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SVG’s Climate Change Resilience agenda gets major boost

SVG’s Climate Change Resilience agenda gets major boost

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The efforts by St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) through its foreign policy, to bring attention to the effects of climate change on small island states and deliver solutions, got a major boost last Sunday.

On that day, November 11, 2018, the Editorial Board of the Miami Herald endorsed the efforts of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which has launched a campaign to help create a climate change survival blueprint for the Caribbean. For SVG, this is of major significance as the Chairman of ECOSOC is Inga Rhonda King, this country’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

SVG is very familiar with the devastating effects of climate change. Since 2010, this country has been struck by several major weather events, resulting in loss and damage amounting to over $700 million. These major events have individually caused loss and damage amounting to between 5 and 15 per cent of GDP. In addition to slowing our economic growth, these weather events have increased our debt.

SVG, through Ambassador King, is therefore well placed to speak about the urgency of the situation. ECOSOC has declared that the paramount mission now is to bring together government and business leaders, scientists and civil society activists to deliver solutions and build climate resilience to the Caribbean as a whole.

Our ambassador is encouraging the island nations of the Caribbean to unite, organize and act as one in dealing with climate change. In a statement, she said “Either we sink together or build climate resilience. There is no other option,” King said. “The time to talk is over, the time to act is now.”

King’s leadership on this important issue was praised by the Editorial Board of the Miami Herald, which is a major and influential publication in the United States and the leading source of local information in South Florida.

The endorsement of King’s efforts comes just days after SVG held its biennial consultation for heads of missions and consulates here in Kingstown. At that consultation, climate change and its effects was an important item on the agenda and our ambassadors were urged to prioritize it in their work.

According to the Miami Herald, King has detailed three main “must-dos” for the Caribbean to prepare for future under a foot of water: 1. Develop a clear and compelling long-term vision to be a climate-resilient region. 2. Acquire requisite support from the international community, in terms of both financial and technical resources, for what is in many respects a resource-constrained region. 3. Translate the regional and national vision into concrete programs that can deliver climate resilience using a whole-of-society approach.

We commend and congratulate Ambassador King for her sterling performance and urge other Caribbean island nations to work with her as ECOSOC rolls out the climate change survival blueprint for the Caribbean.

Climate change is real. We must act now or sink tomorrow.

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