CHARLEVOIX, Quebec – Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said at the G7 summit here on the weekend that Jamaica has supported climate change adaptation and is about to take steps ” to limit and control plastics and other non bio-degradable materials and consumer waste which threaten our coastline and oceans.
“However, we need partnership and cooperation.”
” Even as we take responsibility, and while initiatives have begun to yield some measurable benefits, we need cooperation and partnerships with countries like the G7, to address some of our challenges,”
(The G7 nations are the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.)
Speaking at the outreach session of the summit, Holness noted that with high public debt and the lack of fiscal space to invest in climate change adaptation measures, and developing resilient public infrastructure, Small Island States (SIDS) “can ill-afford to borrow funds for disaster recovery, and investment in resilience building.
” Secondly, the classification of many SIDS as Upper Middle Income states (according to their Gross National Income) severely impacts their eligibility for access to certain sources of funding primarily in the reconstruction and recovery phase of the disaster management cycle.
“We continue to emphasize the need to review financing policies, so that true investments can be made.”
He also noted that there is ” insufficient capacity among SIDS to access global funding windows, such as the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund.
” Ultimately our answers could lie in partnerships with countries like the G7, through trade and investment and technology transfers, as well as creative solutions to debt and risk, which support economic growth. It is ultimately sustainable growth which will empower us to ensure prosperity for our people, while taking care of our oceans and seas and land environment.”
The Jamaican prime minister said ” there are no forces with greater capacity to transform the lives of millions, from poverty to prosperity, than the forces of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
“Yet, Jamaica and the Caribbean have struggled with low levels of economic growth and high debt, made worse by the ravaging effects of climate change on our islands which are situated in the midst of great bodies of water.”
“Our challenges with growth and high debt, have constrained our ability to effectively and sustainably exploit the vast resources and potential that exist in our surrounding oceans and seas. We also have not been able to effectively respond to the threats emanating from our oceans and seas, such as rising sea levels, and the stronger hurricanes carried over ever warming waters.
” The ironic and circular reality is that our inability to effectively and sustainably exploit the resources of our oceans and land environment is negatively impacting our growth prospects. We need a virtuous nexxus between our economies and our environment.’
Holness said that SIDS like the countries of the Caribbean, need to be empowered to take charge of their development and prosperity, through economic growth rather than debt, while being good stewards of our environment.” This will undoubtedly require enlightened thinking and partnerships, as already recognized by each and every country which has signed on to Agenda 2030.
( Agenda 2030 is a plan of action that will require the collaboration of all countries acting in partnership to take bold and transformative steps needed to place the world on a more sustainable path. )
After his presentation at the G7 Summit, Holness was invited by Argentine President Mauricio Macri to attend the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires in December.
He was also invited by Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, to attend the Special Oceans Summit in Oslo next year.
According to a news release from the office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Holness is seeking to increase technical assistance for the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) with Norway. The Government of Norway has given assistance to CMU at its inception.
Both Holness and Solberg also explored collaboration on research on fisheries and ocean resources, the release said.