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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 15 2015 – The Caribbean region is experiencing the impact of the ravaging effects of climate change. Sea level rise, frequent and intense natural hazards; extended dry seasons resulting in water scarcity, loss of livelihoods and the disappearance of some of our islands are among the present-day dangers that we face.
The tourism sector and the environment are inextricably linked and environmentally responsible tourism is paramount to the sector’s sustainability and overall success. Tourism must be stewarded and balanced so that the benefits for the environment, the communities it serves, its employees and the economy outweigh the costs. Our commitment to the climate cause is one way to do this.
The Conference of Parties 21 *(COP21) came to a close at the end of last week and the Caribbean’s position was clear. Caribbean governments and regional agencies joined in one voice to shout their message of ‘1.5 to stay alive’ which urged global partners to support a call to limit warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius – a critical call on which our survival depends! The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) also endorsed this call!
Many are touting COP21 a success. The outcome, called the Paris Agreement, has been adopted by 195 nations, and for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities. This is a huge achievement for the Caribbean.
The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
This new agreement offers hope. As many of CTO’s members are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), we remain optimistic that the tremendous strides made in Paris will help to ensure that this issue continues to occupy a prominent position on the global agenda. Let us all do our part to support the outcomes in Paris in any way we can.