World December 9, 2015 | 10:42 am

ECLAC side event at COP21 to advocate Caribbean debt relief

Santiago, Chile.- The possibilities forintegrating the twin imperatives of pursuing climate resilience and debtreduction with a proposal for debt for climate adaptation swaps, will beconsidered at a side event to be held during the 21st session of the Conferenceof the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21).

Hosted by the EconomicCommission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in partnership with theCommonwealth Secretariat, the event, which takes place on Tuesday 8 December2015, is expected to attract wide participation from Caribbean and otherrepresentatives at the meeting, as well as regional and internationalorganizations including the Inter-American Development Bank and CARICOM.

COP21 offers animportant opportunity for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to press forfundamental breakthroughs in the agreed global response to climate change thatwill emerge at this crucial Summit.

For Caribbean SIDS inparticular, COP 21 represents the culmination of an important process ofadvocacy over the past year that began with the adoption of the SAMOA Pathway onSIDS, which called on the global community to increase its support throughpartnership with SIDS to build their resilience to the economic andenvironmental shocks they face, including the impact of climate change.

The Paris meetingprovides a critical opportunity to turn the spotlight on the integrateddevelopment issues that define the economic, social and environmentalvulnerability of Caribbean SIDS. The region is currently shouldering a seriousdebt burden, the proportions of which threaten to erode the developmentprogress the countries have worked hard to achieve.

An ECLAC assessment ofthe debt profile of the Caribbean subregion determined that for some countriesconsiderable efforts at adjustment have been insufficient to reduce thestubborn debt burden. There is no respite for these countries which, despitetheir vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events, arecategorized as middle income, and considered capable of fending for themselves.

The ECLAC proposal fordebt relief is intended at once to help free-up fiscal space while respondingdirectly to the need for Caribbean SIDS to build their resilience andstrengthen measures for adaptation to climate change. The proposal will formthe basis for the discussion during the side event, being held in the WiderCaribbean Pavilion (Blue Zone) from 1.30 – 3.30 pm.

COP 21 is presentlyunderway in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, attended byrepresentatives of more than 150 countries.

For furtherinformation, please contact Alexander Voccia at alexander.voccia@eclac.org orDenise Balgobin at denise.balgobin@eclac.org. Telephone: (868)224-8067/224-8075.

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