UK, Caribbean Countries Agree on Sustainable Growth Action Plan

CARICOM23 January 2012: The seventh UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum, which was organized under the theme "Sustainable Growth Toward Prosperity," concluded with the adoption of a 31-point action plan. The UK agreed to give the region 75 million pounds over four years for its implementation, with 4.9 million pounds earmarked for climate change work.

The Forum, which took place from 20-22 January 2012, in St. Georges, Grenada, looked at ways to strengthen the relationship between the UK and Caribbean countries in four areas: economic resilience; security; climate change and sustainable development; and foreign policy.

The Forum opened with a debate about the UK's Air Passenger Duty (APD), a duty on airline tickets that was reformed and raised in 2007 in order to reduce carbon emissions from air travel. Caribbean countries argue that the duty, as currently structured, hurts the Caribbean's tourism-dependent economies without significantly affecting air travel carbon emissions. The two sides agreed to "continue the dialogue" about the APD.

In the section of the action plan on climate change, the UK and CARICOM countries agreed to work urgently and closely to: secure agreement by 2015 on the Durban Platform for enhanced action on a comprehensive legally binding global framework, incorporating commitments commensurate with a 2C or 1.5 C threshold; ensure that the Green Climate Fund is made fully operational and begins to disburse funds as expeditiously as possible; identify sources and ensure mobilization of long-term climate financing that can meet an agreed goal of $100 billion of additional finance per year by 2020; strengthen the capacity of Caribbean countries to participate in the international climate change negotiations; build climate resilience in the Caribbean at national and regional levels; address the concerns of small island developing States (SIDS) as agreed in the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation; and develop a long-term strategy to ensure energy security in the Caribbean through the greater use of indigenous and renewable sources. [CARICOM Press Release]