GIS: The Saint Lucian Scientist Spoke on the Importance of Establishing Strong Inter-Sector Linkages.

Saint Lucian scientist, Dr. James Fletcher, has called on Caribbean governments to make greater use of local or indigenous knowledge when addressing climate change.

Dr. Fletcher made those comments during a presentation at a climate change lecture last week, organized by the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

Dr. Fletcher, a former Saint Lucian senator and minister with responsibility for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, said the Caribbean society is emerging as one which thinks that everything has to be done using modern techniques.

“The indigenous knowledge of previous generations is actually based on a longer period of observation than some scientific studies. Sometimes, work published in scientific journals will be based on two years of research; but what your parents, grandparents and great grandparents have observed is over a period of 70, 100, or 150 years, we sometimes discount that for the more recent scientific knowledge,” he said.

“I am a scientist so I will never talk down science but we have to find a way to marry the science with the indigenous knowledge so that we can have systems and solutions that are better suited to our culture and our environment.”

Dr. Fletcher also spoke on the importance of establishing strong inter-sector and inter-agency linkages, as climate change is not a concern of the Ministry for the Environment alone, but all agencies.

“This concerns ministries of finance, agriculture, health, infrastructure—every single government agency; it concerns groups, community-based organizations, and churches. Everybody has to get involved.”

Meanwhile Dr. Fletcher, has called for building resilience at all levels of national systems, adding that development must be sustainable, and must meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In 2015, Dr. Fletcher led Saint Lucia, at the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21), in Paris.