Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago

Speech at the launch of the Caribbean Maritime Technology Cooperation Center

Port of Spain, 14/03/2017 - 17:17, UNIQUE ID: 170314_11

Climate Change is happening now. I think we all agree on that. Our planet is experiencing significant and accelerated climate change that began over a century ago. It is one of the most serious challenges facing our world today.

Official launch of the Caribbean Maritime Technology Cooperation Center

Date: March 8th 2017

Venue: The University of Trinidad and Tobago, Auditorium, 2nd Avenue North, Western Main Road, Chaguaramas, Trinidad W.I

Speaking Points of Head of EU Delegation in Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Aad Biesebroek

Senator the Honourable Rohan Sinanan, Minister of Works and Transport

The Honourable Minister Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education

Professor Kenneth S. Julien (Emeritus), T.C., Chairman of the Board of Governors, The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

Professor Dyer Narinesingh, President UTT

Mr. Stefan Micallef, Director - Marine Environment Division, International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • Climate Change is happening now. I think we all agree on that. Our planet is experiencing significant and accelerated climate change that began over a century ago. It is one of the most serious challenges facing our world today. 
  • The European Union recognizes that Climate Change can bring about an unprecedented reversal in the progress towards poverty eradication -  and undermine efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development. This is why the fight against Climate Change both within Europe and globally is so important.
  • Within the EU, the fight against climate change started more than 2 decades ago. We introduced our policies at European level and achieved significant emission reductions:  despite an economic growth of 46% between 1990 and 2014 the EU's GHG emissions have been reduced by 23% in this period. Furthermore, we committed ourselves to reduce GHG emission by 40% by 2030.
  • Globally, the EU is committed to support the sustainable and inclusive development of developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States and it is the largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries: EUR 14.5 billion in 2014.
  • The EU undertook a leading role for the conclusion of the Paris Agreement in 2015, and made a positive and constructive contribution to the development of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable development Goals.
  • Despite the economic crisis, the EU remains committed to contributing its share of the developed countries' goal to jointly mobilise USD 100 billion per year by 2020, extended up to 2025 as part of the Paris Agreement.
  • After Paris, during 2016, the governments in both developed and developing countries are turning their attention toward implementing their National Determined Contributions (NDC). These goals and commitments now need to be integrated into national policies for harnessing the opportunities to combat poverty, end hunger and achieve the broader sustainable development goals.
  • Apart from the benefits for our planet, the Paris Agreement offers a great opportunity for green economic transformation, green jobs and green growth - and this opportunity should be harnessed by both developed and developing countries.
  • With the Caribbean region, the EU has long lasting cooperation in all sectors. For the period 2014-2020, the European Union has allocated an indicative financial contribution of EUR 346 million in the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme for under the 11th European Development Fund. This includes EUR 61.5 million for climate change, disaster management, environment and sustainable energy, and EUR 135 million for the Caribbean Investment Facility; 
  • Additional support is provided to the Caribbean region for tackling the climate change challenges through other financial instruments. For example, under its Global Climate Change Alliance+ flagship, the EU is supporting 6 important projects helping 16 vulnerable Caribbean islands.
  • Our support to climate action spans all sectors, with a particular focus on adaptation to climate-induced challenges, disaster risk reduction, protection from sea-level rise and hurricanes, and sustainable land management.
  • We work with regional organisations such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARIFORUM, and with national governments for country-specific action. We support them to build institutional capacity for development and implementation of Climate Change Policies [e.g. National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and the National Determined Contributions (NDCs)] in an integrated fashion, embedded in their development agenda.
  • Furthermore, we support the implementation of concrete adaptation and disaster risk reduction pilot actions using physical and nature (ecosystems)-based infrastructure in order to increase the resilience of Caribbean Communities, their livelihoods and natural resources to climate-induced disasters.
  • Through the above mechanisms, we also support and capacitate local Universities and other Institutes (e.g. the Caribbean Natural Resource Institute (CANARI) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to contribute to the planning and implementation of such pilot (e.g. access and use of tools for climate modelling, for vulnerability, risk and impact assessment).
  • Besides support for adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (two mutually re-enforcing sectors), we are also supporting the efforts of the Caribbean region for green, low-carbon, development, and to limit the harmful emissions of various sectors of activity, one of these is the aviation and the maritime shipping.
  • Far more than just setting an example, the EU has put aside approximately 200 million EUR for cooperation with the Caribbean region in the area of sustainable energy. During the EU-Caribbean Sustainable Energy Conference held in Barbados in October 2016, a Joint Declaration on reinforced cooperation in sustainable (low carbon, blue and green) energy and several EU support programmes for the region were signed or will be signed soon.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • I am glad today to be present at the launch of the Caribbean Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCCs), the first of the 5 Maritime Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres that will be established worldwide - with EU's support - to help developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Islands Developing States in limiting and reducing Green House Gas emissions from their maritime shipping sector.
  • The Paris Agreement has entered into force, it is high time for shipping, the only sector not yet covered by global Green House Gas emission reduction commitments, to follow suit.
  • Like other sectors, the maritime sector has to make a fair and just contribute to the fight against climate change and to the well below 2°C objective.
  • From a technological point of view, we have the means today to reduce harmful emissions from the ships. The EU research and development agenda has contributed to establishing a big palette of low-carbon technological and practical measures that can increase the ship energy efficiency and thus lower the fuel bill.
  • At the same time, in 2017 we need to make good progress at International Maritime Organisation level and its environmental committee (MEPC) in order to achieve the adoption of a sound IMO Green House Gas reduction strategy with a clear and ambitious emissions reduction target for the sector, in spring 2018.
  • The launch of the MTCC in Trinidad & Tobago offers a great opportunity for greening the shipping industry in the Caribbean region, create green jobs, and facilitate and boost the region's participation and contribution in the discussions at IMO towards the adoption of such strategy.
  • The European Union and its Delegations in the Caribbean are available to facilitate the operation of the MTCC and its outreach in the Caribbean region.

Thank you very much.


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