Paris Agreement, of which SVG is a signatory, to be implemented before 2020
December 2, 2016
Paris Agreement, of which SVG is a signatory, to be implemented before 2020

St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is one of the 195 countries to have ratified the Paris Agreement.

And according to Prime Minister of SVG Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the fact that the Agreement has been ratified means that this country is in a position to receive a portion of the US$100 billion that is expected to be made available from 2020 to fight climate change.{{more}}

The Paris Agreement, or Accord de Paris, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, starting in the year 2020.

But although the Paris Agreement was not expected to be fully accepted until 2020, that is now not the case and the agreement was entered into force during the 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP 22) of the UNFCC, which was held in Marrekech, Morroco from November 7 to 18.

Gonsalves, who attended COP 22 with a high level delegation from SVG, noted that the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon described as “remarkable”, the fact that the Paris Agreement was entered into force so early before the 2020 deadline.

He noted that while there are still some climate change deniers, in places like the United States (US), the overwhelming majority of mankind accept it.

However, Gonsalves said that the fact that it was not anticipated that the Agreement would be ratified so soon, timelines had to be adjusted in light of the early entry into force and works that were framed around 2020 had to be adjusted.

He noted that the working group that was expected to prepare for the entry into force did not have the chance to meet to complete the work and met only once, so the political entry and the juridical entry ran ahead of the actual timelines and implementation of the details.

But according to the Prime Minister, he and a number of other countries are seeking to have the US$100 billion that has been promised increased.

He noted that while the Paris Accord speaks of US$100 billion a year from 2020 onwards to deal with the effects of climate change, that money is highly inadequate because of the number of countries that need help, including counties affected by desertification.

Gonsalves said during the COP 22 there was discussion on the need to increase adaptation finance, as a balance between adaptation and mitigation finance must be reached.

Gonsalves said that he joined with the G77 countries and China in calling for the quadrupling of adaptation finance.

Explaining the difference between adaptation and mitigation, he said that with adaptation, you are taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and you want to make sure you have things like sea defences, bridges, river defences, reforestation, housing construction and other infrastructure that help to build resilience.

“… so you need money for that adaptation,” stated Gonsalves, who noted that locally, some persons are saying that this country should not be given the funds needed for adaptation and mitigation, which is a foolish statement and must not be taken seriously.

“The issue of manmade climate change is a matter of existential significance to St Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Gonsalves on Monday during a press briefing at Cabinet Room.

He said that locally, we are seeing the ravages of climate change, which include excessive rainfall, rivers overflowing their banks, frequent storms, wave action, landslides and these things have caused significant destruction of infrastructure and loss of lives.

Among the persons who attended COP 22 were Janeille Miller-Findlay and Niasha Hamilton from the Ministry of Sustainable Development; Sehon Marshall of the Permanent Mission of SVG at the United Nations; Isis Gonsalves, a climate change fellow attached to Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) (work involves financing of adaptation and mitigation); Dr Douglas Slater, assistant secretary general in CARICOM and businessman Dwight Hillocks.

The Prime Minister, who returned here on November 24 after leaving on November 12, said that his principal business overseas was to attend the climate change conference, although a few persons locally questioned this country’s involvement.

And just one day after Gonsalves met with members of the media to speak about climate change issues, heavy rains ravaged the island causing widespread damage and millions of dollars in damage.

Apart from COP 22, the Morocco event also saw the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12) and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1).

The conference successfully demonstrated to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues.(LC)