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UNITED NATIONS—Trinidad and Tobago has joined other Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states in calling for a multi-dimensional approach for development assistance.
Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dennis Moses told the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate on Saturday that this approach takes into consideration “real national needs and priorities, and takes into account these extraordinary circumstances, to provide access to development assistance, aid and debt relief.”
From shifting weather patterns, to global warming, to sea level rise, Moses said the impacts of climate change are “global in scope and unprecedented in scale.
“In our region, we have witnessed the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria, which have undoubtedly changed forever lives in several of our Caribbean countries, leaving some islands almost uninhabitable and resulting in many untimely deaths,” he said.
“The recent earthquake in Mexico ought to be counted within the realm of the recent global disasters.”
Noting that while T&T, which is in the southernmost part of Caribbean, was spared from the ravages of these hurricanes, Moses said “it is with empathy that I extend, on behalf of the Government and people of T&T, heartfelt condolences to our Caribbean family.
“We are forever mindful that, given our spirit of resilience, we will rebuild that which was lost,” he said. “T&T stands in solidarity and shall continue to assist with the relief efforts.”
But the Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister said rebuilding will require resources, as well as the cooperation and collaboration of the international community, “because we simply cannot do it alone.”
“The Government of T&T joins with other Caricom governments, in expressing our gratitude for the tremendous generosity and support provided in the face of the region’s most urgent need,” he said.
“Our thanks and appreciation also go out to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the region’s first responder.”
But Moses said CDEMA will need additional resources and funding to enable the organisation to do even more to facilitate its immediate responses to natural disaster.
“In the face of the recent natural catastrophes, how can one deny the scientific findings that climate change is real, that it is here, and it is upon us?” Moses asked.
“The events of the last months in the Caribbean once more remind us all that Small Island Developing States remain at the forefront of the impact of climate change.”
“We cannot, by any means, continue with the same approach as nature’s fury holds no prejudice,” he said. “Yet, in light of their categorisation as High Income Countries, on the outdated formulae of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] per capita, Caribbean countries, in their time of need, will not qualify for aid and development assistance.” (CMC)
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