The fight to avert the Climate crisis is one that requires the inclusive action and meaningful participation of everyone and failure to take the necessary steps is not only morally wrong but is intellectually dishonest.
So said Minister of Sustainable Development Carlos James, during his address on behalf of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to the Resumed High-Level Segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland on November 9.
James condemned the delay in implementation of concrete actions required to ensure that our planet remains below the 1.5 degree C target and called for urgent action to avert the climate crisis.
Describing this past year as “the most challenging period” in the post-colonial history of SVG, the Minister said the UNFCCC Synthesis Report clearly indicates that current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are woefully inadequate.
“They will not bridge the gap between existing commitments and the 1.5 degree C pathway. We must accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in this decisive decade, to achieve net zero by 2050.”
He strongly condemned what he called “the reckless endangerment” of the 72 million people living in Small Island Developing States and said to compromise on the required targets and measures is a death sentence for our people.
“At the national level, SVG has prioritized adaptation and mitigation actions. My country continues to do its part on the local front in our global fight against climate change including, inter alia, ongoing work on hydropower plants, a solar farm at the international airport and increasing the resilience of our water infrastructure as an archipelagic state.
“Further, on the international level, we seek for comprehensive solutions as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council,” James said, adding that with all our best efforts, we cannot do it alone.
He said new and additional finance, technology transfer and capacity building support are required to ensure we can fully implement the Paris Agreement.
“We therefore welcome the efforts of those developed countries that signaled their intention to scale up finance pledges, and we urge others to move swiftly to deliver on the outstanding $100 billion per annum commitment.”
He called for definitive progress on tracking the delivery of these promised funds, as well as the establishment of a New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance by 2023.
The Minister described as “critically important”, access to grant-based funding for mitigation and adaptation actions in Small Island Developing States.
He also said it is a fallacy to think that a global crisis, like Climate Change, can be tackled without every country fully committing to this cause.
“This fight requires the inclusive action and meaningful participation of everyone.”
He commended Taiwan’s efforts to legislate climate targets and said they should be at the table for these discussions.
“The world is watching. COP26 must be remembered for completing the Paris Rule book and ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Anything less will be deemed a failure.
“We cannot afford to squander decades of hard work. The stakes are TOO high and time is running out!” the Minister ended.