Re­cent de­vel­op­ments teach us a tragic les­son about what may hap­pen when global ac­cords are ne­go­ti­ated and the nar­row self-in­ter­est of pow­er­ful coun­tries be­come para­mount.

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page -

ac­cept­able to most UN states.

One does not have to be worl­drenowned sci­en­tists to warn that de­lays in solv­ing the prob­lems will only make a bad sit­u­a­tion worse be­cause, as Bar­ba­dos ex­plained, it would “lead un­nec­es­sar­ily to in­cur­ring greater en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and eco­nomic costs”.

That’s a price Bar­ba­dos and the rest of the re­gion can’t af­ford to pay. Re­cent de­vel­op­ments teach us a tragic les­son about what may hap­pen when global ac­cords are ne­go­ti­ated and the nar­row self-in­ter­est of pow­er­ful coun­tries be­come para­mount. The Paris Cli­mate Change Agree­ment reached dur­ing the Barack Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion was weak­ened shortly af­ter Don­ald Trump moved into the White House. He un­wisely and cal­lously de­cided to leave the pact less than two years af­ter it was signed with much jus­ti­fi­able fan­fare and high ex­pec­ta­tions. Ef­forts to avoid a re-run of that un­for­tu­nate ac­tion should be front and cen­tre of global con­sid­er­a­tion as the coun­tries de­velop the in­stru­ment’s text, recog­nis­ing, as Bar­ba­dos put it rather del­i­cately, that “de­spite our best ef­forts, not all states may be in a po­si­tion to rat­ify the new in­stru­ment”. When Prime Min­is­ter Mia Mot­t­ley ad­dresses the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly for the first time later this month, she should re­in­force the value of the Caribbean Sea to us and the need to pro­tect it, plus the At­lantic and other oceans from loom­ing dan­gers. Canada put it suc­cinctly when it told the in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal con­fer­ence’s first ses­sion: “This is a mo­ment many of us have long been wait­ing for: de­vel­op­ing and de­liv­er­ing a legally bind­ing text that would pro­tect our wa­ters.” We trust the UN, es­pe­cially Washington, is pay­ing at­ten­tion.

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