Eastern Caribbean defines roadmap for balanced sustainable development

Anguilla, Jul 28 (EFE).- The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said during its tenth annual meeting of the Council of Ministers on Environmental Sustainability (COM:ES) that tension in the region had been “exacerbated” in recent years “by multiple layers of crises” at the global level.

Meeting at the Aurora Resort in Anguilla, Caribbean representatives, along with observers from various development partners, discussed and approved regional priorities for environmental sustainability through to the end of the decade.

Ministers agreed to play a more proactive and intentional role in establishing and driving the agenda, defined in six thematic areas, such as climate and disaster resilience (including adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance) and ocean governance and fisheries (with a focus on marine spatial planning, including maritime boundary delimitation).

Priorities were also set for biodiversity and ecosystems (assessment, valuation and development, and restoration, as well as invasive alien species such as sargassum), and for land and water (integrated water resources management and sustainable agriculture policies).

To complete the agenda, chemicals, pollution, and waste (with an emphasis on the circular economy and marine pollution, including plastics), and sustainable energy (access, just transitions, and linkages to other areas of development) were also identified.

The COM:ES 10 meeting also promoted the platform of regional and international actors in support of the regional agenda, which on this occasion was coordinated by the Euroclima mechanism, a European Union program to strengthen the continued partnership between the European Union and the Caribbean.

In a collaborative approach, partners will contribute to accelerating the environmental information ecosystem, facilitating a whole-of-society approach, unlocking and leveraging available resources, and scaling best and proven practices.

In doing so, OECS Director General Didacus Jules reflected that there is currently a paradox among small island developing states (SIDS) in the Eastern Caribbean, with vulnerabilities as an “immovable object” on the one hand, and opportunities as an “irresistible force” to keep moving forward on the other.

Jules thanked the organization’s outgoing chair, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Tourism and Sustainability, Carlos James, and urged his successor, Anguilla’s Minister of Environment, Quincia Gumbs-Marie, to activate “the full capacity” of the region.

Gumbs-Marie, for her part, said they are “firmly convinced” xthat the peoples of the OECS member states have the right to “a healthy, resilient and productive life in harmony with nature.”

At the meeting, multiple frameworks and initiatives, such as a needs-based climate finance strategy and a complementary carbon partnership, were also discussed and adopted.

The OECS Commission organized an exhibition on environmental sustainability, in collaboration with the Government of Anguilla, and partners such as GIZ, CCRIF-SPC and PIRAC – Croix-Rouge Française.

The exhibition was open to the public and students, who were able to interact with delegates and partners to share ideas on development across the region. EFE



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