The Bahamas to host first regional climate change conference

The Bahamas to host first regional climate change conference
Prime Minister Philip Davis

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Philip Davis said The Bahamas will host the first regional climate change conference in two weeks, an event sponsored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Davis said the event, which will be held on August 16th and 17th at Baha Mar, will help the region as it seeks to get better results in the fight against climate change.

“The Bahamas along with the region has lobbied year after year, meeting after meeting as we sought for the world to acknowledge our vulnerable position,” Davis said at the Office of the Prime Minister briefing yesterday. “This meeting will position the Caribbean region to take control of our fate and present a unified position to the world at COP27.”

“We must take the reins in ending our suffering and replace our position of vulnerability with that of power. It’s past time to go on the offensive against the painful blows that climate change has landed in the region. But we must be united in the fight and convince the world that for better or worse we are in this together.”

Davis said he expects all countries in the region to participate.

“I’ll be making personal calls to all the prime ministers and leaders of our region to add that personal touch for the invitations to come but the timing, this is something that the timing is a bit short and this is the first of its kind,” he said.

He added that the UNFCC reached out to the government to host the meeting and that the organization will fully sponsor it.

“The UNFCC will be taking up the bills for this conference. In fact, they are offering to pay for all leaders trip to the Bahamas. They’re paying for their stay and everything else. Only thing we will be obliged to do is provide the proper security because they are now in our country, proper security for the leaders to come.

Davis has made combatting climate change a top priority for his administration.

Earlier this year he said he will lobby lending institutions to offer debt forgiveness connected to climate change impacts.

“We are gathering momentum in that regard,” he said when asked yesterday about the reception to his request.

“Of course, there will always be resistance by those who are the culprits, and I use that word kindly in the sense that the huge emitters of the greenhouse gases, they ought to take responsibility for what they have caused with the phenomena we are now enduring.

“And when you talk about debt forgiveness, when we examine the profile of our debts, more than 50 percent of our nation’s debt could be directly linked to the consequences of climate change.

“Just for example, the Dorian loss and damage have been estimated to be $3.4b. If you rewind, Matthew was another $750m; Joaquin was another $600m.

“If we go back to the other hurricanes, Maria and the others that passed through our islands, you can see when you look at the profile of our debt where most of it comes from because you have to borrow to impact change, restoration and that number that we speak of, just loss in damage to property.  It doesn’t address the disruption in economic activity that spurs growth because everything is distracted for the purposes of restoring and building.”