PRESS RELEASE:– Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Dr. Gale T C Rigobert, on Wednesday 7th September, participated in a CARICOM Ministerial meeting in Grenada, in preparation for the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) which will be held in Morocco later this year.

According to Dr. Rigobert, Climate Change is of critical concern because of the acute impact on our economy, people, livelihoods, physical resources and landscape.

For her, therefore, “Support for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures, and addressing loss and damage is imperative for vulnerable small island developing states such as ours.” The Ministerial meeting briefed Ministers responsible for Climate Change on developments since COP 21 in Paris and highlighted key areas for consideration at the forthcoming COP 22.

One of the major areas of concern was the availability of climate financing to small developing states. Dr. Rigobert, while recognizing the tremendous efforts that have been made, has lamented the slow uptake of available climate financing; “There are lots of climate financing options out there, but for one reason or another, many small developing states like Saint Lucia, have not been able to access significant amounts of the resources available.”

In this regard, therefore, Dr. Rigobert has committed to quadrupling current efforts to access these resources. She continued, “We need to speed things up to better position ourselves to access funding for critical adaptation and mitigation work.”

Speaking about the expectations for COP 22, Dr. Rigobert is confident that she and her team from Sustainable Development are well poised to participate fully and meaningfully in COP 22 and to build upon, and strengthen, Saint Lucia’s advocacy at the international level.

The Minister has indicated that she would like to see a greater level of interest in climate change from the private sector and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). “Overall, I would love to see a heightened interest in climate change matters by all actors as we continue our public education drive on climate change and related matters.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, CARICOM Ministers responsible for Climate reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining and strengthening the region’s influence at COP 22 in order to ensure that the interests, concerns and vulnerabilities of member states are taken into consideration and meaningfully inform the outcome.