(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen,
Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The critical importance
of cooperation among like-minded nations to combat
the vagaries of climate change was important against
the increasingly devastating effects related
disasters posed to Small Island Developing States.
These sentiments were expressed
on Friday by Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General during the
Ceremony for the Presentation of Credentials by His
Excellency Yoshimasa Tezuka, new Plenipotentiary
Representative of Japan to CARICOM.
Ambassador LaRocque pointed out
that climate change remained a “fundamental issue”
on which CARICOM and Japan continued to engage.
“This global phenomenon and all
its challenges – drought, flooding and hurricanes,
coastal erosion and sea-level rise – constitute, not
an abstract, scientific concept for the Small
Islands and Low-Lying coastal countries of the
Caribbean Community, but a very real and
increasingly threatening reality. To us, it is a
question of survival,” he stated
Secretary-General LaRocque said
that the effects of such natural events on Japan,
given the devastating impact of the 2011 tsunami and
the nuclear crisis spawned by the most powerful
earthquake in Japan’s recorded history, “underscore
the importance of like-minded states collaborating
in disaster mitigation and preparedness.”
“In this vital area of disaster
management, the Government of Japan’s assistance in
the area of flood hazard mapping and Community-based
disaster planning has been invaluable and I wish to
take this opportunity to express the Region’s
gratitude for this support. We look forward to
expanding our cooperation in this critical area,”
Ambassador LaRocque stated.
He used the opportunity to
reiterate the Community’s appreciation to Japan for
its ongoing support for Haiti which was ravaged by
an earthquake in 2010.
“As a Community, CARICOM has
rallied behind this Member State and Japan has
generously accompanied us with financial, technical
and other support,” said the Secretary-General said.