SVG-UN

Monday, 22 December 2014

Current Events

Climate Change

The issue of Climate Change has received significant attention in the year 2014. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the many countries which has fallen victim to the harsh realities of Climate Change and therefore, its representatives have addressed the matter on various forums. In 2014, Ambassador King in her keynote addresses in Ottawa, Canada and Washington D.C stated,

“Let us reflect on the fact that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has fallen victim to the harsh realities of Climate Change. Our multi island state is counted amongst the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters. We live in the presence of an active volcano, which sits on the Caribbean earthquake belt and of course we sit in the region’s hurricane path and increasingly we are experiencing unseasonal weather patterns. When the rain stopped and floods receded last December we had lost 12 precious lives and 17% of our Gross Domestic Product. On September 23 of this year, the Secretary General of the United Nations hosted a High-Level, Climate Change Summit at which Senator, the Honorable, Camillo Gonsalves addressed member states. Minister Gonsalves reminded the member states of our vulnerability, despite our miniscule carbon footprint, and appealed to the international community to “shoulder its fair share of the mitigation and financing burden”.  Similarly, President Barack Obama in his address to the member states began his speech with the stating clearly that “there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.” Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the recently appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace, told the leaders at the summit they had a choice. “The time to answer the greatest challenge of our existence on this planet is now,” he said. “You can make history or you will be vilified.”

If the large emitters do not reduce their carbon footprint, the consequences for small-island states like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be devastating and irreparable. …”

 

On the September 23, 2014 Senator, the Honorable, Camillo Gonsalves addressed member states of the United Nations at the Climate Change Summit. To view his speech, please click here.

BBNJ Update along with Remarks made by Ambassador Rhonda King Permanent Representative of St. Vincent and Grenadines to the UN at the Side Event: Protecting Biodiversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction

Over the past ten years, the need to address high seas governance gaps has been an issue up for discussion within the international community. A new legal regime that addresses these gaps would allow CARICOM Member States, and other members of the international community to partake in the sharing of both monetary and non-monetary benefits, as well as the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ), including marine genetic resources (MGRs), which have economic benefits and are a significant source of protein. A few industrialized states have established patent rights over some of these recourses and these resources are now the subject of commercial exploitation.

 

A solution was then deemed necessary; therefore negotiating a new implementing agreement under the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has garnered significant momentum as a solution to addressing existing governance gaps relating to BBNJ. In the Rio+20 Outcome Document entitled: The Future We Want, States agreed to make a decision on whether or not to negotiate such an agreement by the end of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, or by September 2015.

 

CARICOM States were among those states, which advanced that the status quo was not acceptable and that Member States should work towards commencing negotiations for the adoption of the implementing agreement under UNCLOS by the stipulated deadline.

 

An address was given by Ambassador King at a Side Event entitled Protecting Biodiversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS Conference) held in Apia, Samoa from 1-4 September, 2014. To view the remarks, please click here.

Christmas 2013 Flooding

Small clip showing damage that was a result of the flooding that occurred on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day 2013.

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