Paris climate deal signing ceremony: what it means and why it matters?


The world took a collective sigh of relief in the last days of 2015, when countries came together to adopt the historic Paris agreement on climate change.

The international treaty was a much-needed victory for multilateralism, and surprised many with its more-ambitious-than-expected agreement to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The next step in bringing the agreement into effect happens in New York on Friday 22 April, with leaders and dignitaries from more than 150 countries attending a high-level ceremony at the United Nations to officially sign it.

The New York event will be an important barometer of political momentum leading into the implementation phase – one that requires domestic climate policies to be drawn up, as well as further international negotiations.

It comes a week after scientists took a significant step to assist with the process. On April 13 in Nairobi, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate…

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Speech: New Commonwealth Secretary-General Applauds Caribbean Leadership on Climate Change


“Coming together in unity has been one of the strengths of the Caribbean region” – Patricia Scotland QC

Caribbean countries have shown great leadership in “mobilising the world” to act on the threat posed by climate change, the Secretary-General Designate of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, has said.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 15th Conference of Presidents and Governors-General of the Caribbean region – hosted by Antigua and Barbuda this week – Patricia Scotland QC warned that climate change remains a “real danger” for the region.

“For the Pacific, for the Caribbean, for the small independent developing states in these regions, it’s a matter of life and death,” she said, noting that in her home country of Dominica, Tropical Storm Erika wiped away a year’s economic growth “in just six hours.”

The Secretary-General Designate praised Caribbean leaders for the part they played in achieving…

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Economic Impact of Climate Change Concerns IDB


The adverse economic impacts of climate change on Latin American – and especially Caribbean – countries will be a central issue at the Inter-American Development Bank’s annual meeting, which gets under way next week in the Bahamas.

During that gathering, which will take place from April 6-10 in Nassau, the IDB governors will debate a resolution to double the volume of the bank’s climate-related financing between 2016 and 2020.

The IDB also will hold a session titled “Natural Capital, Climate Change and the Future of Coastal Cities” that Michele Lemay, the bank’s lead natural resources specialist, said would be a “wake-up call” aimed at alerting the region to the major economic and social difficulties it faces.

Last October, the IDB announced the goal of doubling the volume of its climate-related financing by 2020.

That would mean increasing its financing for climate-related projects from a yearly average of 14 percent between…

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Diplomatic Week Symposium focuses on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


Asha DeSuza, Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aviation

A symposium held on Tuesday, April 05, is one of the Key activities of this year’s Diplomatic Week which is being held under the theme “Forging New Partnerships and Strengthening Networks for Sustainable Growth and Economic Development”.

The Symposium was held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort and focused on The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda for Climate Change, held under the theme “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Demystifying Climate Change.”

Asha DeSuza, Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained the objective of the symposium.

“The aim of the symposium is to create awareness and a platform for dialogue about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change,” said Miss DeSuza, while adding that the symposium is also geared towards heightening the awareness of the effects of climate change on the environment, economy and…

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Fishing and the future of coral reefs

Fishing and the future of coral reefs



New fishery regulations based on science are needed in the Caribbean to give coral reefs a fighting chance against climate change, according to an international study published today. The study, led by University of Queensland researchers, reveals that Caribbean coral reefs are experiencing mounting pressure from global warming, local pollution and over-fishing of herbivorous fish. Study author Dr Yves-Marie Bozec, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said herbivorous parrotfish were needed because they eat seaweed, which can smother coral and prevent corals from recovering. “While several countries in the Caribbean have taken the bold step of banning the fishing of parrotfish (including Belize, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos Islands), parrotfish fisheries remain in much of the region,” Dr Bozec said. The research team analysed the effects of fishing on parrotfish and combined this with an analysis of the role of parrotfish on coral reefs. “We conclude that unregulated fisheries will seriously reduce the resilience of coral reefs,” Dr Bozec said. “However, implementation of size limits and catch limits to less than 10 per cent of the fishable stock provide a far better outlook for reefs, while also allowing the fishery to persist.” Study co-author Professor Peter Mumby from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences said a number of countries wanted to modify their fisheries to reduce impacts on reefs. “What we’ve done is identify fisheries’ policies that might help achieve this,” Professor Mumby said. The new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that science should be used to revise current fisheries practices for herbivorous fish. The authors have provided tools to help fisheries managers make such changes. “Ultimately, the more we do to maintain healthy coral reefs, the more likely it is that fishers’ livelihoods will be sustained into the future,” Professor Mumby said. “We already know that failure to maintain coral habitats will lead to at least a threefold reduction in future fish catches.” Explore further: Coral Reefs: Ever Closer to Cliff’s Edge More information: Tradeoffs between fisheries harvest and the resilience of coral reefs, PNAS,  Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences   Provided by: University of Queensland


Panama Papers leak exposes how Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping’s friends hide money

Washington: A massive leak of documents has blown open a window on the vast, murky world of shell companies, providing an extraordinary look at how the wealthy and powerful conceal their money.

Twelve current and former world leaders maintain offshore shell companies. Close friends of Russian leader Vladimir Putin have funneled as much as $US2 billion through banks and offshore companies.

Those exposed in the leak include the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, an alleged bagman for Syrian President Bashar Assad, a close friend of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and companies linked to the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Add to those the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Morocco; Middle Eastern royalty; leaders of FIFA, the international body that controls international soccer; and 29 billionaires included in Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s 500 richest people.

Also mentioned are 61 relatives and associates of current country leaders, and 128 current or former politicians and public officials.

The leak exposes a trail of dark money flowing through the global financial system, stripping national treasuries of tax revenue.

The data breach occurred at a little-known but powerful Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca & Co., which has an office in Las Vegas, a representative in Miami and presence in more than 35 other places around the world.

The firm is one of the world’s top five creators of shell companies, which can have legitimate business uses but can also be used to dodge taxes and launder money.


More than 11.5 million emails, financial spreadsheets, client records, passports and corporate registries were obtained in the leak, which was delivered to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich, Germany. In turn, the newspaper shared the data with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. More