Welcome remarks by Dr The Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada at the Opening Ceremony of the GCF Structured Dialogue with the Caribbean, on 6 November 2018.
Sisters and brothers, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean.
It is also an honour for me to welcome you to the Second Green Climate Fund (GCF) Structured Dialogue which seeks to catalyse greater regional cooperation to address the challenges of climate change in the Caribbean.
We are indeed grateful to the GCF Secretariat for accepting our invitation to host the 2018 dialogue here in our beautiful country. This dialogue provides an opportunity to reflect on progress made to date; to focus on the lessons learned towards strengthening and streamlining implementation; to further explore investment opportunities including those with the private sector; to foster sustainable country ownership and programming, and to build effective partnerships.
Sisters and brothers, exactly one month ago, on 6 October, the global community agreed the Summary for Policy Makers and the underlying chapters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.
Rightly and appropriately, the report focussed on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It also considered the related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
Indeed, sisters and brothers, these are the key considerations for framing Caribbean low carbon and resilient regional development programming.
The IPCC report presented convincing and indisputable scientific evidence, with high confidence levels, on the impact of human-induced activities that contribute to global warming. It also addressed the potential impact it will have on human survival if we continue on the current trajectory. The important takeaway is that it cannot be business as usual.
The report presented a global call to action to put ‘Planet Earth and People First’. Sisters and brothers, future generations will applaud us for the actions we ought to take NOW to preserve the planet. The threat of climate change is real, it is here and we have a short window to avert catastrophic disasters of unimaginable proportions.
Sisters and brothers, the scientific evidence presented is overwhelming. The robustness and high confidence levels of the findings give testimony to our continued resolve to call for urgent and ambitious actions to reverse the scourge of climate change.
We have experienced the devastating impacts, time and time again. We are currently experiencing and witnessing these impacts throughout the entire Caribbean region. There is no escaping the fact that we will continue to do so in the future; the science is clear on this. We must act now and we must act decisively.
In this regard, while we were concerned by the recent developments within the GCF that could delay our work and reduce our ambition for action; we welcome the resolution of the issues that threatened to paralyse the institution. We use the occasion of this gathering to reiterate our commitment to champion the full replenishment of the GCF. The need for support from the donor countries in this process cannot be over-emphasised. Grenada and its Caribbean sisters and brothers will stand shoulder to shoulder with the GCF, in advocating the need for donor support.
As a region, we fully support the thrust to ensure that adequate, predictable and grant-based climate change financing is directly accessible to the most vulnerable, Small Island Developing States (SIDS). We are convinced that SIDS need significant investments in low carbon development programming to build climate resilient economies.
Here again, I champion the call to look beyond the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our countries, as the yardstick to determine eligibility for concessionary climate financing. The special circumstances and unique vulnerabilities of SIDS do not evaporate with graduation through per capita income classification schemes.
Indeed, these unique vulnerabilities are exacerbated by unilateral actions taken on the premise of curbing terrorist financing, tax evasion and money laundering. As currently applied by others, blacklisting and de-risking pose additional challenges. We therefore welcome the approach taken here to include the private sector and to forge genuine partnerships as per the SAMOA Pathway.
We applaud the bold efforts underway by the GCF to focus on its primary mandate and to ensure that the most vulnerable are appropriately equipped with the resources to transition to climate resilient economies.
We are bolstered by the IPCC report which confirms that there are indeed pathways which are technically and financially feasible to ensure that average global temperature increases do not exceed the 1.5°C threshold.
It also speaks to the existence of transformational adaptation and mitigation measures that can reduce the risks and hazards associated with climate change. The risks to our health, our livelihoods, our food, water and energy security, our human security, our fisheries, coastal zones and our oceans, our agriculture, our biodiversity, our very existence on this planet.
The messages from this latest report must be a central focus at the next global climate conference to be held in Poland. As in the recent past, Caribbean leadership will hold steadfast to ensure that the outcome of those deliberations are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, taking into full consideration the latest incontestable science in the IPCC Special report.
As a region we have to work together to address these common risks and it is my hope that this week’s dialogue with the GCF will put us on a path towards transformative adaptation and mitigation actions.
We welcome the support provided to the region by the Green Climate Fund. This week’s structured dialogue helps set the tone for the partnership being created and we must seize the opportunities provided.
The workshop will provide an opportunity to strengthen this engagement and provide the framework for ensuring that investments to reduce vulnerability to climate change risks and impacts and to reduce emissions are tailored to our unique circumstances and needs.
Grenada will continue to be a champion for the sustainable development for the region in the international arena. We are honoured by the region’s confidence in allowing us to be lead advocates at Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the World Bank Small States Forum; Caricom; the Caribbean Development Bank; the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator and most recently as President of SIDS DOCK and co-convener and Commissioner of the Global Commission on Adaptation.
In closing, I would like to thank the GCF for the support provided to Grenada and the Caribbean region to identify, develop, and implement transformative adaptation and low emission investments.
It is our responsibility to meet the challenges posed by climate change. As leaders, we must reaffirm our commitment to the survival of our planet and our people.