Thursday 23 November, 2017

Caribbean 'vulnerable' to climate change

The effects of climate change on the Caribbean was high on the agenda as the Region’s Agriculture Ministers met at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on Friday.

Speaking at the opening of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), Chairman Soeresh Algoe, Agriculture Minister of Suriname, Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana, and Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, CARICOM Secretary-General, discussed the responses necessary to confront climate change.

The region was recently devastated by the impact of two category five hurricanes.

Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten, and St. Barts; and significantly damaged The Bahamas and Haiti, and affected St. Kitts and Nevis.

Hurricane Maria left massive destruction in Dominica, and left the agriculture sectors in Barbuda and Dominica decimated.

COTED Chairman Algoe noted that the ferocity and frequency of storms are as a result of warmer air and sea temperatures that are altering the climate.

He took the opportunity to express his deepest sympathy to the affected nations and called on the Region to unite and assist "with any means and where possible".

"The climate is changing drastically and we, as CARICOM Member States, are most vulnerable. In the same sense, climate change has also detrimental and adverse effects on the agriculture sector of our respective economies", he said.

Minister Algoe acknowledged the role of COTED in providing the opportunity for dialogue, particularly on the challenges affecting the agriculture sector.

"It has... been recognised as a facility to place agriculture and rural life in a prominent position, with which we can better acknowledge the strategic importance of the sector to economic, social and environmental stability," he said.