At a full-day session on November 14th, the National Climate Change Committee (NCCC) and co-opted agencies were updated on the various climate initiatives underway or completed, with the opportunity to provide guidance, further to input provided to date. 

The NCCC was appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers in 1998, with a mandate to provide advice on and give support to national climate change-related programmes and processes, with membership comprising public, private sector and civil society entities and academia. This body, along with co-opted organisations, has met and interacted multiple times in the year 2019.

The role of the NCCC has evolved over time. It has helped to facilitate and guide national efforts relating to: climate change adaptation and building resilience; national climate change strategies and action plans; and climate change education, training and raising public awareness.  The NCCC is expected to play a significant role in new and emerging initiatives including:

  • Climate Change Adaptation Policy (CCAP)
  • National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process
  • Climate financing process in collaboration with the National Designated Authority (NDA) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)
  • Climate Change Bill that is under development.

Revised Terms of Reference are being finalized to enable the more effective functioning of the NCCC.

Participants at the final National Climate Change Committee meeting for 2019

Presentations were made, not only by the Department of Sustainable Development as the climate change focal point, but also by a number of Government agencies involved in climate action, including the National Designated Authority NDA to the GCF, that is, the Department of Economic Development and agencies with responsibility for Energy, Gender Relations and Agriculture.  The day ended with a presentation on the highlights of the upcoming 25th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scheduled for Madrid in December 2019.

For more information on climate action in Saint Lucia, visit Saint Lucia’s Climate Change Website at: http://www.climatechange.govt.lc/or call the Department of Sustainable Development at 468 5833.

BARBADOS Prime Minister Mia Mottley stood on stage at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York yesterday to advocate not just for her own region, but every small island developing state (SIDS) at risk from climate change.

“If it were up to our community of small islands to solve the problem of climate change, it would have been solved three decades ago when we raised it. We refuse to be relegated to the footnotes of history and to be collateral damage for the greed of others,” a passionate Mottley told those gathered in the UN’s General Assembly hall.

Even as the moderator tried to cut her off and hurry her off stage for exceeding her allotted three minutes (she spoke for nearly ten), Mottley defiantly continued, saying, “I will finish soon. I really will but I am speaking on behalf of 20 per cent of the community of nations of this body.”

The two-degree rise in temperature as outlined in the Paris Agreement as the minimum to mitigate the effects of global warning needs to be taken off the table once and for all, she said. “(For us it is) 1.5 (degrees Celsius) to stay alive. Not to thrive.”

A one degree increase in temperature has already brought the world to where it is today, she said, with unacceptable and catastrophic levels of damage and loss of life. If global warming is not contained, Mottley warned, there would be mass migration by climate refugees that has the potential to destabilise the world.

She also chastised the global community for its treatment of the Caribbean, where because it is classed as middle income based on GDP, it cannot access financial aid or grants otherwise available to other developing or vulnerable countries.

“I will not avoid the elephant in the room. Under the current official development assistance rules, The Bahamas, despite its extreme vulnerability to climate change and despite the passage of Hurricane Dorian, will not have access to either grant or concessional resources as they begin the difficult task of rebuilding lives and livelihood. These rules were not developed for such a time as this and we need to change these rules that deny access to small countries, and we need to remove the bureaucracy attached.”

Barbuda and Dominica, both ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria two years ago, still have not received any or all the money pledged to them.

“We must ask ourselves if small states continue to remain invisible and dispensable to the global community.”

St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, also speaking on the plight of SIDS, endorsed Mottley’s speech. “The problems facing these states are easy to fix – all that’s needed is a pen.

“Mitigation is important, but SIDS have specific needs that need to be considered. First, the way developing countries are classified needs to consider vulnerability. Next, the SIDS need a specially dedicated fund to access for climate resilient development and a change in the governance structure of these funds. Finally, the way this debt is treated needs to be reclassified so countries aren’t overburdened economically after investing in climate resilient infrastructure.”

He also noted, as did Mottley, that even though the region has set up and contributes to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), the high costs of insurance could mean that the region becomes uninsurable as regular insurance becomes unable to cover the fallout from climate change. In St Lucia, he said, the cost of insurance for small businesses is 20 per cent of operating costs – to the point where it’s economically unsustainable to have insurance.

To Mottley’s point of climate refugees, he used Dorian’s displacement for context.

“In the Bahamas 50,000 people have to be relocated temporarily for up to two years before those countries can be rebuilt. Who is going to sustain them? Where are they going to go to school? What job are they going to have? These are the practical realities we are dealing with on ground zero for SIDS. We do not have time or luxury for all the dialogue that is taking place. What would it take for a one day meeting in order that the major agencies involved just to agree on a quick solution to help us solve our problem? We are your incubator. Through our solutions, you will also help yourselves,” he said.

Also speaking at the Climate Summit was Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, whose topic was sustainable financing for developing economics. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley did not actively participate in the Climate Summit. Instead, he met with the UN under-secretary-general for counter terrorism Vladimir Voronkov and had a photo op with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. He addresses the General Assembly on Friday.

See link: http://unjournalismfellowship.org/climate-change-on-un-agenda-caribbean-leaders-call-for-urgent-policy-reform/

Related link: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/09/23/un-climate-action-summit-live/

September 30-October 04, 2019-National and International Stakeholders and Experts gather in Saint Lucia for a 5-day workshop on Enhancing the Climate Science Basis of Green Climate Fund (GCF)-Funded Activities, a collaborative effort of the GCF, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Government of Saint Lucia (GoSL).

The workshop objectives include:
• Identifying how relevant tools and methodologies can be translated into the context of Saint Lucia, what institutions and stakeholders need to be involved, and what support is available
• Developing the climate science basis for a project context in support of priority adaptation and mitigation options, identifying key relevant data methods and means of filling any critical gaps
• Expanding understanding and knowledge of climate scientific information within the national and regional contexts

For more information on climate action in Saint Lucia, visit Saint Lucia’s Climate Change Website at: http://www.climatechange.govt.lc/or call the Department of Sustainable Development at 468 5833.

Small island developing states (SIDS) need urgent help. After a visit to Abaco and Grand Bahama in the Caribbean last week, Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, returned to deliver a keynote address at the United Nations’ European headquarters in Geneva to open the first United Nations Trade Forum on 9 September.

His message: “Our extinction is imminent.”

“The climate crisis has taken away from us the ability to control our own destiny,” Mr. Chastanet told a gathering of the trade and international community.

“There are not many more storms that we can sustain and remain viable. Therefore, the urgency is now for us to be able to build resilience.”

He emphasized that the world needs to decide whether they want SIDS to exist and to offer an investment to match it.

“What am I speaking about is drains, rivers, and bridges. These are civil engineering matters; it is not going to the moon. This (investment) is not, in relative terms, a huge amount of money, but relative to the size of our economies, for us it is a mountain too far. I speak to you as a human to say the SIDS need your help.”

“Climate change is not our responsibility. The SIDS represent less than 1% of global emissions. We can’t control our destiny through mitigation. The fact is, the only thing available to us is adaptation,” Mr. Chastanet said.

Adaptation costs money. Under the Paris Agreement on climate, countries have committed to jointly mobilizing US$100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries, including SIDS.

But this funding has not yet reached the SIDS, said Mr. Chastanet.

To mobilize the required billions to help SIDS survive the climate emergency, Mr. Chastanet called for both a revisioning of the classification of SIDS using a vulnerability index and a type of Marshall Plan.

He was joined by fellow island representatives from the Maldives and Jamaica, and the climate and trade community on the opening day of a weeklong forum.

Forum participants explored the linkages between trade, climate change, oceans economy and biodiversity. They exchanged innovative ideas and approaches on how global trade policies may support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

No man is an island

Traditionally, islands are emblazoned across tourism pamphlets, glorified as the epitome of natural beauty and portrayed as idyllic places of escape. But this image is far from the dark reality they face.

Changes in sea level, temperature, precipitation, a growing number of extreme storms and floods, visible vulnerability of critical infrastructure such as ports and airports, growing unpredictability, and the fact that there is nowhere to go, is a daily threat for the 65 million people living in 57 SIDS scattered throughout the world’s oceans.

Their climate emergency plight is an “existential crisis,” the UN Trade Forum heard. It is also a warning.

“What’s happening today to small island developing states will happen tomorrow to all of us. No one is safe from the threat of climate change,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland told the forum.

The situation is a matter of survival. “For a long time, we’ve been talking about climate change mitigation and resilience. We’re now at a point where we’re talking about survival,” UNCTAD Secretary-General, Mukhisa Kituyi, told the over 200 attendees gathered to discuss how trade can play a greater role as part of the climate solution.

Part of this solution is to introduce trade more prominently into the climate discussion. But the role of trade, which does not feature the Paris Agreement, is still not central despite its impacts on carbon emissions and mitigation.

“To face the climate crisis, we need all of us, all our tools and means. Trade cannot be a bystander,” said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, director of UNCTAD’s division on international trade and commodities.

“The omnipresence of trade means that it cannot be left out of any climate policy. And it also means that sustainability cannot be an afterthought of trade policy but must be an inherent part of it,” she added.

A human emergency

Mr. Chastanet pushed aside his formal address to speak from the heart and humanize the tragedy as yet another devastating hurricane season hits the Caribbean.

He told of the devastation he had seen in Abaco and Grand Bahama following the category 5 Hurricane Dorian, and earlier destruction in Dominica and Haiti.

It brought home not only the need for climate mitigation and preparedness, but also “post-preparedness”, he said.

“We can respond to an emergency, but we have to go back to the drawing board to deal with what the post-preparedness is going to be.

“Is the Bahamas, for example, ready to migrate 50,000 people into Nassau? Is it ready to process those people by documenting them, putting them into new school systems, creating a subsidy system because they have lost their jobs and that part of the economy (tourism) is gone?” he asked.

“The requirement for normal primary surplus, is now dwarfed by the fact that we have to have sufficient resources to deal with the (extreme weather event) aftermath,” he said.

He was echoed by the Maldives’ minister of environment, Hussain Rasheed Hassan, who said the world must “find a way to improve our resilience to deal with the impending catastrophe and adapt”.

“Are we going to relocate to some distant land and become climate refugees? As far as we are concerned, we do not want to become climate refugees,” Mr. Hassan said.

The SIDS will collectively present their solution, in the form of a SIDS Foundation, to the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit at the UN’s headquarters in New York on 23 September.

“Climate change is a clear and present danger to our existence,” said Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

“The climate change threat sends a signal to leaders to step up to the plate and face this challenge head-on,” he said.

The proposed foundation would act as a special purpose vehicle for post-disaster reconstruction and adaptation and would pull on sovereign funds for official development assistance for all SIDS to help them ready for a new normal.

Please see: https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2186

The UN Climate Action Summit brought together world leaders at the UN Headquarters in New York on 23rd September. The aim of the summit was to provide concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.” (https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/un-climate-summit-2019.shtml)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed that “The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us. Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century. The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win. This is not a climate talk summit.”

World leaders spoke to the urgency of action and commitments that their countries will be making to assist developing countries to tackle climate change. CARICOM countries including Saint Lucia were represented. Also noted was the presence of youth from across the globe, participating in a climate strike as well as sixteen year old climate activist Greta Thunberg calling out world leaders on their collective action on climate change to date.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet with some of the Saint Lucia Delegation

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet referenced Ms Thunberg’s words saying: “I want to echo the sentiments and the emotion of Greta – that she could come here and condemn us all. And deservedly so.”

The Climate Summit forms part of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) being held from 17th to 30th September.

Please see: https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/pm-chastanet-leads-saint-lucia-delegation-to-un-climate-summit/

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/greta-thunberg-is-right-world-leaders-say-we-are-failing

Rotterdam, Netherlands | July 9–11, 2019

Over 50 representatives from 12 countries came together in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to discuss how developing country governments can engage businesses and investors in the development and implementation of their National Adaptation Planning (NAP) processes.

Hosted by the NAP Global Network, with support from the Government of the Netherlands, the objectives of this Peer Learning Summit were for participants to:

  • Identify and share country experiences and enabling factors for private sector engagement in the NAP process.
  • Identify needs and gaps for government action from the perspective of private sector actors in key priority sectors such as tourism and agriculture, in order to facilitate their engagement in NAP processes.
  • Reflect on the role that donors and climate support initiatives can play in fostering greater private sector engagement in NAP processes.

Countries in attendance included Ghana, Saint Lucia, Rwanda, Morocco, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Jordan, as well as a range of bilateral development partner agencies and international climate support initiatives.

Unavoidable carbon emissions for this event were offset through UNFCCC’s Climate Neutral Now initiative.

See link to article:http://napglobalnetwork.org/2019/07/peer-learning-summit-engaging-the-private-sector-on-national-adaptation-planning-process/

PRESS RELEASE

Castries, Saint Lucia, July 17, 2019.  The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres was among some very distinguished guests invited to participate in the 40th CARICOM Heads of Government meeting held in Saint Lucia.  His visit to Saint Lucia was punctuated with a call on the fishing community of Praslin.  The Secretary General was hosted by Hon. Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert, Minister with responsibility for Sustainable Development and Parliamentary Representative for the area. Dr. Rigobert was keen to afford Mr. Guterres a first-hand experience of the devastating effects of Sargassum seaweed on the community.  The heavy showers did not daunt the Secretary General and his team, as they interacted with affected community members.

The Secretary General met with inter alia Mr.  Raphael Francis the Chairperson of the Fisheries Co-operatives and  Mr. Bonaventure Jn. Baptiste who spoke on behalf of the Seamoss farmers; both gentlemen shared passionate accounts of the challenges faced by the influx of Sargassum.  In addition, Mr. Johanan Dujon highlighted the opportunity that is derived through the conversion of the sargassum into fertilizer for farmers.  The Secretary General spoke with Mr. Kalis Noel, an innovator from Laborie, who developed a solar powered Desalination plant that has not only been used in Saint Lucia but also in Nauru.

According to Dr. Rigobert, she felt honoured to have been given the opportunity to welcome the Secretary General and to dialogue with him, bringing into sharp focus the significant multi-faceted impact of climate change on the environment, sustainable livelihood and wellbeing of the people of Praslin and surrounding communities. According to the Minister, she expected that given the keen interest of the Secretary-General in the issues of climate change, that he will leverage his good office to bring attention to the scourge of sargassum seaweed advocate on behalf of affected populations.

For his part, the Secretary General observed, “Praslin Bay is an example of how climate change is affecting vulnerable communities, but its effects are rapidly affecting people and economies worldwide. I was heartened to see that Saint Lucia is working on innovative solutions to the problem and that it is working with other Caribbean countries to lead the way in climate action, adaptation and mitigation. The international community should support these efforts by providing the necessary public and private resources needed to tackle these pressing issues.”

The situation in Saint Lucia is emblematic of a problem that is impacting communities across the Caribbean. Sargassum creates a repugnant stench, kills marine vegetation and creatures, and disrupts coastal activities such as fishing and tourism. It also presents a health hazard when bacteria begins to spread as the seaweed decomposes.

The Secretary General’s visit to Saint Lucia comes two months ahead of his Climate Summit, and he has called on world leaders to come to the Summit in New York with concrete, realistic plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. He has also emphasized the need to increase ambition and support to small developing countries in the areas of adaptation, mitigation and access to climate finance.

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PRESS RELEASE

Castries, Saint Lucia, 17th July 2019. The Government of Saint Lucia, under the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process is continuing its efforts to build climate resilience through engagement with all sectors of the Saint Lucian society, including the private sector.  Bridging the climate finance gap and the involvement of the private sector in the climate change discussion, has gained global significance. Indeed, the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, private sector, civil society, public sector, academia, the media, is paramount in ensuring that the fight against climate change doesn’t remain the sole preserve of Government.

As part of this continuing thrust and as a follow-up to consultations held in November 2018 and February 2019 for the development of a Climate Change Private Sector Engagement Strategy as well as a Climate Financing Strategy, the Department of Sustainable Development will be hosting a 2-day TRAINING course on ACCESSING CLIMATE FINANCE. The much anticipated workshop will be held at the Golden Palm Conference Centre (behind Massy, Rodney Heights) from 17th to 18th July, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m.; and a 1-day VALIDATION session for the Climate Change Private Sector Engagement and Climate Financing Strategies will be convened at Creole Conference Room, Coco Resorts (Rodney Bay, Gros-Islet) on 19th July at from 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m.

The training and validation exercises would not be possible without the unwavering assistance provided by the United States In-Country NAP Support Program, through the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The IISD has been instrumental in helping Saint Lucia fulfil a number of activities under our NAP process. 

Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert, Minister with responsibility for climate change noted the significance of the climate finance training and the two critical instruments being developed. As Saint Lucia seeks to build its resilience to climate change, the Minister sees access to climate finance and having the necessary policies and strategies in place, as being fundamental to our efforts towards a more climate resilient Saint Lucia.  The participation of several key sectors in this training is a testament to their  commitment and recognition of the importance of partnership and collaboration, as the country continues to plan for, respond to, and address the adverse impacts of climate change.

For more information on climate action in Saint Lucia, visit Saint Lucia’s Climate Change Website at: http://www.climatechange.govt.lc/ or call the Department of Sustainable Development at 468 5833.

PRESS RELEASE

Castries, Saint Lucia, July 1, 2019. Minister for Education, Gender, Innovation and Sustainable Development, the Honourable Dr. Gale T.C. Rigobert, led Saint Lucia’s delegation to the Preparatory meeting for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from June 30 to July 1, 2019,

The United Nations Secretary General will convene a Climate Action Summit in September 2019, to bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations to develop ambitious solutions in six areas: a global transition to renewable energy; sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities; sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans; resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and alignment of public and private finance with a net zero economy.

In Abu Dhabi, the meeting took stock of progress so far across all the Action Areas of the Climate Action Summit, and identified and developed proposals, based on the criteria established for initiatives to be considered for announcement at the Summit.

Over the two days, Minister Rigobert, actively participated in the three Ministerial Roundtable discussions, on “Raising Ambition”, “NDC Enhancement “and on the “Health Climate Nexus”, where she not only highlighted Saint Lucia’s commitment to robust climate action, but joined with the United Kingdom and Egypt who are co-leading on the Resilience and Adaptation Action Area to amplify the need to advance global efforts to address and manage the impacts and risks of climate change, particularly in those communities and nations most vulnerable – like small island developing states (SIDS).

Minister Rigobert called for the re-setting of the financial system to be more sensitive and responsive to the particular vulnerabilities of SIDS because of the vagaries of climate change, and went on to suggest that “if this re-setting was not happening organically that SIDS and other stakeholders should pull at the moral strings of the players in the financial sector”. She applauded the efforts of UN SG Antonio Guterres for bringing into sharp focus the plight of SIDS who are on the frontline of the fury of climate change.

The Hon. Minister also engaged in productive meetings with her Ministerial counterpart from the United Kingdom, the Director General of the International Renewable Agency (IRENA), the Director General of Global Issues in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

As Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Hon. Allen M. Chastanet assumes the chairmanship of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government for the next six months, with the additional responsibility as lead for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, the Minister Rigobert has been strengthening the foundation for Saint Lucia’s continued active and meaningful engagement at the international and regional levels, as a true champion of climate action.

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PRESS RELEASE

Castries, Saint Lucia, 23rd April, 2019. Under the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, the Government of Saint Lucia is continuing its efforts to enhance engagement with all sectors of Saint Lucian society on climate change. Across the world, it has been recognized that to address climate change, all relevant stakeholders should have a seat at the table in order to develop holistic methods in the fight against climate change. 

As part of this thrust, the Department of Sustainable Development will be hosting a consultation on 24th April, at Coco Palm, Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which will mark the commencement of the development of a Climate Change Research Policy and Strategy for Saint Lucia. The Research Policy and Strategy provides the country with the opportunity to shape its own research agenda, as opposed to letting it be determined by external interests. It will provide a guide for ‘would be’ researchers, filling in data gaps, encouraging students to engage in needed research across multiple sectors, as well as encouraging partnerships with other researchers and institutions. It also provides a clear link to the Decade of Research and Innovation which was declared by the Government of Saint Lucia on 18th February 2019.

On 25th April at the same venue, a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) consultation will be held. This M&E endeavour will allow for the tracking of progress under Saint Lucia’s NAP process. It also provides an opportunity for sharing the ‘big picture’ of adaptation across multiple sectors, to decrease disjointedness, increase transparency and the likelihood of attracting additional funding. The period under review for the M&E is January to December 2018.

Both the Climate Change Research Policy and Strategy and M&E consultations will bring together a wide cross section of stakeholders from the private sector, Government and civil society.

To undertake these initiatives, Saint Lucia is benefiting from support from the United States In-Country NAP Support Program, under the auspices of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) which has been instrumental in a myriad of activities under our NAP process. 

Dr. Gale T.C. Rigobert, Minister with responsibility for climate change, noted that the aforementioned initiatives are key to enhancing Saint Lucia’s resilience to climate change, building upon the efforts of previous years, to ensure that all elements are taken into account in the country’s response to climate change.

For more information on climate action in Saint Lucia, visit Saint Lucia’s Climate Change Website at: http://www.climatechange.govt.lc/ or call the Department of Sustainable Development at 451 8746.        

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