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Apr 22, 2020

Placencia Ambition Forum Concludes; PM Barrow the Alliance of Small Island States

The third and final day of the Placencia Ambition Forum concluded today. The Government of Belize hosted the three-day forum which brought together the Alliance of Small Island States, via the internet. The discussion focused on the central theme of increasing ambition and safeguarding the Paris Agreement. The forum also highlighted the importance of “Keeping the Drumbeat of Action Alive,” as the global community contends with the most consequential health pandemic in the century. Keynote speaker was Prime Minister Dean Barrow who pointed out that while the focus now is on COVID-19, stakeholders cannot forget the sort of calamity that nations can face if climate change is not addressed.

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“With the novel coronavirus the whole world is being ravaged by a persistent, insidious force. A ferocious health storm has sprung up. The promising shores from the vantage point of New Year optimism have all but disappeared. There is now a seemingly impenetrable fog that occludes our vision. Sadly, though being overtaken by catastrophes is all too familiar to small islands and low lying coastal states. Nature aided by man’s agency perennially unleashes extreme weather events upon us and there will never be a vaccine for or the immunity to the sort of calamity that we routinely face.    So now the health pandemic is also an economic disaster. The downward revision of outlook is the most precipitous since the great 2008 recession. And life as we know it has been completely upended, changed forever. Science portends that a crisis of this proportion and global scale will not be an exception. Humanity must recalibrate its trajectory to align with sound markers for sustainable development.  It must also do an aggressive about face to hold temperature to one point five degrees Celsius. Failure on either score it is no exaggeration to say will breach the thresholds for planetary stability. This could well trigger a cascade of tipping points with one crisis begetting another, from earth systems to human systems.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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