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Caribbean Updates: Landmark Loss and Damage deal at COP27 (November 21, 2022)

Countries reached a landmark deal that established a funding mechanism to compensate vulnerable nations for ‘loss and damage’ from climate-induced disasters at the latest UN Climate Change Conference, COP27. The negotiations stretched overtime, and ended yesterday morning with the decision on payments for loss and damage caused by global warming.

“This outcome moves us forward,” said Simon Stiell, the Grenada-born UN Climate Change Executive Secretary. (Loop News)

Negotiators agreed on a loss and damage facility – with a commitment to set up a financial support structure for the most vulnerable by next year’s COP – as well as the post-2025 finance goal, and the so-called mitigation work program, that would reduce emissions faster, catalyze impactful action, and secure assurances from key countries that they will take immediate action to raise ambition and keep us on the path towards 1.5°C, reports the United Nations.

The issue is one of the most contentious in climate negotiations: developing nations have sought compensation for decades, while richer countries, like the United States, have resisted for fear that they could face unlimited liability for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, reports the New York Times.

The agreement makes clear that payments are not to be seen as an admission of liability. Though details remain undefined, the agreement calls for the funds to come from a variety of existing sources, including financial institutions, rather than relying on rich countries’ payments.

The deal is a “a diplomatic coup for small islands and other vulnerable nations in winning over the 27-nation European Union and the United States,” according to Reuters.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said its members in the Pacific and the Caribbean had “exhausted all of our efforts” at COP27 to land a fund they had been pursuing for 30 years, since the issue of loss and damage was first raised at the climate talks by Vanuatu. (Reuters)

However, critics say the loss and damages breakthrough came at the cost of reducing carbon emissions. Many countries said they felt pressured to give up on tougher commitments for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, reports Reuters.

“At many stages, a deal looked impossible to reach,” reports the Guardian. “In the final hours, countries wrangled over single words in an outcome that spanned issues from the 1.5C temperature goal, the phasing out of fossil fuels, the needs and rights of indigenous people, the protection of nature, and how to engineer a “just transition” to clean energy for those economically dependent on fossil fuels.”

Climate Justice

  • The Associated Press dissects the Barbados plan, dubbed the Bridgetown Initiative. Advocates say it could be a pathway to unlocking $1 trillion in climate financing. The plan calls for special loan clauses that allow for suspending payments when a country is hit by a natural disaster or pandemic. And it includes a push to expand lending by international development banks such as the World Bank.

  • A GeoPoll study in June 2022 confirmed that most Caribbean people are not talking about climate change. Thirteen countries were polled, and more than half of the respondents said they rarely or never discuss climate change with their family or friends. The study also showed that a greater percentage of older respondents report discussing climate change than younger respondents. (Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung)

  • Grenadian Simon Stiell is the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat Executive Secretary. His political career has prepared him well, particularly his five-year tenure as Grenada’s Minister for Climate Resilience and the Environment, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

  • This poem by Sheena Griffith, a small-scale flying-fish processor in Barbados, vividly paints a picture of the complex, and often overlooked, challenges women fishers confront and navigate during post harvest. (Saedi Consulting)

  • Some environmentalists say Puerto Rico’s government is endangering the lives of people by greenlighting construction projects in geologically vulnerable areas — making the impact of climate crisis extreme weather even worse, reports the Guardian.

  • Puerto Rico “provides a cautionary tale of how fragmented climate disaster planning deepens dependence and vulnerabilities.” In the face of government inaction, the island’s local communities have stepped in to respond to needs after storms, reports the New Humanitarian.

  • Dozens of members of Guyanese civil society called on Guyana President Irfaan Ali to rethink the country’s oil extraction policy, reports Kaieteur News.

Public Security

  • “Haitian women and children are not just being caught up in the country’s spiralling gang wars – they are increasingly being targeted for rapes, torture, kidnappings, and killings by the 200 armed groups that now control 60% of the capital,” according to a report by The New Humanitarian.


  • The Dominican Republic is stepping up deportations of Haitians and is creating a police unit focused on foreigners. The moves have ratcheted up long-standing tensions over migration between the neighboring countries, reports Reuters.

  • The Dominican Republic said it “profusely rejects” criticism of its crackdown on Haitian migrants from a growing number of countries and human rights agencies, reports the Associated Press.

  • Language barriers complicate the lives of many Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic, where lack of language resources limits access to basic services for hundreds of thousands of Creole speakers, reports Nacla.

Public Health

  • Haiti and the U.N. launched an appeal for $145.6 million to support the country’s emergency response to a rapidly spreading cholera outbreak. At least half a million people in Haiti are at risk of contracting the disease, according to PAHO and the World Health Organization. (Miami Herald, Associated Press)

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) banned importation of Malathion, an organophosphate insecticide used against mosquitoes. The chemical has been highlighted as having a devastating impact on bees, plant pollination and consequently production and food security, reports Asbert News Network.

The Caribbean and the World

  • Havana-based Cuban scholar Ernesto Domínguez argues that the U.S. blockade has hampered Cuba’s recovery from Hurricane Ian and fuels ongoing mass emigration. (Nacla)

  • Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel embarked on a rare international tour of Algeria, Russia, Turkey and China this week, aimed at obtaining support for the island’s embattled economy, reports Bloomberg.

  • Cuba said it will receive deportation flights from the United States again and that it is open to continuing dialogue with Washington. The agreement comes amid one of the largest migrations from Cuba to the U.S. in decades, notes the Associated Press.


  • Suriname’s government wants to establish an Anti-Corruption Commission, which will register and track the assets of over 4,000 elected and appointed officials of a certain rank, President Chandrikapersad Santokhi told InSight Crime in an interview.


  • David Alston’s Slaves and Highlanders: Silenced Histories of Scotland and the Caribbean is shortlisted for Scotland’s 2022 National Book Award for History. The book “explores the prominent role of Highland Scots in the exploitation of enslaved Africans and their descendants in the cotton, sugar and coffee plantations of the 18th and 19th centuries.” (Repeating Islands)

Events 24 Nov. — The RushMe Talkshow highlights how the skills, lived experiences and creativity of people from the Caribbean have influenced and shaped British culture today. Devised to be listened to or watched, the event will welcome live participation from the audience, broadcasting British-West Indian music, poetry and visual art nationally and internationally. (Repeating Islands)

Just Caribbean Updates

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