The developed countries and emerging economies, which have produced the bulk of the world's climate-harming emissions, should urgently provide significant financial, technical and other resources to assist the Caribbean in adapting to climate change and building systems for the region to remain resilient in the face of increased adverse weather activity.
This is was the view expressed by the Prime Minister of Saint-Lucia Allen Chastanet during the third meeting of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Assembly, which was held on Saturday, at the Parliament Building in St. John's, Antigua. Chastanet, who also serves as the Chairman of the OECS, said that the Caribbean has contributed the least to the global issue of climate change but has been largely left to find its own way of dealing with effects of the issue.
Speaking to the assembly, which includes the Prime Ministers and Opposition leaders from the OECS' ten member countries, Chastanet recalled the trials Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda have faced in gaining access to aid and other types of funding. He said "We have been on the road for three months, we decided to go to the United Nations collectively and to speak with one single voice and to speak passionately that what we needed to do was to not only have our voices heard but listened to. We were not willing to accept the general idea of a pat on the back and sympathies, and then the conversations moved on."
He continued: "When we went to meetings in New York, and we had the opportunity to meet with the British, the French and the Dutch and also the United States that we made a very strong point that started the process rolling. We were able to clarify and identify four critical areas that we felt we had to achieve ... we knew that the sympathy of the world would not last much longer than a news cycle because we knew once the next event came, more than likely our opportunity to get our voices heard and to deliver anything for our citizens would have been lost."
Chastanet further noted that while countries have received some aid debt would be used to fund a significant part of the recovery effort in countries like Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda and this didn´t bode well for the long-term socio-economic future of these countries.