Signed into action at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), the historic Paris Agreement was just one step in helping curb greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and limiting temperature increase.
St. George’s University, site of a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Regional Collaborating Center on July 12 continued the Agreement’s advancement by welcoming 10 regional conservation leaders to the “Caribbean Non-State Actor Dialogue” in True Blue.
The Paris Agreement has led to a “momentous year for international development”, according to Dr. Hugh Sealy, a Professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at SGU.
Sealy is a lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States and in May was appointed co-facilitator of international discussions of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
The Article allows for the creation of a new international carbon market and cooperative approaches to trade carbon units.
Dr. Sealy and regional leaders from the private sector convened at SGU to discuss how to interpret and operationalise elements contained in Article 6 of the COP21 deal.
Through cooperative approaches, they hope to assist with countries’ efforts to limit the average temperature increase to 2°C or less.
“The meeting was very productive,” Dr. Sealy said, adding that, “the participants recognised an opportunity to create a Caribbean carbon market, perhaps linked to markets in the USA that could potentially channel billions of dollars into the region”.
“We at the Regional Collaboration Center are very eager to help Caribbean countries grasp this opportunity”, he remarked.
The meeting opened a long-term dialogue about the provisions in Article 6 of the Agreement, and to accelerate the progress of related discussions.
To do so, constituents worked to identify the needs and usefulness of its different elements in the eyes of those involved, in particular Non-Party Stakeholders, which, per the Agreement, include “civil society, the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other sub-national authorities, local communities and indigenous peoples.”
In order for the Paris Agreement to truly affect global gas emissions and, in turn, the viability of Small Island States such as Grenada and other Caribbean countries, Dr. Sealy said that it will take a collective effort.
“It is the private sector and other non-state actors that will effect the required transformation to low carbon growth,” Dr. Sealy said.
In advance of COP21, Dr. Sealy drafted the “Capacity Building for SIDS Climate Change Negotiators Initiative”, a guidance manual that provided climate change Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) with the information and tools needed to adequately represent their constituencies during international negotiations.
“We are powerful as small islands,” Dr. Sealy said prior to COP21. “We can affect what happens in Paris, and we have to get it right for the sakes of generations to come.”
UNFCCC established an RCC at SGU in 2013, making it the third of its kind in the world and the first in the Caribbean.
Its aim is to engage with private- and public-sector organisations, as well as government agencies, to enhance the implementation of clean technology activities in the region.