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Posted: Tuesday 28 May, 2024 at 11:35 PM

Prime Minister Dr. Drew participates in leaders' breakfast addressing the existential threats posed by sea-level rise

By: SKNIS, Press Release

    St. Johns, Antigua, May 28, 2024 (SKNIS): Today, May 28, 2024, a significant breakfast meeting was held at the Royalton Chic Resort in Antigua to discuss the existential threats posed by sea-level rise, with special emphasis on the impacts to small island nations.


    The meeting was hosted by President Dennis Francis of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and co-hosted by Prime Minister Feleti Teo of Tuvalu. In attendance were other notable dignitaries including the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis; Ambassador Ché Phliip from Grenada; Ambassador Dr. Christophe EicK, Germany’s Special Envoy for Climate Issues in the Caribbean.  Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni of Tonga; Colombia’s Minister of Environment María Susana Muhamad; Malta’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Karmenu VELLA; Comoros’ Permanent Representative to the UN Issimail Chanfi; Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale; New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the UN Carolyn Schwalger, and Romania’s Permanent Representative to the UN Cornel Feru?? also participated at the meeting.


    President Francis delivered welcome remarks and opened the floor for discussion, highlighting the urgency and importance of addressing sea-level rise.


    Prime Minister Dr. Drew emphasised the urgent nature of rising sea levels for small island states.


    “This is a critical matter for all of us and needs to be on the agenda as a separate matter. Sea-level rise is not only affecting marine life but also the lives of people living on these islands. Our beaches, which are gems of our natural heritage, are disappearing,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew while highlighting the erosion of beaches at the Koi Resort in Basseterre and Pump Bay in Sandy Point, as examples of coastlines being damaged. “As the sea level rises, it encroaches on our land, undermining properties and puts them at risk. This leads to the devaluation of land and forces people to relocate. We have embarked on charting a course to deal with sea-level rise and protect our coastline. If we do not take action, the repercussions will be great,” Dr. Drew added.


    Prime Minister Dr. Drew said that this initiative has the full support of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.


    Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, shared similar concerns regarding the disappearing beaches, emphasising the critical need for investment in adaptation measures. She highlighted the difficulty that member countries face in accessing funding for these essential adaptations and stressed that this pressing issue requires immediate attention.SecretaryGeneral Barnett said that CARICOM is committed to addressing this problem for the people in the region, but it necessitates actionable steps, not just annual discussions without real progress.


    Barnett also pledged to enhance participation from member states in discussions and to drive effective action forward, ensuring that countries engage more effectively and work towards achieving tangible results.


    Key points discussed at the breakfast meeting included the unique challenges faced by small island nations due to sea-level rise; the environmental impact on marine life and coastal ecosystems; economic repercussions, including land devaluation and displacement of communities, and strategies for coastline protection and sustainable development.


    The Leaders’ Breakfast provided a platform for these leaders to voice their concerns and collaborate on solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of sea-level rise. The commitment shown by the participating nations underscores the collective effort needed to address this global challenge effectively.








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