In the presence of His Excellency president Chandrikapersad Santokhi, the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment in Suriname launched the Kick-Off event for the upcoming High-Level Meeting on Climate Financing. The Kick-Off event was held at Ballroom Torarica on October 21, 2022 and was attended by UN Resident Coordinator, Dennis Zulu (virtual), Minister of Labour Steven Mac Andrew. The event also included members of the private sector (Central Bank, Surinaamsche Bank, VSB), Indigenous and Tribal organizations (VIDS, Stichting KAMPOS), non-profit organizations (WWF, Projekta) as well as members from Academia.
This event was held to kick off the development process of the National Climate Agreement which is intended to serve as a roadmap to address climate change issues and for accessing different options of climate finance available for Suriname. During the Kick-Off event, both United Nations and the Inter-American Development Bank, co-organizers of the event, presented ongoing support being provided to the Government of Suriname in the areas of climate and environment.
The United Nations system in Suriname, under leadership of the Resident Coordinator, is also supporting the Government of Suriname through the implementation of a Joint SDG Fund programme whereby the objective is to help the country achieve Agenda 2030 (including Paris Agreement climate goals), to address development funding challenges (which hinder the country’s progress) while also delivering inclusive, gender-based outcomes. In tandem, the IDB continues to support the Government of Suriname in the development of an NDC Investment Plan. This raises the country’s climate ambition by including two new sectors (agriculture, transport, and urban Infrastructure) and by increasing the climate goals of the forestry and energy sectors. IDB’s support also incorporates climate change criteria in budgeting and public investment decision-making, in collaboration with the Ministry of Spatial Planning and the Environment.
The High-Level Meeting for Climate Financing is planned for the first quarter of 2023 at which the government-led National Climate Agreement will be elaborated and presented. Today’s Kick-Off event was utilized to raise awareness, and to ensure broad-based, cross-sectoral inputs into the National Climate Agreement. The government has also updated its Nationally Determined Contribution, and with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, is developing an Investment Plan for the updated Nationally Determined Contribution.
During his opening remarks the UN Resident Coordinator, Dennis Zulu, stated: “We have a very narrow window of opportunity to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. Urgent and ambitious action is needed now. As we have seen with the recent unprecedented flooding, adaption is crucial for Suriname.” He further emphasized that "a National Climate Agreement can not only ensure a sustainable pathway towards Climate Financing, but also gives Suriname a multi-sectoral plan for addressing Climate Change.”
Minister Tjong-Ahin shared that the government of Suriname is committed to take the lead in climate actions by stating
“Our government is committed to curb the situation and take a lead role in climate action and in association climate finance.”
President Santokhi during his remarks made it clear that climate change adaptation will require many changes, but that the national development must not be undermined in the process. He underscored the importance of ensuring that the National Climate Agreement is an inclusive process by stating that “we need to join hands to formulate a good strategy, plan and execute. All stake holders, the private sector, indigenous people, commercial banks, NGO’s are invited and have to assume their responsibility to get things going.”
Ms. Margret Jones Williams, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, stated that the development of the National Climate Agreement is urgent and that the development has been prioritized by the government who has shown a very high level of political will. Ms. Williams also highlighted the need for continued consultation with all stakeholders as this event yet again showed that all stakeholders, especially those representing the Indigenous and Tribal peoples, want and deserve the opportunity to provide their input in the development of the National Climate Agreement.
Minister Tjong-Ahin with his final remarks thanked the United Nations Agencies and all other organizations for the support in organizing this event. He also reaffirmed not only the importance of the National Climate Agreement but also the importance of ensuring that the development process is an inclusive process. “This process is about all of us having consensus about what we want to do against climate change before we move forward,” he said.
Originally published in UN Suriname