Secretary-General António Guterres saw first-hand the impacts of climate change in Barbados. Accompanied by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the Secretary-General visited an area impacted by sea-level rise, costal erosion and land slippage, and learned about the enormous efforts being undertaken by the Government of Barbados to address these challenges.
With COP26 a mere month away, Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday 3 October saw first-hand the impacts of climate change in Barbados. Accompanied by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the Secretary-General visited an area impacted by sea-level rise, costal erosion, and land slippage, and learned about the enormous efforts being undertaken by the Government of Barbados to address these challenges.
Guterres arrived in the Caribbean Island nation on Saturday and addressed the hybrid format UNCTAD15 conference on Monday, under the theme, From inequality and vulnerability to prosperity for all.
The Secretary-General met with a group of outstanding young Barbadians working on innovative solutions to the world’s great challenges – from climate action to COVID-19 recovery.
In a frank exchange, the UN Chief told the youth that his generation has failed in meeting expectations to pass a world in good shape to the next generation. He stressed that this generation “cannot afford to fail”, and it is therefore incumbent upon leaders to support young people in their efforts.
The Secretary-General stressed the need to support developing countries with climate finance. He emphasized that this is a key priority for COP26 in Glasgow.
António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“We need to support developing countries with climate finance and 50 percent for what is called adaptation. What does it mean, adaptation? It is to build resilience; it’s to prepare the land and the people for the devastating impact of climate change. And here we see what Barbados is doing, protecting the coastline from the rising sea waters. But of course, small countries, small island countries all around the world cannot do it without much more support.”
Prime Minister Mottley stressed the urgency for Small Island States to have access to funds for adaptation.
Mia Mottley, Prime Minister, Barbados:
“Had we not done this coastal protection, all of this land, going back to the buildings behind, would be literally being reclaimed now. Regrettably, we expect worse.”
While visiting areas on the island impacted by climate change, the Secretary-General also spoke to local media.
The UN delegation wrapped up the day’s activities with a visit to UN House, where they met with members of the UN Team working in Barbados and Eastern Caribbean.