January 29, 2018
Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia has, since the communication of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in 2015, followed by the adoption of the Paris Agreement that same year, and its subsequent entry into force in 2016, remained committed to fulfilling its obligations that will contribute to achieving the global climate change agenda. NDCs are central to the Paris Agreement and require all countries – developed and developing – to extend efforts consistent with their national circumstances, towards implementing the Agreement. Like other countries, Saint Lucia has remained resolute in strategically exploring avenues that will lead to realizing the targets outlined in our NDC.
In September 2017, Members of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States gathered in this same room when the regional NDC kick off meeting was jointly convened by the Government of Saint Lucia and the OECS Commission, for the purpose of planning for the regional NDC Investment Forum. This was in the middle of one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit our islands. Hurricane Maria, further embedded in our minds that the need to vigorously pursue effective climate resilience building was even more urgent. It also reminded us that as Small Island Developing States, together, much can be achieved especially in the face of such devastation. Sadly, we continue to bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change, both physically and financially.
Today, Saint Lucia is continuing the journey started last September, of advancing plans that will position us to transition to a low carbon economy and to build our resilience against the impacts of climate change.
For Saint Lucia to accomplish this, continued stakeholder engagement is paramount. In 2015, when the NDC was prepared, you, our valued stakeholders, played an important role in the data gathering and analysis process. You were also there when the various proposed interventions in the energy, electricity generation and transport sectors were defined. Some of you would have also been involved in the implementation, or the further strategizing of, some of the interventions that have, so far, been pursued.
We remain cognizant of the fact that at no point in time, will the Government of Saint Lucia be able to effectively move forward with successfully implementing our NDC without your input. As such, the approach that has been adopted is one wherein we ensure that you are with us every step of the way, from conceptualizing every action, no matter how small, to implementing and achieving our goals.
I wish to emphasize the importance of your presence here today, not only to ensure that we continue to move forward with designing the right interventions, but to also ensure that these interventions and plans for partnership and development, are crafted so that you are able to continue to take part in their implementation and to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented in the coming months and years.
I say this particularly for the benefit of our private sector stakeholders. You are strongly encouraged to ensure that the strategies and projects developed – as Saint Lucia builds its pipeline of projects for showcasing at the upcoming regional Investment Forum – reflect the input, needs and potential for our private sector entities here in Saint Lucia.
For this purpose, let us focus on designing implementable and impactful transformational interventions and plans to achieve our targets. We need to align our national efforts with the opportunities presented to us. We know, for example, that clean technology offers immense opportunities for economic prosperity. With this in mind, we can begin to align our national efforts with those opportunities that will allow us to fulfill the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. I make specific reference here, to the Sustainable Development Goals that require countries to pursue efforts that ensure economic growth, instigate climate action, achieve energy security, provide sustainable jobs, have cleaner cities and enhance our national security.
These are the grounds on which we must develop robust interventions that will be reflective of the ambitions we communicated in 2015. We must seek to ramp up the ambitions expressed in our NDC come 2020, as in another two years, in keeping with the NDC cycle, we are required to take stock of our progress in contributing to a reduction in global warming by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
As co-lead on the Ambition work stream of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC), I am especially proud to be here today. Saint Lucia continues to encourage strong leadership among Small Island Developing States, as we continue this climate change battle and to reinforce the need to remain ambitious in our efforts at implementing the Paris Agreement.
For its part, this government remains conscious that the successful realization of our NDC targets will be dependent on the development of an inclusive institutional domestic agenda, which comprises supportive incentives, policies and regulations; and the establishment of strategic partnerships at the local, regional and international levels.
It is for this reason that the convening of this stakeholder consultation among you, the experts, partners and potential partners, is highly endorsed and supported. This consultation, which provides an opportunity to critically examine our NDC and to determine the best way forward for further financial and technical support, is a critical success factor for Saint Lucia to remain ahead of the field and to seize the opportunities available.
Ladies and gentlemen, the presence of our supporting partners and the various institutions from within and outside of the region, is an indication of the confidence in Saint Lucia’s ability to use this consultation, to secure the necessary support required to develop the appropriate strategic approach as a step towards designing attractive and bankable projects to advance our NDC implementation. These projects must be feasible and appealing enough, to bring on board committed investors with large-scale investments that will unlock significant climate financing for Saint Lucia.
Let me therefore express gratitude at this point to our partners in the room and those who are not present here today, who have stood by Saint Lucia as we continue to fight the global challenges that threaten our existence. Permit me to make special mention of the NDC Partnership Support Unit and the Germany’s Agency for International Cooperation GIZ. Both entities have been extremely supportive of Saint Lucia’s efforts to implement its NDC.
In addition to communicating its NDC in 2015, Saint Lucia further signaled its political commitment to the process, by becoming the first Caribbean country to join the NDC Partnership in 2016. This, in itself, also demonstrated our endorsement of this body to provide support to Small Island Developing States in helping to address climate change issues.
To date, the mode of support provided by the NDC Partnership Support Unit is one that ensures that a strong country-driven process is maintained.
So far, this partnership has seen efforts that will result in Saint Lucia being aligned with the right developing partners. Additionally, and quite importantly, is the effort made for Saint Lucia to be matched with a Facilitator through the Partnership. Final arrangements are being made to engage the GIZ in this capacity. In this regard, there will be more support to the Government of Saint Lucia, in assisting the country in articulating our needs to all national, regional and international stakeholders; as we stay abreast of the NDC landscape at these levels. Further support is also provided with the assignment of a Country Coordinator, who is already on board; who will work closely with the Department of Sustainable Development, the Facilitator and all stakeholders.
Having established these partnerships, we are confident that Saint Lucia’s interest will be maintained and reflected in the quality and types of transformational projects to be developed, which will steer us in transitioning to a sustainable energy state.
Ladies and gentlemen, despite the myriad of challenges we face in the confines of our small economy and space, we continue to manage the resources at our disposal. We continue to strive for what is in the best interest of the people of Saint Lucia. Notwithstanding our contribution of a miniscule 0.0015 percent to global emissions, Saint Lucia continues to fulfill its obligations under the various Conventions and Agreements to which it is party.
So, as we move into the day’s agenda, let us do so with a view to ensuring the achievement of meaningful outcomes that will steer us in a direction filled with opportunities, which will serve to meet our financial, technical and capacity building priority needs capable of transcending all sectors.
With these few words, let me wish you the very best for today and I have no doubt that we are all committed to this process. I look forward to the outcomes of this consultation with great anticipation.