(PRESS RELEASE) — Climate change, development and security issues require commitment to improving sustainable policy actions. Resilient development is not just about survival and bouncing back, but about being able to thrive. This was the focus of the panel discussion on ‘The Big Question: What are the Actions Required for a Resilient and Secure Caribbean?’ with regional policy makers, practitioners and the youth during the regional consultation on ‘Climate and Security in the Caribbean: A Roadmap to Resilience’, which was held at the Renaissance Convention Centre in Aruba on December 13, 2018.
The discussions highlighted the importance of pursuing resilience-building to all stakeholders. Resilience is a part of daily life when facing climate change and it is critical to develop adaptive capacity. The youth also lent their voices to the discussions and emphasised the importance of engaging the youth who are capable of bringing new perspectives to addressing the climate change issue and building their capacity to play a greater role in the resilience agenda.
At the end of the consultation, stakeholders agreed on some key outcomes including strengthening regional coordination, improving capacity (including financial mechanisms) and enhancing knowledge on climate and security; advancing food and water security and renewable energy transition; and advocating for stronger political support.
In an insightful keynote address, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Climate and Security Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, United States Navy (Retired), shared on how climate change contributes to underlying security issues, including trans-regional criminal flows and other climate-related security challenges. However, he contends that there are opportunities for better security cooperation through an effective Caribbean pathway to resilience.
“Commitment is key, the best crisis roadmaps are only as good as the agencies and government that decide to act on it,” concluded Barrett.
Climate change and climate security is a non-discriminatory threat that needs to be given higher priority. The region is highly vulnerable to climate change related hazards with critical infrastructures and sectors are in danger. Action or inaction of today has consequences.
Ambassador Jules Bijl, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of the Netherlands emphasized the challenges we face as being substantial.
“The increase in extreme weather events like hurricanes and flooding as well as the rise in sea level poses a real threat to our existence. The threat to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is one of the reasons we are working hard to keep global warming at the initial target. Just focusing on preventing climate change is not enough; we also need to focus on the adaptive capacities of peoples and countries”.
Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA noted the peculiarities of the Caribbean region and how these have given rise to the specific challenges we currently face.
“Our future survival rests within our ability to pool our collective capacities to offer a more favourable common destiny. This consultation is a welcoming engagement for the Caribbean Community to both contribute to the global discourse on planetary security and at the same time continue our global advocacy on our efforts to garner action on the agenda of climate change and to support our regional resilience building agenda here in the Caribbean”.
The regional consultation brought together technical experts, practitioners and policymakers in the fields of climate change, disaster risk management and regional security to address climate change and the effect on human security within the Caribbean region.
The event was co-organised by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), The Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Aruba Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Clingendael Institute and the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI).