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A United Nations expert is calling for global assistance in addressing the climate crisis in The Bahamas.
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A United Nations expert is calling for global assistance in addressing the climate crisis in The Bahamas.

Attiya Waris, the UN’s Independent Expert on foreign debt, international financial obligations, and human rights, stated that The Bahamas must engage in long-term financial planning to tackle its susceptibility to climate changes and reliance on tourism. This was expressed at the conclusion of a 10-day trip to the nation.

Financial aid challenges 

Ms. Waris observed that The Bahamas’ classification as a high-income nation limits its capacity to obtain loans from global financial institutions and gain access to aid for development.

She stated that the international community, along with international financial institutions and development banks, should provide support.

Mr. Waris urged The Bahamas and the international community to consider using a different measure for comparison rather than solely relying on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

This suggestion is based on the understanding that the country is dealing with specific difficulties, such as a high cost of living and a continuous susceptibility to severe climate-related disasters, that require a larger portion of resources compared to other states.

Costs incurred by the tourism industry due to natural disasters

She emphasized the importance of tourism as a crucial aspect of The Bahamas’ economy.

In the past ten years, the country has experienced five significant hurricanes. The most recent one was Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which caused extensive damage totaling $3.4 billion, equivalent to almost 25% of the country’s GDP.

According to the expert, the combination of Hurricane Dorian, COVID-19, and a decrease in tourism had a devastating effect on both the people and economy of the country.

The nation is currently making payments to cover the debt accumulated during the reconstruction process and will continue to do so for a significant amount of time.

Economic diversity needed

She urged the Government to prioritize creating a comprehensive and long-term economic plan that considers the effects of climate change.

Furthermore, she proposed considering alternatives to lessen the nation’s substantial dependence on the tourism industry, improve access to food, and utilize local creativity as a way to vary the economy.

In March 2024, the UN Human Rights Council will receive these recommendations.

Ms. Waris emphasized the shared obligation of the global community to address climate change and its impact, urging that it not be disregarded.

The Human Rights Council selects UN independent experts to oversee particular country situations or topics.

They serve in their own personal roles and are not employed by the United Nations. They do not receive monetary compensation for their contributions.

The source of the information is from the United Nations news website.