Climate change: Time running out on the Caribbean - EntornoInteligente /

In this space we never tire of stressing the importance of international action advocacy centred in the United Nations Climate Action Summit, with emphasis on the small island developing states, like Jamaica. The Caribbean and Pacific states are on the front line of the harmful effects of global warming and are the most vulnerable to climate change-related events such as in hurricanes which hit the region last year and most recently Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas.

Hurricanes and other natural disasters are occurring with increasing regularity and ferocity each year, which makes it imperative for the Caribbean to do more in crisis management while building resilience.

Caribbean political leaders and the technical teams play an important role in the establishment of targets in the Paris Accord. Our scientists have been integrally involved in leading the drafting chapters and sections in various international reports on climate change and sustainable development.

We are particularly proud of the contributions of two Jamaican scientists from The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona — Professor of Climate Science Michael Taylor and coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development; and Dr David Smith who is also coordinator of the University Consortium of Small Island States and Caribbean coordinator for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. They are members of the independent group of scientists who prepared the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Report of 2019.

Also noteworthy is the work of others such as Professor John Agard (Trinidad) and Professor Lenard Nurse (Barbados).

On Friday in New York City, the Centre for Leadership and Sustainable Development, a joint institution of State University of New York and The UWI, held a symposium on a Global Partnership for Climate Action, which coincided with the Global Climate Strike by youth all over the world.

At the symposium, a range of experts discussed the multi-dimensional aspects of climate change and sustainable development, generating a wide range of insights and several policy recommendations. For those who missed it live, it can be viewed on the website of UWITV.

We note keenly the recommendation that the Caribbean governments need to put much more money into research and teaching of the sciences directly related to climate change and sustainable development.

Caribbean scientists are recognised internationally world-class and it is time that regional governments enable them with adequate research and development funding, given our vulnerability to weather disasters, and reduce the heavy dependence on soliciting funds from foreign governments and international organisations.

Furthermore, there is a great deal that the world does not know about climate change and sustainable development, in particular about small island developing states. We do not have the luxury of time. We need to quickly and substantially increase the number of scientists working in this field.

Of course, the Caricomwide approach is best. However, if this is not happening fast enough or on a sufficient scale, the Government of Jamaica should increase funding for scientific research, especially since we have issues peculiar to Jamaica, such as the Cockpit Country.

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