August 25, 2011 Santo Domingo
The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) held a workshop on climate change diplomacy and small island states, in partnership with the Universidad Catolica de Santo Domingo (UCSD), in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on 14 and 15 July. The workshop aimed to explore the theme of “Climate Change Diplomacy: Common but Differentiated Responsibility – Past Lessons, Challenges and Future Directions for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)”.
By focusing on vulnerable communities in SIDS, participants explored the impact of climate change on livelihoods and food, water and health insecurities. They assessed past, present and future challenges, as well as the impediments faced by small island states to participating actively in global climate change negotiations.
“Climate change should not be the concern of a group of individuals in a country or a department or a ministry. It must become part of the entire country’s planning and development process.”
In his welcome remarks, Dr. Ramon Alonso Beato, Rector of UCSD, commended UNU for collaborating with UCSD to host the workshop in the Caribbean, a region where many small islands states are vulnerable to climate change.
Similarly, in his remarks, Moses Alvarez, Secretary of State and Director, National Office for Clean Development Mechanisms, Dominican Republic, welcomed the participants and called on all SIDS to work together towards addressing the serious threat posed by climate change to their populations and economies.
In his keynote address, Carlos Fuller, Deputy Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (located in Belize), observed that “climate change should not be the concern of a group of individuals in a country or a department or a ministry. It must become part of the entire country’s planning and development process.”
Participants included academics and policy makers from Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Timor-Leste, and the UK.
UNU-ISP plans to publish a policy brief and a peer-reviewed edited book from the papers presented in the workshop. The project is coordinated by Obijiofor Aginam, Academic Officer, UNU-ISP, and William Onzivu, an environmental law expert at University of Bradford School of Law in the United Kingdom.