Caribbean organisations rally for Biden administration’s support and engagement with climate change

The call for increased support to safeguard vulnerable states, particularly in the Caribbean region, has grown both louder and more persistent.

Over 50 Caribbean organizations have written to President Biden and Treasury Secretary Yellen urging the them to support the region facing debt and climate crises.

The groups, led by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), are asking for a significant allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), debt relief, an end to IMF surcharges, and funding for climate-related losses and damages to help the region during a period of economic vulnerability and increasing climate disasters.

“The Caribbean is one of the most indebted regions in the world,” the group said in a collective letter reported by the Dominica News Online. “Total debt has risen to 74% of the region’s GDP, with debt in countries including Barbados, Suriname, Belize and Jamaica surpassing 100% of GDP. Latin America and the Caribbean collectively spend almost 10 times more on debt payments than on healthcare, and 30 times more than on climate adaptation.”

The letter also underscored the severe impact of the simultaneous challenges of rising debt burdens and climate change in our region. It emphasizes that as essential resources are diverted to manage increasing debts, there is limited capacity left to adequately prepare our nations for the ongoing and relentless threat posed by climate catastrophes.

Moreover, Caribbean nations have consistently emphasized the importance of establishing a fund to address loss and damage. Despite verbal support from the US for this fund, it currently lacks adequate funding. This situation could potentially be transformed through active US leadership and financial contributions.

Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit, current chairman of CARICOM, has initially appealed to Sultan Al Jaber, COP28’s president-designate and put out a list of requests that highlighted the Loss and Damage Fund.

Dominica is one of the vulnerable nations in the Caribbean that is already taking action on the effects of climate change. Aiming to become the world’s first climate-resilient nation, Dominica has begun rolling out its massive climate-resilient infrastructure projects in the residential, healthcare, and educational sectors.

MMC Development Ltd. is one of the leading developing companies that has been working closely with the government for several years now to fulfill its promise of a better and safer Dominica to its citizens.

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