8 9 OPENING LINES CARICOMRAMPS UP ADVOCACY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE FINANCING T he historic,widespread devastation of sev- eral CARICOMmember states byhurricanes Irma andMaria has heightened the urgency for the region to advocate for meaningful assistance tomitigate the effects of extremeweather events. Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-Gen- eral,Irwin LaRocque,stressed the point recently,as he accreditedAustria’s newambassador to CARICOM, Marianne Feldmann,stating that therewas no doubt “climate change is here.” In prepared remarks,the Secretary-General recalled that the Category5 hurricane Irma devastated Barbu- da,BritishVirgin Islands,Turks and Caicos Islands,and Anguilla,as well as St.Maarten and St.Barts.He noted that it caused significant damage inThe Bahamas and affected St.Kitts andNevis.Ten deaths were confirmed and therewas a preliminaryestimate of US$2 billion in losses. Just over twoweeks later,Maria,another Category 5 hurricane,struckDominica and left in its wake 27 confirmed deaths andmore than 30 peoplemissing. More than 95 percent of Dominica’s buildings were damaged or destroyed and the island’s agriculture sector and its lush rainforest were decimated.The cost of the damage inDominica alone is expected to run into billions of dollars. Against this backdrop,LaRocque noted that the unprecedented scale of destructionwrought by recent weather events placed a demand for more concerted and aggressive global action to address global warm- ing.Small island developing states (SIDS),the Secre- tary-General noted,are the least contributors to global warming,themajor factor in climate change,but they bear the brunt of the impact. In this context,LaRocque said thatAustria’s strength-