Caribbean region and the Netherlands to join forces to deal more effectively with climate change

The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Mark Harbers, has invited the countries of the Caribbean region to take part in the Champions Group, a Dutch initiative in which participating countries will share their expertise with a view to adapting more quickly and effectively to the changing climate. Ten Caribbean countries responded positively to the invitation at a regional conference on climate adaptation and water management in Curaçao.

In addition to Curaçao itself, conference attendees Aruba, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, St Maarten, St Eustatius en Bonaire also expressed interest in taking part in the group. Besides government representatives, the conference in Curaçao was also attended by regional development banks (CDB and IADB), regional networks (including CARICOM CCCCC, UNECLAC and IWEco) and experts (including the KNMI, Meteo Curaçao and GWP Caribbean).

The Champions Group is made up of countries and islands that face major climate challenges, such as flooding, drought, fresh-water shortages or sea-level rise, and therefore need to invest a great deal in relative terms in adaptation measures. The group will form the political component of the International Panel on Deltas and Coastal Areas (IPDC), which will be formally established at the UN Water Conference in March 2023. Financial and knowledge institutions can also join the partnership, ensuring coherence between the scientific, technological, financial and political aspects of this issue.

Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas (Curacao) states: “The Earth is our home; a place that we need to cherish and protect. We can only achieve this if we are committed to work together.”

Minister Harbers (Infrastructure and Water Management) states: “Climate change is causing more extreme weather events and sea-level rise. That brings all kinds of water-related challenges, and not only for the European and Caribbean Netherlands, but also for other islands in the Caribbean. In the Netherlands we are working hard to prepare climate adaptation plans. I believe flood safety should be a priority all over the world. So it is essential to join forces and to share knowledge.”

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal on water

Countries and islands can commit to join the IPDC up until the UN Water Conference begins next March. Taking part will make it easier for them to develop a climate change strategy. Earlier committed Bangladesh, India, Colombia, Egypt and Vietnam to joint the panel.

At the UN Water Conference the first recommendations on climate adaptation will be presented for several member countries. Also, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) will publish a report on climate scenarios and how to respond to these trends.

The UN Water Conference is aimed at accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal on water (SDG 6). The Netherlands is co-hosting the conference with Tajikistan.