Haiti’s Cry for Help as Climate Change is Compared to an Act of Violence against the Island Nation

Haiti’s Environment Minister Joseph Jouthe says that
“climate change is a very big terror in Haiti”, and without
funds the Caribbean island nation is unable to adapt and mitigate
against it. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

By Desmond Brown
MADRID, Dec 13 2019 (IPS)

Haiti’s Environment Minister Joseph Jouthe has compared the
climate emergency to a violent act and appealed to the
international community for help to fight climate change.

“Climate change is a very big terror in Haiti. It’s very
hard for us to deal with climate change,” Jouthe told IPS on the
margins of the United Nations climate summit, the 25th Conference
Of The Parties (COP25), in Madrid, Spain.

“Haiti is not responsible for what’s going on with climate
change but we are suffering from it. We want better treatment from
the international community.”

Jouthe said Haiti remains committed to strengthening its
resilience to climate shocks and to contributing to the global
effort to mitigate the phenomenon.

Haiti is pursuing a four-fold objective in relation to climate
change:

  • promoting, at the level of all sectors and other ministries, a
    climate-smart national development;
  • creating a coherent response framework for country directions
    and actions to address the impacts of climate change;
  • promoting education on the environment and climate change as a
    real strategic lever to promote the emergence of environmental and
    climatic citizenship; and
  • putting in place a reliable measurement, reporting and
    verification system that can feed into the iterative planning
    processes of national climate change initiatives.

But Jouthe said the country simply cannot achieve these targets
without financial help.

“In Haiti all the indicators are red. We have many projects
but as you may know [The Caribbean
Community
] CARICOM doesn’t have enough funding to build
projects,” he said.

Patrice Cineus, a young Haitian living in Quebec, said access to
funding has been a perennial problem for Haiti.

But he believes Haiti is partly to blame for the seeming lack of
inability to quickly receive financial help.

“Haiti, my country needs to build evidence-based policies, and
this will make it easier to attract help from the international
community,” Cineus told IPS.

“If we don’t have strong policies, it’s not possible. We
need research within the country. We need innovative programmes
within the country and then we can look for financial support and
technical support.

“We cannot have access to funding because the projects we are
submitting are not well done. We don’t use scientific data to
build them. They are not done professionally,” Cineus added.

Cineus’ theory appears to be substantiated by the Caribbean Community Climate
Change Centre (CCCCC)
, which helps CARICOM member states
address the issue of adaptation and climate change.

The centre’s Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie said since
2016, under an Italian programme, it is required to develop
projects that would help countries adapt to different areas of
climate change.

“One of the areas that we have been considering, and we spoke
with Haiti, is to build resilience in terms of schools and shelters
that can be used in the case of a disaster.

“Funds have been approved but, unfortunately, unlike the other
member states where we have already implemented at least one, and
some cases two, projects, we have not been able to get the projects
in Haiti off the ground,” Leslie told IPS.

“Each time they have identified an area, when we go there the
site is not a suitable site and then we have to start the process
again.”

While Haiti waits for funding, Dr. Kénel Délusca, current head
of mission of a technical assistance project, AP3C, of the Ministry
of Environment and Environment and the European Union, said the
country remains one of the world’s most vulnerable to climate
change.

Scientists say extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods
and droughts will become worse as the planet warms, and Island
nations like Haiti are expected to be among the hardest hit by
those and other impacts of a changing climate, like shoreline
erosion.

“The marine environment is extremely important to the Haitian
people. There are more than 8 million people living in coastal
communities in Haiti,” Délusca told IPS.

“There are more or less 50,000 families whose activities are
based on these specific ecosystems. In other words, this is a very
important ecosystem for Haiti and different levels – at the
economic level, at the cultural level, at the social level.”

Haiti is divided into 10 départements, and Délusca said nine
of them are coastal. Additionally, he said the big cities of Haiti
are all located within the coastal zone.

“These ecosystems are very strategic to the development of
Haiti. The Haitians have a lot of activities that are based on the
marine resources. We also develop some cultural and social
activities that are based on these environments,” Délusca
said.

For poor island countries like Haiti, studies show, the economic
costs, infrastructural damage and loss of human life as a result of
climate change is already overwhelming. And scientists expect it
will only get worse.

Though Haiti’s greenhouse gas emissions amount cumulatively to
less than 0.03 per cent of global carbon emissions, it is a full
participant in the 2015 Paris climate agreement and has committed
to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by five percent by 2030.

The post
Haiti’s Cry for Help as Climate Change is Compared to an Act of
Violence against the Island Nation
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Haiti’s Cry for Help as Climate Change is Compared to an Act of Violence against the Island Nation