VANCOUVER, Canada, August 24, 2023, [PMO] – Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister of Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment, capitalized on the hosting of the Ministerial on Nature on the margins of the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to share and champion the innovative policies being implemented in the Federation to build a Sustainable Island State. The first Ministerial on Nature, organized by the Government of Canada and hosted by Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Federal Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, is aimed at consolidating gains made at the Conference of the Parties on Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and the resulting Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed to last year (2022) in Montreal. 

During her intervention, Dr. Clarke reminded ministerial colleagues of the limitations and burdens placed on Small Island Developing States in the areas of access to finance and technical expertise and welcomed the 7th Assembly of the GEF and the official launch of the Global Biodiversity Fund. This new mechanism will be another key instrument that the Small Island States will be able to draw on to finance the green and blue transitions.  

“For Saint Kitts and Nevis, we recognize that framing our ambition around biodiversity through economic diversification and sustainable development goals is important. For very small island states and large ocean states, we recognize that the survivability of our people is directly linked through biodiversity conservation, what you eat, and your income are directly linked to it. So, we definitely recognize the importance of mobilizing, not just domestic resources or budgetary resources, towards the protection of biodiversity and also to engage our local partners, our local communities, in managing and conserving our biodiversity…However, when it comes to philanthropy I want to stress the importance of ensuring that philanthropy and support of the resources that we direct towards NGOs and civil society organizations are flexible and easy to access because we cannot move the needle with local action if accessing resources is as difficult for civil society as it is for Governments of small islands like Saint Kitts and Nevis to access necessary funds”, Dr. Clarke stated.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is also expected to benefit from the launch of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Champions Network of Ministers – a key deliverable of the Ministerial on Nature. This new initiative, spearheaded by Canada, will bring key influencers together to force meaningful change ahead of COP16.

The Ministerial on Nature retreat, in Squamish, British Colombia, brought together indigenous leaders from British Colombia and high-level participants from the United States, the United Kingdom, Rwanda, Jamaica, Barbados, the Seychelles, and many other countries leading the charge for biodiversity protection.  The Ministerial on Nature is expected to end in a clear pathway for marrying nature-based solutions in the fight for climate action. 

Dr. Clarke also used the meeting to convey the sympathies and solidarity of the Government and people of Saint Kitts and Nevis as Canada continues to be subjected to devastating wildfires. 

Hon. Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister of Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment (right, front row); and Dr. Marcus Natta, Cabinet Secretary and Incoming GEF Political Focal Point (middle, back row), at the Ministerial on Nature Meeting in Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Clarke took the floor to update ministerial colleagues on the efforts being undertaken to update the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan in line with the Global Biodiversity Framework which aims to protect 30 percent of sea and land by 2030.  The Minister informed that Saint Kitts and Nevis is mobilizing resources and partnerships through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the GEF’s Early Action Programme.

She invited partners to work with the Federation in its ambitious pursuits toward building resilience and sustainability. The Minister confidently assured her colleagues that Saint Kitts and Nevis will head into COP16, slated for Turkey in 2024, in a much stronger position vis-à-vis the protection and preservation of the Federation’s rich biodiversity.

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