12th October 2018
Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia
I am especially pleased to welcome you to this very significant gathering as we continue our deliberations on shaping the Caribbean Nationally Determined Contributions Finance Initiative, being staged under the theme of Caribbean Climate Leadership: Accelerating NDC Implementation. I want to express my sincerest appreciation to my colleague Ministers who have joined me here today. I know that your presence be here is a clear signal of the importance that you place on the NDCFI, as I have some idea of the competing priorities from which you had to choose.
My esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, leadership and acceleration are what we are reminded of as we continue to face and fight the severe impacts of climate change. I see many familiar faces – faces that have been present at the front of this battle line at the national, regional and international levels. Your presence here today is symbolic of the continued commitment that is needed to ensure that we remain resolute in preserving the state of our environment.
I trust that yesterday’s deliberations were fruitful and that we are now in a better position where our needs and priorities are more clearly articulated. I trust that we have also strengthened our existing partnerships and welcomed new partners as we undertake this journey to securing additional financing to implement our NDCs.
Let me appeal to my colleagues, that as we commence our day, let us focus on what we as Ministers need to do, to ensure that at the political level, our voices remain united on the issues at our doorsteps. We have made bold commitments that we must now honour, such as the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. This Forum is the type of event that is needed to inspire us to strive towards fulfilling these obligations and ignite the confidence in us as Small Island Developing States, to lead by example and move towards greater mitigation ambition.
Certainly, while we have made some progress, we still have not done enough to achieve the goals we agreed on in Paris. It is for this reason, that we need to identify our needs and priorities and begin to map them against the emerging opportunities.
Colleagues the new IPCC report is challenging us to pursue meaningful transformational change. It is still possible to limit global warming to below 1.5°C – the science is clear on this. What is needed is the political will and urgent action.
Securing funding for mitigation and adaptation efforts remains an enormous challenge for us in this region. We need to insist on simplified financing processes as we are spending substantial national funds to cope with climate impacts and are often caught in the vicious cycle of repair and recovery. There is a clear need for adequate, predictable, sustainable and accessible climate finance to address these challenges, in support of NDC implementation.
We must consider the future of our NDCs. With respect to mitigation, we must insist on distinct guidance on NDC features, information and accounting, considering the request to Parties to communicate updated NDCs before 2020.
We need to seize every opportunity to make our voices heard and to push for action on our behalf. It is with this need in mind, that this past June, Saint Lucia joined 22 other nations in signing a Declaration on Climate Action. This Declaration underscores the urgency for countries to enhance their NDCs by 2020 in line with the Paris Agreement.
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to see the extensive involvement of the private sector in this Forum. The private sector has a fundamental role in supporting Member States’ transition to clean energy economies. Here are chances to recognize opportunities for innovation and strategic partnerships. Greater involvement of our utility companies in the NDC implementation process is key.
Like Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica have advanced their National Energy Transition Strategies and Integrated Resource Plans (NETS/IRP). Let us use this as an opportunity for peer learning and knowledge-sharing in this area. There is so much we can gain from each other’s experiences.
The NDCFI is not a one stop shop. We envisage that the interest generated over this week will inspire all of us here to continue this journey together. The NDCFI also aims to continue serving as a regional open platform, which welcomes active engagement and participation.
I am therefore already looking forward to our second Caribbean NDC Finance Initiative Forum. Let us not lose the momentum; let us not lose focus of our goals; let us not stumble when the world expects us to.
I am eager to see how today unfolds. So, let me invite you to settle in for what promises to be an insightful and informative day.
Colleagues, distinguished invitees, ladies and gentlemen – welcome and I thank you for your attention.
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.