An interview with the Minister with responsibility for climate change in Saint Lucia on youth,women and what happens after COP. (part 2)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Date: 5th December 2015        Location: Wider Caribbean Pavilion

(Transcribed)

a continuation from part 1 of the interview

Snaliah Mahal: We don’t know what the decision is going to be yet but do you have any thoughts on what will happen after COP?

Dr. James Fletcher: To be honest, I have been so preoccupied with what is going to happen at the end of COP, I haven’t even thought about after COP but it is a very good question. There are two processes. There is the pre 2020 process, because remember, one of the things that the COP will do is give us an agreement that will come into force in 2020. There are things that must happen between now and 2020 because if everybody decides that we have an agreement, we’re happy, let’s go on with ‘business as usual’, it means that you have a 5 year period where mayhem can take place.

We must keep our eye on what happens in the pre 2020 period and that is where Workstream 2 of the ADP process comes in because the ADP process has 2 workstreams: Workstream 1 that looked at producing an agreement for Paris and workstream 2 which looked at pre 2020 actions. It is very important for us to keep our eyes on pre 2020 actions, that we keep up the pressure on countries to embark on greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions reductions, we keep up the pressure on countries to provide finance because the pledge for finance is $100 billion annually from 2020, using 100 billion as a floor. But we need money now so countries in the Caribbean with very limited fiscal space need access to funding now. If you look at a country like Dominica which this year had probably its entire GDP wiped out in the course of 24 hours by Tropical Storm Ericka. This is not a category 1, category 2 or category 3 hurricane, it’s a tropical storm. If you look at Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica in 2013 with a trough outside of the hurricane season with so much death and destruction, we need access to funding now climate change adaptation.

After COP we have to put pressure on the climate finance institutions: the Adaptation Fund, the Green Climate Fund and all the other funds, including existing ones like the GEF, that they can start providing the sort of funding that we need for climate change adaptation. We also have to try to accelerate through access to funding our own efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, our carbon footprint as minimal as it would be, as it is although we are not major contributors to GHG emissions, there is a big opportunity for us to transform our economies by moving to a renewable energy framework for energy production and reducing the cost of electricity. That is a great opportunity for us to stimulate our economy. We have to ensure that the work that is being done on loss and damage by the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage and the Executive Committee, that has a framework up to 2016, that that work produces the sort of information, empirical data that will inform how we treat with loss and damage in the post 2020 period.

There are many things that have to be done post COP. We also have things to do domestically, in our own jurisdictions because not all of the impacts that we are suffering are caused by climate change. We have to make our own development more climate resilient. We have to start doing things differently in agriculture, in land use planning, in so many different sectors, to make ourselves more climate resilient. I think really, there is a lot that we can do. We also have to not lose sight of the fact that this year was a watershed year not just for climate change but earlier this year we had the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction that countries signed on to; the Financing for Development coming out of Addis Ababa that is supposed to provide the funding for development in the post 2015 period and also the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which climate change is one.

We have to ensure that we have national mechanisms that will allow us to execute all of these and not forgetting something we are very quick to forget-the Samoa Pathway for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that was agreed last year. I think that there is a lot on our plate and making sure that we have the right institutional mechanisms, making sure that all our agencies are talking to each other and  that we do not operate in silos, the way we operate by default and strengthening also our regional institutions so that they can provide us with the level of support. We cannot do this at the national level. It has to be done on a coordinated regional level. I think all of that is what must occupy us.

© Snaliah Mahal

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