The New Today

Commentary

Good governance and climate change

The Caribbean is responsible for less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the G20 (the industrialised world) nations are responsible for approximately 80 percent. Intergovernmental Panel for Climate change report 2021, (IPCC).

These greenhouse gas emissions contribute majorly to climate change on the planet and the effects are being felt already by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) both in the Caribbean and worldwide in that we are experiencing, droughts, coastal erosions, floods, salt water infiltration, the list is endless.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley spoke for the entire Caribbean at COP 26 when she said,” “Our people are watching, and our people are taking note. And are we really going to leave Scotland without the resolve and the ambition that is sorely needed to save lives and to save our planet?”

She also went on to say that because of the pandemic, it has become apparent that national solutions to global problems do not work. Inclusion and moving forward together was of the essence in PM Mottley’s message if we are to reach a just solution to the problem and this means that good governance and transparency have to be prioritised both nationally and globally.

Finance for mitigation was also a major issue at the conference, to honour the pledges made in Copenhagen in 2008 and Paris in 2015 to enable vulnerable nations to become more resilient in the face of climate change.

The region certainly needs support to assist vulnerable communities and groups in building resilience and at conference a need for dedicated finance to address Loss and Damage was placed firmly on the agenda, this would be in addition to financing for adaptation.

Again, good governance and transparency have to be key to ensure that funding has a tangible impact on people’s lives at a local level which means that non-State actors must be directly involved in all aspects of implementation.

Organisations such as the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) have led the way with their participatory approach, one which needs to be emulated across the board.

We also have to ask ourselves how much we, or any Nation contributes to its own vulnerabilities? Are we taking care of our own business? Are we certain that our vulnerabilities only come from the climate change caused by global emissions?

FOE-Grenada, along with other NGO’s in Grenada, have been campaigning for longer than can be remembered, for a Land Use Policy, one which would protect our agricultural lands, watersheds, and mangroves.

Related:  COP 26 – What’s in it for the Planet or Grenada?

In the last decade, many person hours and a great deal of money were spent, creating a Coastal Zone Management and Land Use Policies. Despite researching, it seems both have not really seen the light of day.

FOE-Grenada inquired again, earlier this year in relation to the Land Use Policy which was drafted in 2017/18, we were told it is with Legal Affairs. Inquiries have been made regarding the status of the legislation but no response has been received as yet.

Good governance would ensure that when laws and policies are created a pathway for implementation would then be created, however, in Grenada this does not seem to happen. There is a law on the statute book of Grenada dating from the last decade of the last century which declared that it was an offence to remove any kind of natural material from beaches in Grenada, be it sand, stone or mangrove, but it is abundantly clear that it has not been implemented.

Telescope beach was featured in a recent British TV (Sky) interview with Senator Simon Stiell where residents were lamenting the encroachment of the sea and how they were having to move their houses.

Telescope beach was sand mined by CCC for years and permitted to do so by successive administrations, this has contributed to the loss of Telescope beach along with several others, namely Galby beach in St David; Mt Craven and Copeland beaches in St Patrick and Pearls, Simon and Conference beaches in St Andrew.

The latter was defended by local residents led by Krumah Nelson and his colleague Michael “Senator” Mitchell, calling themselves ‘Citizens for the Protection of the Northern coastline’. They challenged the authorities citing that too much damage was being perpetrated on Conference beach and finally were supported by the local Minister in their struggle.

In our fight for climate justice and in our claims for climate finance, we must demonstrate our own commitments and accept our own responsibilities for the impacts that we now need to cope with, very much in keeping with the actions of the aforementioned group.

Our message should not all be outward looking: we must also look at ourselves, and bring the fight for climate justice in our own legislation, policies, behaviours, attitudes and actions. This would need good leadership and good governance, for and on behalf of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

The above reflects the view of Friends of the Earth-Grenada