Panama, Suriname and Bhutan announce a Carbon Negative Alliance

Panama Leads New Coalition of Carbon-Negative Countries

Panama, Bhutan, and Suriname announced today an alliance of carbon-negative countries to share unique best practices and technical expertise as countries search to reduce their carbon footprint. The announcement, held during COP26, sends a clear message from the world’s only three carbon-negative countries that with the proper tools and enough political will, the international community can unite to beat climate change together.

During the ceremony at the Panama Pavilion, located in the Scottish Event Campus, President Cortizo – alongside Panama’s Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes and other members of the Panamanian delegation – overviewed the structure, priorities, and mission of the new carbon-negative alliance before signing a formal declaration with representatives from Suriname and Bhutan.

Today is an important day not only for Panama but for the global community as a whole,” said Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo. “As we discuss how to overcome some of the most pressing climate challenges, Panama celebrates the signing of the first-ever carbon-negative pledge together with Bhutan and Suriname. While Panama may be one of only three carbon negative countries right now, we seek to build a future where carbon negative countries are not the exception, but the norm.

The alliance will provide an organizing structure to elevate sustainability and conservation ambitions among member states and facilitate the global transfer of knowledge and best practices that have enabled the three countries to achieve and maintain carbon-negative status. It will create a forum to push the global climate movement forward, advocating for greater global ambition and financing, holding in-depth technical trainings on carbon-negative practices and certifications, and offering expertise and best practices to other nations that seek to emulate the countries’ approach.

From the outset, the alliance will combine and amplify its members’ voices to champion policies for:

  • Carbon tax exemptions
  • Rewarding countries that manage their CO2 emissions with advantageous terms from international financing institutions
  • Compensation and assistance programs for vulnerable countries’ irreparable environmental losses
  • Preferential terms of trade

Panama is proud to be a part of an alliance that walks the talk on climate and shows the world what is possible if they commit to serious climate action,” said Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes. “We have the unique responsibility of sharing our climate-oriented best practices with the global community, and to encourage and support other nations seeking to reach the same benchmark.”

Mr. Sonam P. Wangdi, Secretary of Bhutan’s National Environment Commission and Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group said, “The coalition of the world’s carbon negative countries reaffirms Bhutan’s commitment to maintaining the highest environmental standards and reflects the country’s climate ambition despite the development constraints. We call on the world to raise ambition and Bhutan stands ready to share its experiences as well as collaborate for the shared goal of reducing global emissions through cooperative approaches.”

Mr. Albert Ramdin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname, added that “Suriname remains committed to further reduction of carbon emissions and continuing with the transition to a green economy. We are happy to be the example to the world.”

Panama, Suriname, and Bhutan, each with economies and environmental landscapes of different shapes and sizes, have reached carbon negativity through unique paths. Panama, in particular, has combined a bold energy sector transition plan with conservation measures at land and sea to simultaneously reduce its carbon emissions while preserving resources that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

This is just one of the many events in which the Panamanian delegation is participating during COP26. Other notable events include a panel organized by Panama on Monday, November 1 in conjunction with the International Chamber of Commerce entitled, “The Symbiotic Relationship Between Conservation and Prosperity”, and the participation of Minister Mouynes at the New York Times Climate Hub, among others.