UK COP26 Champion of Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience visits Saint Lucia
Written by Radio Caribbean International on September 10, 2021
As the UK gears up to host COP26 this November, it is keen to hear and understand the challenges that small island developing states (SIDS) such as Saint Lucia face regarding climate change. The UK Champion of Adaptation and Resilience for COP26, Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, visited Saint Lucia from 5 – 7 September. Minister Trevelyan came to get a first-hand appreciation of how Saint Lucia is tackling the impact of climate change and implementing adaptation and resilience measures. Saint Lucia is co-chair along with the UK of the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) whose aim is to build momentum and support action for increased adaptation and resilience to climate change. The ministerial visit included a mix of high-level governmental meetings and site visits to climate-resilient initiatives and projects.
Minister Trevelyan’s first stop was a tour of Fresh Harvest, a climate-resilient farm in Dennery operated by female farmer, Kashar Daniel. Kashar explained her use of adaptation techniques to manage issues like soil erosion and intermittent drought. She is a member of Helen’s Daughters, a non-profit entity dedicated to equip women farmers with knowledge and expertise for market access. Executive Director of Helen’s Daughters, Keithlin Caroo, also joined Kashar on the farm tour and explained the key issues affecting local farmers. The minister lauded Kashar’s climate-smart initiatives as forward-thinking and the future of agriculture in this climate change era. She was then invited to plant a mango tree to mark the occasion of the visit.
The Millennium Highway-West Coast Road Rehabilitation Project was Minister Trevelyan’s next stop. The UK, through the UK-Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), is providing £28.5million for the project (co-funded by the CDB and Government of Saint Lucia), to improve the climate resilience of the road network while reducing travel time and improving road safety. The Minister spoke with persons who will be affected by the project and the impact that it will have on their lives and livelihoods.
The second day of the visit featured two significant meetings, first with the OECS and environment ministers from the sub-region; and then with Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, and Ministers Hon. Shawn Edward (Sustainable Development), Hon. Stephenson King (Infrastucture), Hon, Alva Baptiste (External Relations) and Hon. Wayne Girard (Finance, Economic Development and Youth Economy). In both meetings, Minister Trevelyan heard concerns surrounding access to finance; the need for technical assistance in responding to climate change challenges; and the economic impact of COVID-19. Minister Trevelyan assured Saint Lucia and the OECS of the UK’s commitment to amplify the voices of governments and civil society of SIDS at the upcoming COP. She reiterated that the UK is a SIDS ally and will be a steadfast partner in the negotiations to deliver real ambition and results for the region.
Minister Trevelyan was accompanied by Stefan Kossoff, UK Development Director for the Caribbean and Lesley Saunderson, Resident British Commissioner to Saint Lucia. COP stands for Conference of the Parties and is the United Nations annual climate change conference. COP26 is therefore the twenty-sixth such conference to be held in Glasgow this year.