Dennis Moses, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, told the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate on Saturday that this approach takes into consideration “real national needs and priorities, and takes into account these extraordinary circumstances, to provide access to development assistance, aid and debt relief.”
From shifting weather patterns, to global warming, to sea level rise, Moses said the impacts of climate change are “global in scope and unprecedented in scale.
“In our region, we have witnessed the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, which have undoubtedly changed forever lives in several of our Caribbean countries, leaving some islands almost uninhabitable and resulting in many untimely deaths,” he said. “The recent earthquake in Mexico ought to be counted within the realm of the recent global disasters.”
Noting that while Trinidad and Tobago, which is in the southernmost part of Caribbean, was spared from the ravages of these hurricanes, Moses said “it is with empathy that I extend, on behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, heartfelt condolences to our Caribbean family.
“We are forever mindful that, given our spirit of resilience, we will rebuild that which was lost,” he said. “Trinidad and Tobago stands in solidarity and shall continue to assist with the relief efforts.”
But the Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Minister said rebuilding will require resources, as well as the cooperation and collaboration of the international community, “because we simply cannot do it alone.”
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, joins with other CARICOM Governments, in expressing our gratitude for the tremendous generosity and support provided in the face of the region’s most urgent need,” he said. “Our thanks and appreciation also go out to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the region’s first responder.”
But Moses said CDEMA will need additional resources and funding to enable the organization to do even more to facilitate its immediate responses to natural disaster.
“In the face of the recent natural catastrophes, how can one deny the scientific findings that climate change is real, that it is here, and it is upon us?” Moses asked. “The events of the last months in the Caribbean once more remind us all that Small Island Developing States remain at the forefront of the impact of climate change.
“We cannot, by any means, continue with the same approach as nature’s fury holds no prejudice,” he said. “Yet, in light of their categorization as High Income Countries, on the outdated formulae of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] per capita, Caribbean countries, in their time of need, will not qualify for aid and development assistance.”
“In order to achieve human and global sustainable development, we must treat with unmitigated climate change and global temperature rise as a priority issue,” he added, stating that Trinidad and Tobago is doing its part and remains committed to achieving the overarching objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.
Through its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC], Moses said Trinidad and Tobago has indicated its intention to reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions in its public transportation sector by 30 percent by December 31, 2030, compared to 2013 levels.
He said Trinidad and Tobago has, therefore, framed its national development plan for the period 2016 to 2030, titled “Vision 2030” with its thematic focus, “Many hearts. Many Voices, One Vision” in keeping with the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
In this context, Moses said Trinidad and Tobago has mapped its national development goals in accordance with global priorities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said Trinidad and Tobago and the United Nations signed the Multi-Country Strategic Development Framework (MSDF) in April 2017.
The twin-island republic is also “pleased” that the recently completed Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) has initiated a recalibration of the United Nations Development System [UNDS), Moses said.
He said this would better support developing countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in the implementation of the programs of action, including the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda.
- Countries: Trinidad_Tobago