Member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative impact of climate change on the vulnerable countries of the region, with Grenada, Barbados, Dominica and Belize urging the United Nations (UN) to move swiftly toward finalizing a new binding climate treaty.

Grenada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dessima Williams urged the global body to move toward finalizing a new legally binding agreement by 2015.

“Without a legally binding climate regime to uphold environmental integrity, Caribbean and other small island states could lose the opportunity for achieving sustainability soon, and some could even disappear,” Williams said on Monday in New York. “We see the upcoming COP 18 in Doha, Qatar as an opportunity to move decisively away from this scenario.”

Barbados Foreign Minister Senator Maxine McClean said there was “no greater threat” to the survival and viability of her country and other small island states than “potentially catastrophic” climate change.

“Inaction or inadequate action is inexcusable and morally indefensible, given the level of the scientific evidence before us, and the technical and financial tools at our disposal to effect the necessary change,” she said.

“Barbados welcomes the decision taken in Durban to launch negotiations on a new legally binding agreement that would take effect after 2020,” McClean noted. “However, for us, a post-2020 agreement is meaningless if ambitious actions are not taken now to reduce global emissions and provide finance and technology to vulnerable developing countries.”

Belize Foreign Minister Wayne Elrington said his country supported initiatives aimed at tackling the Caribbean’s problems, particularly climate change.

“The impact of climate change on our region has been direct and devastating, compelling us to work with our CARICOM partners and the wider Alliance of Small Island States to advance our interests in the climate change negotiation process,” Elrington said.