Local May 12, 2023 | 3:31 pm

Dominican Foreign Minister: “It is urgent to declare sargassum as a regional emergency”

Santo Domingo.- Roberto Álvarez, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, extended President Luis Abinader’s call from last April to the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to declare the uncontrolled arrival of sargassum as a regional emergency.

Álvarez believes that the organization has the legal, institutional, and technical framework to accommodate regional initiatives aimed at addressing this problem.

“This year is the most severe in the history of the Greater Caribbean. In some countries, the increase in sargassum has exceeded 60% compared to the previous year,” stated the Dominican Foreign Minister during his participation in the “XXVIII Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the ACS” held in the city of Antigua, Guatemala.

He explained that “we must recognize it for what it is: a plague that suffocates ecosystems and destroys legitimate sources of our economies.” This call was included in the “Declaration of La Antigua,” which will be signed at the 9th Summit of Heads of State and/or Government of the ACS.

The document highlights “the urgency of declaring the sargassum crisis associated with the climate crisis and the impact of human activities as an emergency, as it affects the entire Greater Caribbean region, posing a threat to economic, social, and cultural development, particularly tourism, fishing, health, and the culture of the population, as well as the sustainability of marine biodiversity and the stability of marine and coastal ecosystems.”

Furthermore, the Dominican Republic has secured positions within the ACS for the period from 2023 to 2024, including the Vice Presidency of the Executive Board of the Council of Ministers and the Vice Presidency of the Special Committee on Trade and External Economic Relations, confirming its leadership in the region and solidarity with the peoples of the Greater Caribbean.

The Seaweed Generation, a UK startup working to make seaweed commercially viable, estimates that up to 100 million tonnes of seaweed are growing this year, with massive amounts of it reaching land and wreaking havoc across the region. Sargassum is transported in large quantities from the Great Sargassum Belt every year, poisoning coral reefs, mangroves, beaches, marine life, and people from the West Coast of Africa to Central America and the Caribbean.

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