. Edmund Bartlett – Min of Tourism Jamaica, Hon. Josephine Connolly – Min of Tourism Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Vincent Wheatley – Min of Minister for Natural Resources, British Virgin Islands.
2nd insert: Minister of Tourism Hon. Josephine Connolly attends 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference #COP26 #TogetherForOurPlanet . Seen with Hon. Vincent Wheatley Minister of Natural Resources of BVI and parliamentary secretary Ms. Quincia Gumbs-Marie of Anguilla
The conference is the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the third meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement. It is being held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, between 31 October and 12 November 2021, under the presidency of Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma.
CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).
In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”
The priorities stated under the agenda are:
- Curbing emissions to limit global temperature
increase to 1.5 ̊C
- Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and
loss and damage
- Improving access to and delivery of climate finance
for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach
- Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience
- Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,
sustainable and resilient development
- Promoting gender equity and social inclusion
approaches to climate action
- Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as
core to the climate response
- Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered
approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice
The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Support for Flood-Affected Farmers
#Kingston, November 26, 2023 – A total of $157 million is to be provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, to support farmers affected by the recent heavy rains from Potential Tropical Cyclone 22.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Floyd Green, made the announcement during a National ‘Eat Jamaican Day’ ceremony in Portland on Friday (November 24).
The Minister lamented that the country had moved from a period of harsh drought to the next extreme – flooding.
“A number of our farmers suffered tremendous loss and the team from RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) has been out since last week Saturday, trying to quantify what has been the losses that have been suffered by our farmers,” he said.
According to the Minister, preliminary figures reveal that $274 million in damage was done to the agricultural sector, with livestock farmers suffering about $25 million in losses; equipment loss of over $10 million; $173 million in crop loss; and $64 million in damage to the farm road network.
“The good news is that we are not going to leave our farmers alone and we know, as they said to the Prime Minister when he toured last week, that once they get some support, they are willing to go back out and farm,” Mr. Green indicated.
The $157 million support package from the Ministry will be used in several ways. A total of $70 million is to be provided for crop support – inputs, seeds, and fertilizers – and another $8 million for equipment support.
A total of $15 million will be expended for support to livestock and $64 million will be used to rehabilitate farm roads.
Minister Green also announced that resulting from a gift from the Kingdom of Morocco, 24,000 bags of fertilizers will be distributed among farmers over the next two weeks.
The Minister informed that the parish that was most affected by the recent weather event was St. Thomas and that, “almost every farming community in St. Thomas suffered from flood damage.”
Farming communities in St Andrew were also cut off because of landslides.
Contact: Mickella Anderson-Gordon
Photo Caption: Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green.
Photo by Mark Bell
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