Loss and damage has become a political priority in the last week of the United Nations climate summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, though the issue is divisive and no major breakthroughs have been announced yet. Some negotiators and observers warn that failure to agree on such “loss and damage” funding could thwart other deals, reports Reuters.
A “settled roadmap” on how a loss and damage finance facility would be set up needs to be in place by the end of the COP27 for the climate conference to be considered a success, the head of Jamaica’s delegation said. (Bloomberg)
Yesterday, Germany and other G7 countries, alongside Ghana and the V20 group of vulnerable countries, unveiled plans to launch a “Global Shield” against climate risks. It brings together and expands initiatives – from subsidised insurance coverage to stronger social protection schemes and pre-approved disaster financing – aimed at ensuring international help arrives swiftly to support disaster-hit poorer countries’ own contingency plans, reports Reuters.
It builds in part on the InsuResilience Global Partnership, an insurance programme launched in 2017 that now operates in 108 countries, with flagship projects such as the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility.
The idea is to get money moving as countries negotiate on setting up a more comprehensive “loss and damage” funding facility, said Jennifer Morgan, state secretary and special envoy for international climate action in Germany’s foreign ministry.
But critics question whether an initiative with insurance at its core makes sense when places could become “uninsurable” due to worsening extreme weather and multiplying disasters, reports Deutsche Welle.
What countries need is a clear loss and damage funding mechanism. Insurance doesn’t cover slow onset events that cause serious damage like sea level rise or desertification, said Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network, an organization that brings together thousands of NGOs.
- Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne called for oil and gas giants to pay for damage from climate change through a global carbon tax on their profits. He spoke at COP27 on behalf of the 39-nation Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). (Jamaica Gleaner)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is supporting Browne’s proposal that countries most affected by climate change, such as those in the Caribbean, seek redress before international courts, reports iWitness News.
- The Inter-American Development Bank, under the next president’s leadership, should usher in a new period of climate investment for Latin America and the Caribbean, argue Guy Edwards and Marcela Jaramillo in Global Americans. “By ramping up support, the IDB could help unleash the potential for stronger climate action and bring about new economic opportunities in the region—including 15 million net new jobs and billions of dollars in benefits from decarbonization.”
- The Bridgetown Agenda promoted by Barbados at COP27 has at its core the establishment of a climate mitigation trust that would prompt the release of $650bn from the IMF through a mechanism called special drawing rights, which allows members to borrow from each other’s reserves at very low interest rates, explains the Guardian in conversation with Avinash Persaud, one of the plan’s architects.
- Other features include include giving climate-vulnerable countries access to low-interest, long-term loans for adaptation, natural disaster clauses in all bank loans, and grants for loss and damage that would be funded by a 2% tax on fossil fuel exports, shifting the burden from the poorest people in the world directly on to the polluters. (Guardian)
- The Bridgetown Initiative, and the global attention it has garnered will likely bolster the World Trade Organization’s sustainability agenda, argues Jan Yves Remy at the Shridath Ramphal Centre. It can revitalize topics like debt and trade financing within WTO circles that some countries like CARICOM, have been calling for, and is also in line with the evolving core agenda of the WTO.
- The sustainable development of SIDS is constantly jeopardised by their structural weaknesses, including their small size, remoteness, reduced resource base, exposure to adverse climate events and limited diversification of the economy. A new Eurodad report calls for responses that “include immediate and unconditional debt cancellation of all unsustainable and illegitimate debts by all creditors; immediate access to non-debt creating, or concessional, finance for the Sustainable Development Goals and climate goals; and multidimensional vulnerability indicators to define access to concessional finance and debt relief.”
- A new investigation by InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute reveals how wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illicit gold mining, and slash-and-burn land clearance are spreading across five Amazonian countries: Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, and Suriname.
- These countries account for some 20 percent of the Amazon Basin and have collectively lost 10 million hectares of forest over the last two decades. This in-depth report traces the chain of actors involved in the plunder, from the labor force harvesting trees and digging up gold to the brokers and corrupt officials that launder the ill-gotten materials. It also uncovers the land trafficking schemes that serve settlers who invade forests to sow palm oil and soy, as well as raise cattle, for the benefit of large-scale agribusiness. (InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute)
- Illegal mining, pushed by skyrocketing gold prices, has become one of the main drivers of deforestation in the Amazon, above all in Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname, according to the investigation. (InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute)
- Despite their crucial role in providing coastal protection, supporting local livelihoods and storing vast amounts of carbon, the mangroves of Bonaire are under growing threat due to, among other things, overdevelopment and increased pressures of climate change — Best 2.0 Plus
The Caribbean and the World
- Caribbean nations’ reactions to the war in Ukraine has highlighted two tendencies in the region’s diplomatic priorities: a strong defense of state sovereignty and a steadfast commitment to multilateralism, argues Nand C. Bardouille in Global Americans.
- Like the rest of the Caribbean, Cuba is seeing longer droughts, warmer waters, more intense storms, and sea level rise from climate change, making it harder to produce food in an already struggling economy, reports the Associated Press.
Finance and Economics
- Caribbean nations, still reeling from the Covid pandemic, face further economic challenges inflicted by banks from the US, the UK and EU and Australia carrying out financial “de-risking,” which is making life difficult in vulnerable regions and will lead to more corruption and tax evasion”argues Kenneth Mohammed in the Guardian.
- A Jamaica Labour Party member of parliament, Everald Warmington, caused debate about race and racism in Jamaican politics when he disparaged opposition leader Mark Golding’s ability to win a Jamaican election because of his skin color (he is white). (Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Gleaner, Medium)
- Countries in the region must implement a comprehensive and cross-cutting approach to halt enormous setbacks to gender equality in Latin America and the Caribbean. A new report presented by ECLAC in Buenos Aires this week advocates the need for a paradigm shift “from a development model that has disregarded the care of people and the planet” and “offers analyses and recommendations for moving towards a care society.”
- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called on all countries in the region, including the Dominican Republic, to halt the deportation of Haitians, drawing attention to the human rights and humanitarian crises Haiti is facing. (OHCHR)
- Cuba’s new Family Code was approved in September referendum, placing sexual and gender politics at the center of the social and political fabric. “Its particularities, continuities, and the processes by which it was developed, disseminated, and approved, make the Family Code key to understanding Cuba and its (im)possibilities today,” argue Ailynn Torres Santana and Julio César Guanche in Nacla.
- Newsday reports on Trinidad and Tobago-born writer Anthony Joseph and the new collaborative project, an audio series sponsored by NGC Bocas Lit Fest and UK literary organization Renaissance One, featuring his book The Frequency of Magic. (Repeating Islands)
- 18 Nov. Reflections on Haiti: Layering the Conversation. Latin American and Caribbean Center, Florida International University. Register.
- 29 Nov. Caribbean Trade Review 2022. Register.
Call for papers. “Turning the Tide: Climate Change, Social Change, and Islandness” The Second International Conference on Small Island States and Subnational Island Jurisdictions.
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