As climate change becomes more prevalent worldwide, as well as in the federation, St. Kitts and Nevis is undertaking initiatives to ensure that the necessary measures are put in place to protect lives and livelihoods.
The most recent of such initiative was a stakeholder consultation workshop Oct. 3 geared toward enabling stakeholder input into the development of a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) to address the impacts of climate change and build resilience.
The minister of environment, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, noted that the consultation is quite timely and extremely important as there is a dire need to develop a comprehensive strategy in addressing the federation’s adaptation efforts.
“This consultation is critically important as you identify key priorities and needs of your various sectors that will feed into the strategy,” said Hamilton. “The views and inputs on the impacts, vulnerabilities and potential adaptation strategies related to climate change are required so that we can craft a strategy that addresses all levels and all sectors. The government’s approach to climate change has been relatively small, but I consider it to be significant increments. A draft of a national climate change policy is currently at cabinet for endorsement. The policy will guide the country’s pathway as it relates to addressing climate change.”
He noted that the development of a NCCAS is important because “although our contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions are small, the impacts of climate change on our nation and our region will be immense.”
The environment minister spoke to the ravages of hurricanes Irma and Maria to the islands, as well as neighbouring islands and noted that a number of sectors such as tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, water, finance and health were impacted.
“In response to the current and projected impacts, it is important therefore that St. Kitts and Nevis undertakes various initiatives that will reduce the risks to humans and natural assets [that] come from the change in climate and the cause of climate vulnerability,” he said. “St. Kitts and Nevis recognizes that for climate change impacts to be sustainably addressed it requires the work of everyone. For a low-lying coastal community like St. Kitts and Nevis, it is critically important that the necessary measures and actions are put in place to protect our beaches, coastline, infrastructure, roads, utility lines and buildings, as well as our lives. It is important to ensure that that is protected.”
On Oct. 2, the Department of Environment held a public consultation in St. Kitts, welcoming the views, experiences and inputs from community groups, civil society, fisher folk, and farmers on the impacts, vulnerabilities and potential adaptation strategies related to climate change. The same activity will take place in Nevis on Wednesday.
The development of the NCCAS is supported under the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Global Climate Change Alliance Project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management in the Eastern Caribbean, funded by the European Union. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute has been contracted by the OECS to facilitate the stakeholder consultations.