PRESS RELEASE – Saint Lucia’s Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Hon. Dr. James Fletcher, was the Caribbean’s representative at a joint high-level side event on Resilience in SIDS.
The event was co-hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) on Sep. 2, at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa.
The high-level event, which was co-chaired by Mr. Kamalesh Sharma, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and Mr. Wu Hongbo, Secretary General of the Third SIDS Conference, featured the Prime Minister of the Seychelles, the Foreign Minister of Mauritius and Saint Lucia’s Sustainable Development Minister as panelists.
Among the issues addressed by the panelists were the challenges SIDS faced in building resilience; the key policies for building resilience in small states; the steps and actions that were of highest priority; and the role that the international community and key development partners should play in helping SIDS to build resilience.
Hon. James Fletcher shared with the panel and the audience the initiatives that had been undertaken by the Government of Saint Lucia to develop resilience, through interventions in areas such as energy security, disaster risk reduction, food security and the pilot programme for climate resilience (PPCR).
In his presentation, Dr. Fletcher highlighted the importance of making use of local and traditional knowledge, which had been built up over generations, to navigate some of the current-day challenges confronting Small Island Developing States. He indicated that a marriage of empirical data and scientific analysis with local and traditional knowledge would greatly assist SIDS like Saint Lucia to address some of their vulnerability issues.
Dr. Fletcher also reiterated the importance of Caribbean SIDS gaining access to concessionary financing to fund the several important interventions required to build resilience to climate change and the myriad challenges faced by small island nations.