TRINIDAD and Tobago has been “at the centre” of talks at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that focus on climate financing towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said yesterday.
A statement from the ministry noted Robinson-Regis’ role at the head of T&T’s delegation to COP26, which is currently taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, and stated: “Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis is announcing that Trinidad and Tobago has been at the centre of discussions with a number of institutions and leaders focusing among other things, on the topic of climate financing arrangements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, but with specific focus on Small Island developing States (SIDS) such as those of the Caribbean region.”
The release said Robinson-Regis, speaking from Glasgow, “has met with representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB); the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC); the Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon Frank Bainimarama; the Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland and ministers of the Environment from Uganda, Zambia and Namibia”.
Robinson-Regis also serves as Governor of the Caribbean Development Bank for Trinidad and Tobago.
According to the statement, the minister held discussions with the bank’s president, Dr Hyginus “Gene” Leon, and “sought to identify ways of ensuring the availability of financing for climate adaptation projects in the region, and the fact that the bank is developing a measure of the economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities to ensure that Small Island Developing States have access to the right level of support and resources in the future”.
“The CDB’s key observations are focused on ‘Rescue, Recovery and Resilience’, and the minister is of the clear view that these are major issues for the Caribbean region and for SIDS generally,” the ministry said.
“It was agreed that is an arena where financing is key for forward movement and the CDB’s role will definitely continue to be invaluable.
“The Planning Minister and the CDB also committed to continued collaboration ensuring that the region’s needs are prioritised throughout COP26’s High Level Ministerial Summit.”
In furtherance of representing SIDS and the region, Robinson-Regis also participated in the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) and En+ Group’s Joint Panel discussion on the ‘Road to Net Zero: The Role of Carbon Pricing’, the release said.
The statement said according to the En+ Group’s profile, it is the largest producer of low-carbon aluminium globally and biggest “independent renewable energy generator”.
“This also included multilateral meetings with Lord Barker, executive chairman of En+ Group, CPLC High-Level Assembly co-chair and Minister Juan Carlos Jobet, Minister of Energy, Chile, who is the CPLC High-Level Assembly co-chair,” the ministry stated.
Fair, effective pricing
The ministry said the leaders “shared the need for policymakers to bring in an effective system of carbon pricing to facilitate the free flow of low-carbon goods, building the clean and economically viable supply chains of the future”.
The focal points of the session included public- and private-sector collaboration to advance the net-zero ambitions through carbon pricing; incentivising the market towards cleaner methods of production and energy sources while creating green jobs and resilient communities, the statement said.
The session also looked at “what is needed to build climate-resilient, clean and economically viable supply chains of the future”.
“One key area of interest to Trinidad and Tobago businesses and manufacturers includes carbon pricing and green trade liberalisation to contribute to the promotion of low-carbon goods,” the release stated.
The ministry said in a third multilateral meeting with the prime minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland and ministers of the environment from Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, Robinson-Regis shared T&T’s commitment regarding the “Call to Action on Living Lands”.
“Commonwealth leaders pledged to take decisive action on these issues at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit,” the release said.
It added that Scotland stated, “Commonwealth countries are working towards a pioneering ‘Commonwealth Call to Action on Living Lands’ to reinforce efforts to tackle the climate crisis, land degradation and biodiversity loss as three inter-linked challenges.”