But as chair of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, Gonsalves will be playing a lead role in getting the region to coordinate a united front on climate finance. “We agreed on the establishment of a task force on climate change and small island developing states to provide guidance to Caribbean climate change negotiators, their ministers and political leaders in order to ensure the strategic positioning of the region in the negotiations,” he told IPS following the CARICOM summit that ended here on Tuesday.
Gonsalves said the region is now preparing for two important meetings in September – the U.N. Climate Change Summit and the Third U.N. SIDS International Meeting in Samoa.
Guyanese President Donald Ramotar, who made a presentation at CARICOM’s closed-door summit, told IPS that it was important for the leaders themselves to get involved in the negotiations “and to make our voices heard on this matter, because as you know we have been the least contributors to climate change, but we are among the first to feel the big effects.”
...The task force must now “find areas where CARICOM can agree on”, he said. “This is a critical decision by heads [of state] at a time when efforts are underway through the U.N. to have a global climate change agreement by the end of 2015,” he said...