St. Kitts-Nevis warns of the effects of climate change on small states

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Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis

NARRATOR: Whatever the debate being waged internationally regarding the question of climate change; however dramatic the rhetorical jousting within various circles on this issue, we, in the Caribbean, can attest to the radical climatic shifts that our region has undergone in recent decades.

That's what St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas told the UN General Assembly during its High-level debate.

TAPE: Moreover it is troubling that the largest contributors of greenhouse gases are still not taking responsibility for the increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, coastal degradation, coral reef bleaching and decimation, infrastructural damage, and loss of lives that their actions have wrought. Our people, our maritime integrity, our soils, and our infrastructure are all interrelated contributors to our overall social and economic viability, and the absence of corrective and restitutional action on the part of industrialized nations involved is neither constructive nor understandable in this highly interdependent world. The physical, mental and financial burden that other countries’ energy usage has inflicted on countries like mine has been enormous – plunging us deeper into debt, and severely frustrating our efforts to meet our Millennium Development Goals. While a shift to renewable energy will not instantly solve the myriad problems caused by a significantly fossil-fuel based global economy, the embrace of green energy will indeed help to halt the intense downward spiral into which our fossil-fuel based economies have thrust our planet, and so we strongly urge that green energy be made an absolute priority globally.

NARRATOR:  Prime Minister Douglas lamented that the global economic crisis has severely complicated the task of governance in highly indebted middle income nations like St. Kitts-Nevis. He said it has introduced both new variables and additional unknowns in its economic planning models and has, in a nutshell, thrust upon the region a backdrop of global volatility that "none of us could have anticipated, and which none of us welcome , which has created immense difficulties for our people".

TAPE: Indeed, St. Kitts and Nevis was forced to pursue a new economic development programme, involving fiscal balance and debt restructuring, with built in social safety nets. The assistance of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Union and our many local, regional and international creditors, including the United Kingdom and the United States, of the Paris Club, have helped us to alleviate the severity of the social impact of the economic adjustment. But we continue to face significant challenges especially in relation to the attainment of economic growth in the context of a very sluggish and uncertain global economy. The mammoth challenges and difficulties that our small island state faces underscore the need for greater attention paid to the issue of special and differentiated responsibilities in this rather trying era. And, indeed, it underscores the need for small, responsible nations like mine, in our relations with far larger and infinitely more powerful friends and allies to, nonetheless, have fair and calm paths to redress.

NARRATOR: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts-Nevis.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 3’17″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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