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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Recognising the challenges that climate change poses to its population, natural resources and economy, the Government of Saint Lucia (GOSL) has taken considerable measures to identify and address, to the extent possible, current and future climate risks at policy and operational levels. In 2017, Saint Lucia embarked on its National Adaptation Planning (NAP) process to facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation considerations into all relevant policies and programmes, and into development planning. Through the NAP process, initiatives to address critical climate change-related risks and development priorities are being developed in an integrated and coordinated manner, utilising existing and future synergies.

Saint Lucia’s NAP has been defined as a 10-year process consisting of priority cross-sectoral and sectoral adaptation activities, complemented with Sectoral Adaptation Strategies and Action Plans (SASAPs). The Government of Saint Lucia has secured a second round of funding through the United States In-Country NAP Support Program through the NAP Global Network to continue the NAP process including a Resilient Ecosystems Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan will be developed.

Given the importance placed on resources and ecosystems at the global level, and the priority to ensure the sustainable use and conservation these natural resources and ecosystems of the oceans’ resources at the national level, the GOSL, is spearheading the development of a Resilient Ecosystems Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan in Saint Lucia, as a priority selected in consultation with the National Climate Change Committee.

Minister Dr. Gale Rigobert acknowledges the importance of a coordinated approach to climate change adaptation across all sectors, and anticipates the emerging adaptation measures deemed critical for building resilience of the country’s ecosystems. Dr. Rigobert adds that “this approach is consistent with the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan for climate change, efforts being undertaken in Biodiversity conservation and will follow the steps, format and recommendations offered in the 2018 ‘Guidelines for the development of SASAPs’ prepared by the Government of Saint Lucia.”


Last October stakeholders came together to review the various measures and to begin to develop project concept notes as part of a project portfolio for this strategy and action plan. At yesterday’s meeting, the measures were validated and endorsed by relevant stakeholders, these will guide decision-making processes related to development and climate change adaptation of Saint Lucia’s ecosystems (both terrestrial and marine), offering solutions to technical, institutional, financial, and regulatory and policy limitations currently hampering adaptation in the sector.

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

14-15 March 2019

Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia

Environmental factors have long had an impact on global migration flows, as people have historically left places with harsh or deteriorating conditions. However, the scale of such flows, both internal and cross-border, is expected to rise as a result of accelerated climate change, with unprecedented impacts on lives and livelihoods. Such migration can have positive and negative effects on both the local coping capacity and the environment in areas from which these migrants originate, as well as in their temporary or permanent destinations.

To support the efforts of policymakers and practitioners in addressing migration, environment and climate change challenges, a two-day regional workshop covering the Eastern Caribbean is implemented by IOM on behalf of the Global Programme “Sustainable Management of Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change” (HMCCC) implemented by GIZ.

This regional workshop aims to build the capacity of policymakers and practitioners to factor migration into environmental and climate change policies, and to consider environmental change in comprehensive migration management policies at the regional and national level. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for policymakers across key institutional sectors to exchange expertise and discuss possible collaboration on migration, environment and climate change.

The Workshop is implemented by IOM on behalf of the Global Programme Sustainable Management of Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change (HMCCC) implemented by GIZ

The Government of Saint Lucia and private sector stakeholders gathered for critical talks on 27th February 2019, in preparation for Saint Lucia’s first Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Saint Lucia has delivered three national communications on climate change. These reports provide information on Saint Lucia’s efforts to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Biennial Update Report will be used to further share information, especially about Saint Lucia’s effort to mitigate climate change, and also to chart the way forward for the sustainable development of the country.

The meeting discussed the greenhouse gas inventory (which estimates the emissions of gases that cause the warming of the planet) and mitigation assessments conducted under the Third National Communication process, as well as the proposed work plan in these areas for the project cycle 2019-2020.

Currently, the island is working along with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to promote the Biennial Update Report activities. The process allows for building the capacity of civil servants and members of the private sector, compile the various data sets and produce various evidenced-based reports.

To this end, Saint Lucia has successfully secured a project valued at US$352,000 to undertake the data collection, analysis and production of the Biennial Update Report, well as to engage in public education and outreach on climate change. The main objective of this project is to advance Saint Lucia’s obligations in combating and responding to the effects of climate change under the UNFCCC process.

Minister for Sustainable Development, Dr Gale T.C. Rigobert noted:  Meeting our obligations under international conventions is essential to us securing the necessary financial support in order to be able to further mitigate and adapt to climate change. Saint Lucia continues to lead the charge as a small island developing state which continues to be adversely affected by the impacts of climate change.”

The National Climate Change Committee will lend support to the implementation of activities for the duration of the project over the next two years.

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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Under the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, the Government of Saint Lucia is continuing its efforts to increase engagement with the private sector on climate change. Across the world, the important role that the private sector plays in the fight against climate change has been increasingly highlighted. Scarcity of domestic funds from the Government purse has further brought into the spotlight the need for additional investments and the meaningful role that the private sector can play to bridge the funding gap.

As part of this thrust, the Department of Sustainable Development hosted a follow-up consultation to one previously held in November 2018. This consultation, which took place on 11th February, will assist in finalizing the development of a Climate Change Private Sector Engagement Strategy and a Public-Private Sector Partnership Proposal, which will be submitted for funding. The consultation brought together stakeholders from the private sector, Government and civil society.

In addition, input was sought towards the development of a Climate Financing Strategy for Saint Lucia. The Climate Financing Strategy also forms part of the Department’s continued NAP process.  The Climate Financing Strategy will outline the public and private sources of climate financing available, both domestically and internationally, highlighting which sources of financing would be most relevant and feasible for the various measures and concept notes included in the NAP and Sectoral Adaptation Strategies and Action Plans (SASAPs), and how the Saint Lucia Government can access the funds.

In both cases, 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). 

Minister with responsibility for climate change, Honourable Dr. Gale T.C. Rigobert, is in full support of the various elements of the NAP process and the effort made to involve all players in finding innovative and practical solutions to the real challenge 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 451 8746.        

A consultation for public awareness focal points from various departments with the mandate to implement the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) initiatives, was held on January 22, 2018, at the Finance Administration Building. The gathering was purposed to impress upon representatives, the urgent need to take ownership in collaboration with the Communications Officer, to inform the public on the activities—hard and soft—which have been implemented via the DVRP and moreso, to inform on how the citizenry is practically benefiting from the said projects. Correspondingly, the forum sought to prioritize public awareness efforts going forward.

Public awareness consultation


The Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, aims to significantly reduce vulnerability to natural hazards and to the adverse impacts of climate change in Saint Lucia. 
The enormousness of the infrastructural and other works to be undertaken under the DVRP, is unprecedented, and every Saint Lucian stands to benefit.

Rightfully so, the DVRP gives special emphasis to Public Education and Outreach, with the key objective of empowering the general public to take meaningful action to build resilience to natural and climate-related disasters.

The overall goal of the Public Education and Awareness Strategy, is to engender a sense of collective and individual responsibility for climate change among the general public, which will result in meaningful and effective individual and collective response and action, with respect to adapting to climate change.

Indeed, the Report on Social Assessment and Resettlement Policy Framework generated by the Government in 2013, emphasizes that raising awareness of climate change issues among students, residents, businesses and commuters, among others, will complement the social development outcomes of the DVRP, as this is integral to strategies aimed at poverty reduction in communities.

Whilst a wide cross-section of the public has been reached since the launch of the DVRP, communicating public awareness on critical matters cannot be overdone.

Representatives of departments with implementation responsibilities were sensitized to the utmost significance of sensitizing the public on the varied initiatives emanating from the DVRP, as well as to continue to provide critical information on how the citizenry is pragmatically reaping the rewards from projects thus far implemented.

In delivering welcome remarks, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Department of Sustainable Development, Silka Tobias, urged the participants “to take ownership of and to give support to public awareness initiatives particularly considering the time left before the Project comes to an end.”

Cheryl Mathurin, Project Coordinator, in the Project Coordinating Unit, emphasized the need for all implementing agencies to sing from the same song sheet: “We must see ourselves as one unit,” she remarked. “We are quite aware that much has been achieved since the launch of the DVRP. When otherwise is heard, it is your responsibility to point to the obvious evidence that proves, that whilst some delays exist, there is much to be applauded.”

The consultation was hailed as being timely. Participants expressed great satisfaction with the information garnered and pledged to play their part in ensuring that public outreach is given priority.

Visit the DVRP’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DVRPSTLUCIA/

Press Release

26 November 2018. On the eve of the next global climate change conference to be held in Poland in December, and following the release of a special report by the International Panel on Climate Change that highlights the urgent need for action by governments, industries and individuals to contain global warming, Panos Caribbean is launching a new regional campaign to support the Caribbean and other vulnerable countries in the fight against climate change.

The face of the campaign is a new, powerful painting by Saint Lucian – American artist Jonathan Gladding. It pictures a young girl with her body almost entirely submerged by sea-level rise, and with her fingers sending the desperate message that she needs #1point5tostayalive.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Gladding

Saint Lucian poet and playwright Kendel Hippolyte, who played a lead role in the campaign to secure the historic Paris Agreement in 2015, has called on Caribbean artists to add their voice to the call for decisive global action against climate change.

“We cannot look at our children and grandchildren and say we did nothing or we did not know what to do. Whatever artistic gift we have – and whatever rewards it brings or we hope it will bring – will not mean a thing if all we hand over to our descendants is a planet that is their funeral pyre even while they are alive,” says Hippolyte.

Hippolyte has also revealed that he is working on a new theme song, entitled “1.5 Is Still Alive”, in collaboration with musician and humanitarian Taj Weekes. As was done in 2015 with the theme song of the campaign leading to the Paris conference, this project will bring together a number of well-known Caribbean singers.

“In a campaign such as this,” says Panos Caribbean’s coordinator Yves Renard, “artists play a pivotal role, because their voices are known and credible, and because they are able to convey messages in ways that resonate with the culture, feelings and concerns of people and communities. We encourage all organisations,” Renard said, “to reproduce Jonathan Gladding’s beautiful painting and use it to convey the urgency of action.”

The Paris Agreement signed at the historic climate conference in 2015 called on all countries “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase … to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial average”. Climate change experts now confirm that global warming is on track to break the 1.5°C mark by around 2040.

Experts agree that an increase of average global temperature above 1.5°C will have disastrous impacts on the Caribbean and other vulnerable regions of the world, but they also believe that it is possible to contain global warming, that we have the technology to reduce our impact on the climate.

 

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