Saint Lucia’s Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, James Fletcher, was the sole representative from the Caribbean in a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change convened by the European Union at the European Commission’s Headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
The meeting was organised to generate discussion on the key issues leading up to the UN Secretary General’s Special Summit on Climate Change in September and the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima in December 2014, which is expected to agree on a new international Climate Change Agreement for 2015.
Among the major subjects discussed by the ministers and senior government officials of the 33 invited countries were mitigation in the 2015 Agreement, adaptation, means of implementing climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building, and pre 2020 mitigation ambition.
In his presentation to the meeting, Dr. Fletcher spoke of the need for steep near-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that the increase in global temperatures is kept to within the 1.5 degree goal agreed by Small Island Developing States as being critical for their survival. Saint Lucia’s sustainable development minister reminded the meeting of the absolute necessity for the new Climate Change Agreement to give explicit priority to the adaptation needs of Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as they were the most vulnerable developing countries.
Minister Fletcher pointed to his country’s unfortunate experiences with Hurricane Tomas and the Christmas Eve Trough to make the point to his ministerial colleagues that the impacts of climate change threatened to absorb an ever-increasing share of the GDP of SIDS like Saint Lucia, and it would not be fair or right for this burden to be left on the shoulders of SIDS and LDCs to address. He further indicated that any new agreement had to establish a system to address the permanent loss and damage that SIDS were already facing from the actions of other countries.
In summarising his country’s position to the EU Ministerial Meeting, Minister Fletcher called for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol from all parties to reflect a legally-binding commitment to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and expressed a need for progress in closing the gap in mitigation ambition.