Earlier we told you of the reforms that the Secretary General for CARICOM spoke of as it relates to the Caribbean Community. Aside from that being a crucial undertaking that began in 2015, Irwin LaRocque also spoke of the COP21 Conference on Climate Change that took part in Paris, France in the latter of 2015.
IRWIN LAROCQUE: “Two things come to mind most readily, I mentioned reform that we are working which is going to set the pace for the next three to four year. I have established in the secretariat office, I have a person who is an expert from the region who is advising on going about changing management, it’s not a simple thing. What comes to mind more readily is what happened in Paris COP 21, the climate change negotiations of which I was there for the negotiations and I have to say that I felt extremely proud to see how our member states rallied together and negotiated as a single block of 14 voices which carried more weight than fourteen in the sense of the level of preparedness. We have been preparing with the assistance of the climate change center for more than three or four years for this event. The heads of government set up a committee, a technical task force which was headed by the Minister of the environment from St. Lucia to coordinate the efforts, I’m working very closely with the secretariat and with the climate change center.”
A meeting is being planned which will take place in February in Belize to further discuss how CARICOM countries will benefit from the COP21 agreement.
IRWIN LAROCQUE: “Having arrived in Paris and arrived at the end of two weeks I think we did very well. When you consider that there was a negotiations of about 194 countries where everybody is looking for a piece of what they want and I think we came out with some very critical issues, the issues of recognizing that 1.5 degrees Celsius is a long term goal for us to arrive at because climate change is here, it’s not coming. We know that it’s here in the Caribbean, that is a critical issue here for u, financing, recognition of small and developing states of which Belize, Suriname and Guyana are I think that is a major highlight and what we are looking forward to and my discussion yesterday with Dr.Leslie is that we planning a meeting right here in Belize next month to take stock of what has transpired and to plan on how we are going to derive the benefits from this agreement. There is an agreement but you have to derive benefits from it, you have to ready yourself, there are a lot of resources out there and you have to be able to tap into the resources for various aspects of your development as it relates to climate change and that is what we are going to be focusing on and working with Dr.Leslie and others in the coming weeks.”
The COP21 Conference which was held from November 30 to December 12 was held as part of annual event with the objective to achieve, for the very first time, a binding and universal accord on climate change from all nations around the globe. The accord or agreement was accepted at the conference but will only become legally binding if joined by at least fifty five other countries. The representatives from those countries will be given an opportunity to sign onto the agreement in New York, USA between April 22, 2016 and April 21, 2017.