ECLAC side event at COP21 to advocate Caribbean debt relief

ECLAC side event at COP21 to advocate Caribbean debt relief

The possibilities for integrating the twin imperatives of pursuing climate resilience and debt reduction with a proposal for debt for climate adaptation swaps, will be considered at a side event to be held during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21).

Hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the event, which takes place on Tuesday 8 December 2015, is expected to attract wide participation from Caribbean and other representatives at the meeting, as well as regional and international organizations including the Inter-American Development Bank and CARICOM.  

COP21 offers an important opportunity for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to press for fundamental breakthroughs in the agreed global response to climate change that will emerge at this crucial Summit.

For Caribbean SIDS in particular, COP 21 represents the culmination of an important process of advocacy over the past year that began with the adoption of the SAMOA Pathway on SIDS, which called on the global community to increase its support through partnership with SIDS to build their resilience to the economic and environmental shocks they face, including the impact of climate change.

The Paris meeting provides a critical opportunity to turn the spotlight on the integrated development issues that define the economic, social and environmental vulnerability of Caribbean SIDS. The region is currently shouldering a serious debt burden, the proportions of which threaten to erode the development progress the countries have worked hard to achieve.  

An ECLAC assessment of the debt profile of the Caribbean subregion determined that for some countries considerable efforts at adjustment have been insufficient to reduce the stubborn debt burden. There is no respite for these countries which, despite their vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events, are categorized as middle income, and considered capable of fending for themselves.

The ECLAC proposal for debt relief is intended at once to help free-up fiscal space while responding directly to the need for Caribbean SIDS to build their resilience and strengthen measures for adaptation to climate change. The proposal will form the basis for the discussion during the side event, being held in the Wider Caribbean Pavilion (Blue Zone) from 1.30 – 3.30 pm.

COP 21 is presently underway in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, attended by representatives of more than 150 countries.

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