30 things you did not know about Dominica

Roseau, Sept. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Commonwealth of Dominica is a small island located in the Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe. Tourists marvel at the crystal blue ocean views and tropical humid climate, there is an abundance of discovery on the Nature Isle of the Caribbean.

Explore 30 interesting facts about the magical island of Dominica!

Cultural history

1. Dominica was named by Christopher Columbus

Prior to Christopher Columbus' arrival on the island, the Caribbean settlers named it Watikbuli, meaning "Tall is her Body'. In 1493, Christopher arrived on the island and named it Domingo, which means Sunday, the day which he discovered the island.

2. Dominica has an interesting motto

The motto is French, "Aprs le Bon Dieu, c'est la Terre', translated to English as "After God, the Earth', Dominica eloquently displays its natural beauty.

3. Dominica is a republic in the Commonwealth

The Nature Isle gained its independence on 3 November 1978 and celebrates this day annually with vibrant national festivities. These include cultural markets, music festivals, and beauty pageants.

4. The National Anthem is titled "Isle of Beauty, Isle of Splendour'

Dominica's national anthem was written by Wilfred Oscar Morgan, with the music composed by Lemuel McPherson Christian OBE, after receiving statehood in 1967.

5. Government system

As a parliamentary democratic republic nation, The Executive branch of government has a President and Prime Minister, whereby nominees are elected in consultation with the opposition leader. The two–party system, with the ruling Dominica Labour Party and the opposition party, the United Worker's Party.

All Dominican adult citizens may cast their ballots every five years during the government elections.

6. Dominica's President, His Excellency, the Honourable Charles Savarin

Elected as Dominica's eighth president in October 2013, Honourable Charles Savarin is a member of the Dominica Labour Party. He received his nomination from Prime Minister, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, who has been the head of government since August 2004. Previously, His Excellency, Honourable Savarin was a teacher, trade unionist, parliamentarian, diplomat, and government minister.

7. English Common Law system

Dominica's constitution includes the right to life, personal liberty, and freedom of expression, which follows one–third of the world's English Common Law. The hierarchy of Dominica's court starts from the Magistrate Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, and lastly The Court of Appeal the Privy Council.

8. Dominica's small population of 72,412

The population of Dominica is currently sitting at 72,414, making it the 11th least–populated nation in the world.

9. The Dominican flag is one of only two national flags with the colour purple

Out of all the nations in the world, Dominica's national flag is one of only two national flags to incorporate the colour purple. The other is the Nicaraguan national flag. The Dominican national flag features a Sisserou Parrot that has purple feathers on the underside and the crown.

Geographical landscape

10. The island is also known as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean

Dominica's spectacular natural beauty is oftentimes affectionately known as "The Nature Isle of the Caribbean." The vast amount of the island is covered in lush forests. Year–round visitors can experience wondrous waterfalls and mud ponds. Indigenous rainforest animals and insects such as parrots, iguanas and rare butterflies make up some of the phenomenal fauna.

11. The national flowers for Dominica

The Sabinea carinalis, warmly known as the "Bwa Kwaib' or the Carib Wood. Is the indigenous wild xerophytic plant. In bloom, it exhibits bright scarlet flowers from its branches. It is said to represent the longevity of the Dominican youth.

12. The National Bird of Dominica is the Sisserou Parrot

The national bird of Dominica the Sisserou (Amazona Imperialis), "The Pride of Dominica" is found on the country's emblems such as the Coat of Arms, the National Flag, the Public Seal, The Mace of the House of Assembly and Dominica's Honours for Meritorious Service. The imperial parrot is endemic to Dominica's dense mountainous rainforests. This shy and yet attractive indigenous bird has resided on the island for numerous thousands of years and can live over 70 years of age. The bird is an endangered species and is under preservation.

13. Dominica is the only country in the world where sperm whales reside year–round!

Sperm whales have called Dominica's waters their home, and it is extremely likely to spot them swimming in pods, as whales and dolphins live close to shore throughout the year.

14. The Island is home to the Giant Ditch Frog known as the "mountain chicken"

Dominicans refer to the frog as the "mountain chicken" due to its legs imitating drumsticks. The frog used to be a delicacy as a national dish and is now under conservation to preserve the species.

15. Home to the Caribbean's first long–distance hiking trail

The Waitukubuli National Trail (WNT) is the first long–distance hiking trail in the Caribbean. It is estimated to be 183 km long and is split into 14 sections. The trail was built between 2007 and 2012, the route crosses through Dominica and traverses some of the country's most spectacular terrain. It will take a minimum of two weeks to complete the hiking trail.

16. Dominica is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Morne Trois Pitons National Park is the exclusive Heritage Site in Dominica and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. This national park is situated in the southern half of the island and contains many of Dominica's most spectacular attractions including the Titou Gorge, Boeri, Freshwater Lakes, the Boiling Lake, and the Middleham Falls. The Morne Trois Pitons National Park covers roughly 9 per cent of Dominica's land area.

17. Dominica has practised herbal medicine for centuries

The original inhabitants of the island, the Caribs, and later Africans, brought with them thorough knowledge of plants and herbs. This knowledge has been passed down through generations and many herbs like Moringa, Basil and Dandelion are still used today for medicinal purposes, usually referred to as "bush medicine."

Economic features of Dominica

18. Dominica's main industries

The country's main industries are agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. Over 20 per cent of the island's land is arable and under cultivation, with bananas traditionally serving as Dominica's largest export. Although Dominica has recently increased the production of other fruits, as well as vegetables and coffee beans.

Dominica's tourism sector continues to steadily grow, with the alluring nature attracting an estimated 200,000 holidaymakers annually. The island's manufacturing industry primarily depends on raw materials from the agricultural sector, where in–demand exports include coconut soap, ceramics and shoes.

19. Dominica's official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)

Dominica introduced the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (ECD) currency in 1965, which is used in another seven countries in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Foreign currencies including the euro and dollar are also accepted as tender. It is also pegged to the US dollar at a rate of US$1 to ECD (East Caribbean Dollar) $2.70. As Dominica is a member of the Commonwealth, all banknotes and coins feature an image of King Charles III.

20. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Dominica

The World Bank recorded the island's GDP had an outstanding US$612,048,148 in financial year 2022.

21. Investors can acquire Citizenship of Dominica by Investment

Investors in Dominica tend to seek citizenship through investment opportunities around the country. When visitors officially become Dominican citizens, they can develop businesses, work, relocate and extend their citizenship to their family members.

Dominica's CBI Programme received first in the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) initiative for six consecutive years by the CBI Index.

22. English is Dominica's official language

English is universally spoken in Dominica and UK English spelling is used. Dominican Creole (an Antillean Creole derived from French), and French Patois are spoken amongst the locals. This is because of the long history of French migration to the island as well as Dominica's location between two French–speaking countries; Martinique and Guadeloupe.

23. Christian religious practices

Christianity is the most common religion in Dominica, practised by over 90 per cent of the population. However, religious freedom is enshrined in the Constitution of Dominica so inhabitants can follow alternative faiths if they so choose, such as Rastafarianism.

24. Cricket is the most popular sport in Dominica

Many Dominican cricketers play for the West Indies cricket team internationally. Shane Shillingford and Adam Sanford are two of the most notable cricketers from Dominica.

25. The capital city of Dominica is Roseau

The largest city in Dominica it is located on the Southwest coast of the country and is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Morne Bruce Hill and the Roseau River. Filled with lively markets, 18th–century French architecture and famous landmarks like the Roseau Cathedral and the Morne Bruce Cross.

26. The Main Airport is Douglas–Charles Airport

Formerly known as Melville Hall Airport, Douglas""Charles Airport is Dominica's largest of the country's two airports. Douglas""Charles Airport operates both passenger and cargo planes to other destinations in the Eastern Caribbean region.

27. Dominica is on a quest to be the world's first climate–resilient nation

The Government of Dominica has called on investors around the world to assist in the development of sustainable and robust industries and infrastructure. This is an exclusive opportunity to implement the latest technologies and developmental approaches. Dominica aims to be at the forefront of tackling climate change challenges.

28. Unique rivers for each day of the year

Apart from breathtaking beaches and volcanoes, Dominica has over 365 rivers! While some are cool and clear, others are cloudy and fast. All the rivers are surrounded by exotic plants and flowers. The Indian River is the widest on the island, and many visitors choose this river to explore the rivers for the first time.

29. There are nine active volcanoes in Dominica

Dominica has the highest concentration of volcanoes in the world, with approximately nine active volcanoes. Eruptions are very rare, and the last volcanic eruption was in 1997 and the one before that was in 1880.

The highest mountain and volcano are Morne Diablotins, and it is a magical sight. Adventurists can take a six–hour hike to reach the top where neighbouring islands, Martinique and Guadeloupe can be seen from the top.

30. Many of Dominica's beaches are covered in black sand

The volcanoes in Dominica influence the colour of beautiful black–sand beaches. Some of the most famous black sand beaches in Dominica include the Number One Beach, Mero Beach, and Rosalie Bay Beach.

GLOBENEWSWIRE (Distribution ID 8919129)

World’s Richest Countries Must Set More Ambitious Climate Change Goals, Report Finds

Patient Kyahi, principal of Sake Elementary School, in front of the blackboard in his mud-filled classroom in Sake, a village located 27 km from the city of Goma, North Kivu province in DRC. Credit: Sibylle Desjardins / Climate Visuals

Patient Kyahi, principal of Sake Elementary School, in front of the blackboard in his mud-filled classroom in Sake, a village located 27 km from the city of Goma, North Kivu province in DRC. Credit: Sibylle Desjardins / Climate Visuals

By Abigail Van Neely and Naureen Hossain
NEW YORK, Sep 8 2023 – Individually and collectively, member countries of the G20 are falling far behind in their greenhouse gas reduction goals and are failing to make the significant cuts on emissions that would be needed to keep global temperatures low, despite possessing the technological and financial capabilities for reducing emissions.

And with the hottest summer on record ending, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says, “climate breakdown has begun.”

G20 countries, which have both the largest economies and highest amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, committed to reducing emissions by 2030 to limit global heating. A new paper from Oxfam finds that their goals are not ambitious enough.

“G20 countries – both collectively, and almost all of them individually – are failing to achieve their fair share of ambitious global mitigation required to limit global heating to 1.5℃,” Oxfam reports, noting that 63 percent of the world’s population lives in the G20 countries, producing 78 percent of greenhouse gasses. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted yearly by each person in these countries must be cut in half by 2030 to stay on target. However, current plans are not on track to meet the global goal.

According to Oxfam, “richer G20 nations are performing worst of all.”

Oxfam notes that high-income countries have focused on increasing the climate efforts of low and middle-income countries without addressing their own failures to pledge to do their share. For instance, to proportionally contribute to reducing global emissions, the United States would have to enhance its current reduction target by an additional 240 percent. Oxfam determined these shortfalls using three different measurement tools that assess the fairness and ambition of countries’ current reduction targets.

“The richest G7 and G20 countries need to ramp up their own domestic climate ambition and radically increase climate finance to make up for historic emissions. This is not only a matter of equity – without it, we will never achieve the life-saving goals of the Paris Agreement,” Oxfam climate change policy lead, Nafkote Dabi, said.

The G20 members, which include high-income countries such as the United States, Australia, and Germany, account for 78 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. High-income are emitting the equivalent of 7.4 to 7.7 tons of CO2 on average per person. The Oxfam report indicates that their emissions need to be reduced by half – 2.9 to 3.8 tons – by 2030. It reflects a failure in their domestic pledges in their countries and their international commitments. Overall, the high-income countries were found to be among the worst emitters of greenhouse gases per annum.

A lack of financing has prevented many countries from achieving their climate goals. According to Oxfam, middle-income countries like South Africa, China, and Mexico have both lower historic responsibility for climate change and less financial capabilities to address its effects.

Middle-income G20 countries, such as India, Türkiye, Indonesia, and South Africa, are currently emitting close to 6.1 to 6.3 tons of CO2 per person per year. They would need to reduce this to 4 to 5.8 tons of CO2 per person. The report observes that while they have also failed to meet their global mitigation ambitions, in certain cases, these countries lack the financing capacity to address these issues.

Therefore, these ‘developing’ countries could rightly seek out the climate financing contributions that would be needed to meet these pledges. This is where the high-income G20 members would also be able to comply with global mitigation by increasing their contributions to international climate finance, thereby supporting the mitigation efforts of middle-to-lower-income countries. Under the metrics for fair sharing of mitigation efforts, this would also allow them all to meet global mitigation levels.

The Oxfam report has been published at a critical time as world leaders gear up to converge at summits in which climate action will undoubtedly be on the agenda as they reassess their progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. The leaders of the G20 countries will be convening in India for the G20 Summit on 9-10 September.

Ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in November, the G20 and other countries will be expected to present their upcoming climate action pledges for the Paris Agreement’s Global Stocktake for 2023. It will serve as a turning point where it will be determined whether they are on track to achieving the goals under the Paris Agreement.

There is also the upcoming Climate Ambition Summit on 20 September that the UN Secretary-General will convene amid the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. It will be expected that world governments, but especially major emitters, will present updated climate action plans and NDCs.

Ashfaq Khalfan, Oxfam America’s Director of Climate Justice, explains that countries in the global south need massive long-term investments to quickly replace fossil fuel energy with renewable energies. According to Khalfan, the current UN budget of USD 100 billion a year to fund all climate change projects is “a gross underestimate.” Adequate funding would be between 1 to 2 trillion dollars.

The UN predicts that if more ambitious action is not taken, there will be a 10 percent rise in emissions by 2030 instead of the 45 percent cut needed to reach the target of the Paris Agreement. If global heating rises beyond 1.5℃, Khalfan says, half a million people will face water insecurity, ecosystems will be destroyed, and there will be unprecedented levels of extreme heat. To avoid these risks, Khalfan suggests that the public become more radical about putting pressure on their governments to act, especially in high-income countries.

Guterres will have an opportunity to call out leaders whose climate pledges are insufficient when he attends the G20 summit in India this weekend. In November, countries will submit their latest climate action pledges at the UN Climate Summit in Dubai.

“Governments really need to basically say either we are accepting catastrophic climate change because we’re not willing to provide the resources, or we’re not willing to accept catastrophic climate change, and we’re willing to provide the resources. It has to be one or the other,” Khalfan said.

“With less than three months to go before this crucial climate stocktake is published, we call out the G20 for their failure of ambition and action. Unless G20 countries substantially improve their NDCs, they are effectively spelling ‘surrender’ in the face of the existential crisis of our times,” said Dabi.

“People living in poverty and in lower-income countries are suffering most. We look to the world’s super-emitters for solutions but find today their numbers simply don’t stack up.”

In the coming weeks, the world will be watching its leaders to see if they will be able to take the drastic but necessary actions to shoulder the responsibility of climate action.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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