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Chastanet issues climate change challenge

Chastanet issues climate change challenge

Hon. Allen Chastenet, Prime Minister of St. Lucia

Press Release:–  The Government of Saint Lucia and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations (UNECLAC), hosted the fifth meeting of the Caribbean Development Round Table, under the theme “Promoting Climate Resilience and Sustainable Economic Growth in the Caribbean,” and the twenty-seventh session of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee on April 26 and 27.

In frank and pointed remarks, Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastenet, also the Chairperson of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee called for deliberate action in dealing with climate change, questioning the preparedness of the region for the hurricane season, which is exactly one month away.

“Climate change doesn’t discriminate,” he said. “It does not have any empathy for you because you are a poor country. It does not have any empathy because more people are unemployed. It does not have any empathy because people in your country are older. It does not have any empathy that you are not prepared. There is no pause button that you can press to get your house in order—it is coming. The sad reality for us in the Caribbean and the most frustrating part of what we are having to face is that we can’t control it. Therefore, the only thing we can do is build resilience.

“At the end of every session, I pull out a pen, for the IMF and other financial institutions to be able to classify the depth of this region to build resilience, is a pen. So once more, the hard evidence that the world is not listening and are not emphatic towards the smallest partners, is evidence. So I am appealing to ECLAC to make sure they become the great generation of implementers.”

Financing green investment for resilience building and structural transformation in the Caribbean, the vulnerability of Caribbean economies caused by de risking and challenges to the offshore financial sector, and implementing the ECLAC debt swap initiative, were among a number of topical areas discussed at last week’s meeting.

Meanwhile, the 37th session of ECLAC will be held from May 7-11 2018 in Havana.

Caribbean environmental experts explore climate change and public health responses

Flooding in Cuba *Photo credits: IPS News

Flooding in Cuba *Photo credits: IPS News

The Caribbean, mainly comprised of small island nations, is the world’s most tourist-dependent region, and one of the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.

Within recent times, the Region has experienced more frequent and severe storms and hurricanes, increases in mosquito-borne diseases, rises in sea level, prolonged periods of drought and salt water intrusion of coastal groundwater sources, which pose a significant threat to human health.

Recognizing the critical need to be more climate change resilient, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), UNEP-Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR-RCU), and the Government of Saint Lucia, will host a Conference to address issues related to climate change and health.

Dr.-James-Hospedales-1024x682

CARPHA Executive Director Dr. James Hospedales said that because Climate Change threatens traditional public health infrastructure, the focus will be on environmental health services.

Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales explained that “climate change threatens traditional public health infrastructure. It will stress environmental health services, such as efforts to respond to severe weather events and disease outbreaks, provide assurance of drinking water safety, and implement vector control measures.

At the same time measures like alternative transport such as biking and walking and rapid mass transport can improve population health, mitigate climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and reduce the import bill for oil.”  He added that the Conference “will bring together government representatives, and regional and international organizations to address issues of public health, environment and socio-economic well-being.”

The meeting, which will be held at the Golden Palm Conference Centre in Saint Lucia, runs from November 18 – 20 November, 2015, and will serve as a platform for information-sharing, and also as a “think tank” for developing innovative, Caribbean-specific solutions to our environmental health and sustainable development challenges.

Agenda items include discussions on preparations for Zika Virus and recent experiences with Chikungunya; food and water security; achievements of the Caribbean Cooperation for Health III; and a Caribbean Environmental Health Officers and Partners Planning Session.

Credit: St. Lucia News Online
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