Minister Dr. Clarke Hails the Establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund at COP27 as a Huge Win for Vulnerable Small Island Developing States
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 30, 2022 (SKNIS) – Senator the Honourable Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister responsible for Environment & Climate Action, said her Ministry is pleased that the international community, particularly richer nations, is now taking greater responsibility for climate change and its impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like St. Kitts and Nevis.
At the recently concluded 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), the decision was taken to establish and operationalize a Loss and Damage Fund, which aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change.
Minister Dr. Clarke, who was part of the delegation that represented St. Kitts and Nevis at the conference in Egypt earlier this month, described the establishment of the fund as a historic moment as larger nations are now taking responsibility for their contributing roles in deepening the effects of climate change.
“Simply put, richer countries have accepted, have acknowledged and have committed to supporting SIDS [Small Island Developing States] and island nations or poorer countries in addressing developmental issues as a result of climate change,” said Dr. Clarke while addressing the media at a Post-COP27 Press Conference today, Wednesday, November 30 at the Solid Waste Management Conference Room.
The Honourable Minister said the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund is a significant win for SIDS, which has for decades lobbied for this type of acknowledgement and intervention.
Minister Dr. Clarke added, “The acknowledgement of loss and damage, it was a 30-year process and so that was the first win. Win number two, the formal negotiations at COP—as Minister Maynard mentioned they could have just acknowledged it and done nothing [but] we had formal negotiations. Win number three, the acknowledgement that there was a need for the fund and that we would move forward with the setting up of the framework and the modalities for the fund. Win number four—very recently there has been a call for two nominations from SIDS for the transitional committee. This is the work that has to be done for the next year leading up to COP28, and win number five, for years we have complained as small island states that the Green Climate Fund, which St. Kitts has been in the process of accessing funds through readiness programming, and the Adaptation Fund do not address the colonial and historical antecedence and all those problems related to loss and damage and climate change, so that’s the biggest win. There is now a streamlined fund dedicated to responding to all the problems we have faced in St. Kitts and Nevis for years because as smaller islands we do not contribute to climate change as significantly as richer larger countries.”
While the commitment from the international community was welcomed, Minister Clarke said the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will continue to do its part in responding to climate change.
“We have committed as ministers to working together … through the ministry that has been recently established by the Labour Government to ensure that there is an inter-ministerial agency which can champion loss and damage, which can champion access to the adaptation fund for the ministry of water and also which can champion energy as an economic sector, as well as investments and economic development and private sector partnerships so that we could de-risk investments in climate responsiveness for St. Kitts and Nevis,” Dr. Clarke explained.
Joining Dr. Clarke at the Post-COP27 Press Conference today were Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs et al., the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas; Minister of Public Infrastructure, Energy & Utilities et al., the Honourable Konris Maynard, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment & Climate Action, Ms. Sharon Rattan.