03/11/2023 | At the end of September, high level delegates including Heads of States of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) gathered in Grenada for a two-day conference on climate change. Professor Martin Zimmer from ZMT attended the meeting following an invitation by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) secretariat. UNFCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, Grenada’s former Minister for Climate Resilience and the Environment was also present at the meeting.

Professor Zimmer, head of the Mangrove Ecology working group at ZMT, served on a panel related to “Impacts on, and opportunities in, biological systems – looking at oceans and forests and land in the Caribbean“, together with Kelvin Alie, Senior Vice President for Field Partnerships in the Global Field Programs at Conservation International, and Terrence P. Smith, head of T.P. Smith Engineering Inc. At the meeting the ZMT researcher was able to share research findings and scientific knowledge with heads of state and high-level delegates from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana.

The impulses of the three panellists were followed by a lively discussion with the prime ministers and ministers of the Caribbean SIDS. Martin Zimmer reports: “Topics largely touched on solutions for mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, as seen in our sea4soCiety project, but also included other CDRmare approaches to mitigation.”

The ensuing plenary discussion stressed the need for data sharing and joint data hubs, as well as the importance of societal and political acceptance of innovative approaches and active human intervention towards the conservation and (re)-establishment of marine and coastal ecosystems. Further discussions revolved around the “Loss and Damage Fund” implemented upon COP27 in 2022, and particularly the responsibility of the global North for climate justice.

“At the end of meeting I stressed the need for innovative approaches to ecosystem (re-)establishment and the necessity of involving local actors and communities from the very beginning and throughout the entire project, thus, reflecting the vision and mission of ZMT”, Zimmer reflects. “The conclusions and recommendations of all panellists are well represented in the official minutes of the high-level dialogue. After the session all three panellists were interviewed by the TV-broadcasting Government Information Service of Grenada.”

Opening statements of the Second Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8JvQYiGNPk

News reports about the meeting: