Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has called for urgent action on climate change, asserting that the world must move beyond the hollow promises, crocodile tears and studied indifference to the root causes of the distress of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Chastanet is currently leading a Saint Lucia delegation to the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Climate Change and Small island Developing States are among the key issues being discussed.
“Small Island Developing States continue to lead on ambitious climate action. Our ambitions however, urgently require effective enabling financial support,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister said in a message posted on his official Facebook page.
“Our ability to cope with immediate and future impacts of climate change demands the redirection of investment and other financial flows towards meaningful climate action. This includes adaptation and resilience and mainstreaming climate risk into planning and investment decisions,” he observed.
According to Chastanet, SIDS remain on the front line of the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
He recalled that the Bahamas has the unfortunate distinction of being this year’s glaring example of this.
The Bahamas was devastated during the recent passage of Hurricane Dorian.
“We are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine for the rest of the world and for the poor and vulnerable everywhere. Investment in climate action, especially for adaptation and resilience building, provides benefits not only to SIDS but to the global community at large, as we collectively learn how best to protect our people in face of the worsening climate crisis,” Chastanet stated.
“We are encouraged and supportive of the Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment, which aims to integrate climate risks into infrastructure investment decision making, driving a shift toward a more climate resilient economies.”
“Our capacity to sustain resilience is rapidly and uncontrollably eviscerating. Our sustainable development aspirations are arrested by an acute absence of domestic fiscal space. The high debt dilemma of SIDS is not principally driven by policy missteps. We have accumulated debt as a consequence of increased expenditures to address the impact of extreme events and climate change attendant difficulties,” the Saint Lucia PM noted.
He said the realities of the existing debt burdens of SIDS require urgent corrective attention.
“We cannot address myriad climate challenges, while managing increasingly high debt burdens. We are very encouraged by the commitment of the UN Secretary General to support us in advancing the ECLAC debt for climate adaptation swap initiative. This initiative will go along way to not only expand domestic fiscal space, but it will also establish a dedicated SIDS resilience fund to finance adaption projects,” he asserted.
“We look forward to the support of the International Financial Institutions and our partners, as we continue to work toward this much needed transformational shift,”he said.
“Let us move beyond the hollow promises, crocodile tears and studied indifference to the root causes of the distress of SIDS. We have neither the time nor the patience to be further disregarded and endangered by excuses or inaction. Our citizens demand justice, our planet demands our urgent action. We must not fail!” Chastanet declared.