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CARICOM celebrates World Environment Day

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is joining the global community in celebrating World Environment Day under the theme It’s Time for Nature.

The CARICOM Secretariat’s is marking the occasion with the second in a series of five Webinars entitled: The way forward for the Caribbean in Shaping the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, on Tuesday 9 June 2020.

Targeting the region’s environmental negotiators, policy advisors, decision makers and other stakeholder groups, the discussion next week is coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda as the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) Members of the Conference of Parties (COP) Bureau of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

The five-part series is also supported by the wider Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-MEAS Project). That project is being funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme of which the CARICOM Secretariat is the Caribbean Hub.

The June 9th event will also coincide with World Ocean’s Day, as the Region prepares its biodiversity focal points for the 15th Meeting of Conference of Parties for the Framework Convention on Biodiversity, later this year. 

This year’s observance of World Environment Day on June 5th and World Ocean’s Day on June 9th are amid the COVID-19 health pandemic that threatens to cause delays in efforts to advance environmental management and governance.

However, the Caribbean Community has taken decisive steps to keep the focus on its relationship with nature. Dr Douglas Slater, the CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, in his remarks at the recent inaugural Webinar on shaping the Caribbean’s biodiversity agenda, said despite all our economic and technological advances, we will always remain dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy.

At that forum he had urged stakeholders including biodiversity focal points, negotiators, technical officers and policy advisers to work together in building a future in harmony with nature.

According to Ms Teshia Jn Baptiste, Project Coordinator, for the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Phase III Project Biodiversity, nature-based solutions are critical for addressing climate change. 

“We don’t have much time. The window for applying climate change action and nature-based solutions is quickly closing.  In order to mitigate against impacts on critical social and economic infrastructure, on nature and on people we must focus on taking action to impel transformational change.  These actions must be underpinned by the science on biodiversity and climate change, in order to build our region’s resilience,” Ms Baptiste said in a comment as the Community observes World Environment Day.

It is anticipate that the five-part webinar series will promote the urgency of action at the highest levels, in support of a post-2020 biodiversity framework. The CARICOM Secretariat also hopes that the discussions will contribute to re-shaping of the Region’s vision for addressing biodiversity loss, building on lessons learned in the past.

As the webinars progress, the CARICOM Secretariat anticipates cross-sectoral exchanges among the Convention on Biological Diversity negotiators and other important sectors at the national level.

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