Regional foreign ministers are calling for developed nations to do more to cut their emissions and assist small islands and low-lying coastal developing States to build climate resilience.
The call was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade and Energy, Dominica, Dr Vince Henderson, during the opening session for the 11th United Kingdom (UK)-Caribbean forum at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St. Andrew on May 18.
“As we get closer to COP28 we must face the looming climate crisis with a sense of realism and a spirit of innovation to achieve our sustainable development goals and, ultimately, meet our target of keeping average global temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius. The window of opportunity closes with every passing day,” he said.
He noted that the cooperation and influence of developed countries like the UK are essential in this regard.
Dr Henderson said that the Caribbean region highly values its relationship with the UK, noting that the forum underlines the collective desire to enhance and deepen levels of partnership.
“We share a bond built on culture, history, trade and crucial contributions made by the people of the Caribbean to the development of the UK and acknowledge the value of the connections, as they serve as the basis for our strong relations,” he noted.
Dr Henderson said that opportunities for trade and investment are vital to the partnership.
“The Cariforum-UK economic partnership agreement ensures continuity of preferential trade between our respective parties. However, key to the success of this agreement will be the ability to take full advantage of the opportunities that it provides, which will include addressing the capacity constraints that we face,” he noted.
Dr Henderson said he is looking forward to the deliberations coming out of the forum as well as the targeted and strategic plans that will redound to the benefit of citizens of the region.
“We must engage our collective will and resources to ensure that engagements such as these are meaningful and productive,” he said.
This year’s UK-Caribbean forum is the first in-person staging in seven years.
It is being held under the co-chairmanship of Senator Kamina Johnson Smith and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK), the Rt. James Cleverly.