(PRESS RELEASE) — Prime Minister Allen M. Chastanet is this week leading a Saint Lucia delegation to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, where climate change and Small Island Developing States will be among the key issues.
Prime Minister Chastanet, also current CARICOM chairman, will address the historic Climate Action Summit, an initiative of the UN Secretary-General, on Monday, September 23.
It is anticipated that the UN Summit will deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear.
Speaking of the Summit, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stated: “The best science, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, tells us that any temperature rise above 1.5 degrees will lead to major and irreversible damage to the ecosystems that support us. Science tells us that on our current path, we face at least 3-degrees Celsius of global heating by the end of the century. The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win. This is not a climate talk summit.”
“We have had enough talk,” he added. “This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.”
Guterres was a special guest of the Caribbean Community for the 40th Meeting of Heads of Government held in Saint Lucia in July. At the time, Prime Minister Chastanet spoke about the disastrous effect of climate change, referencing the increasingly destructive superstorms affecting the Caribbean.
“The last two years have taught us that the countries that are the greatest emitters and the cause of our current plight, are not sufficiently willing to compensate us for the damage that is being done. Despite our best efforts, they have deliberately not amended international economic protocols to even allow us to make the necessary investments in building resilience. We have to urgently look for more immediate and innovative ways to solve our problems,” the prime minister noted, adding that CARICOM was seeking to create its own resilience foundation. “We also need a new governance structure that will allow us to draw down on the funds more quickly. We can’t take five years to implement these resilience projects.”
During his statement on Monday at the Climate Action Summit, Prime Minister Chastanet is expected to expound on the resilience fund and to address the recent devastation in the Bahamas caused by the passage of Hurricane Dorian.
Forming part of Saint Lucia’s delegation is Minister with responsibility for External Affairs, Sarah Flood Beaubrun; Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to CARICOM and Permanent Secretary, H.E. Elma Gene Isaac; Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Saint Lucia to the United Nations, H.E. Cosmos Richardson and Saint Lucia’s US Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), H.E. Anton Edmunds.
Other features of the week at UNGA include the World Economic Forum Impact Summit, high-level dialogue on financing for development, India-CARICOM Meeting and several bilateral meetings.
The prime minister is expected to deliver his statement to the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 27, 2019.
During the Prime Minister’s absence, Minister for Economic Development, Housing, Urban Renewal, Transport and Civil Aviation Guy Joseph serves as acting prime minister.