His Excellency King Mohammed VI, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Colleague Foreign Ministers, Excellencies, Delegates, Distinguished Guests,
From the onset, I extend deepest sympathy to the Governments and people of the Bahamas, Cuba and in particular Haiti who were gravely affected by the recent passage of Hurricane Matthew. The rapid acceleration and strengthening of the storm prior to its arrival in Haiti was unprecedented and must be cause for alarm. As a Small Island Developing State, St. Kitts and Nevis understands all too clearly our vulnerability to the ravages from the impacts of Climate Change. We therefore stand in solidarity with our sister islands who like us are will be forever threatened unless we make determined and concerted efforts to halt the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
November 4th 2016 will be indelibly etched in our memories as the day that the Paris Agreement entered into force. As of today some 110 Nations have ratified the Agreement signalling the world’s strong commitment to combatting climate change. St. Kitts and Nevis is proud to have been among the first 15 countries to ratify the Agreement on Earth Day. As we attempt to safeguard our children and our children’s children, this Agreement stands as an enduring symbol of our firm commitment to this meaningful cause.
Mr. President, you would recall from our remarks at COP 21 that St Kitts and Nevis was experiencing a prolonged drought. Our Government had to resort to rationing water to preserve our aquifers from salt water intrusion. As we gather here in this ancient and beautiful city of Marrakech, our country continues to experience an almost three-year drought with a 55% deficit in our average annual rainfall since 2015.
This is a reality of climate change. We therefore remain committed to our Nationally Determined Contributions of a reduction of 22% and 35% in GHG Emissions by the years 2025 and 2030, respectively. Our Government has embraced solar and wind energy initiatives in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint. This is the case even though our country’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant. Through these means, we have achieved production of 2.5 Mega Watts of renewable energy. We intend shortly to add a further 10 megawatts of geothermal energy which will ensure that fully 100% of Nevis’ electricity needs are generated from renewables. Our achievements in solar energy to date are largely attributable to partnership with the Republic of China Taiwan.
Taiwan is a global model in renewable energy best practices. The Taiwanese Government has introduced GHG reduction legislation and has also voluntarily announced its iNDCs to reduce emissions by 50%. The global goals we aim to achieve demand an all-inclusive approach and therefore, Mr President Taiwan should not be left out.
What is crucial and should be addressed at this Conference is transformative climate financing. Our Government calls for climate financing that would translate into enhanced technology transfer and capacity building. Robust financing for Adaptation is essential for small island states to manage the devastating impacts of climate change. We call on all developed countries to honour their financial commitment and to scale up contributions to ensure that the financing committed to is achieved.
Mr President, Marrakech is the COP of action. We must send the strong signal to our people that we are serious about the future of our planet. The Paris Agreement is a first step in redefining our world. We must remain resolute and steadfast in fulfilling our commitments to save our planet and preserve our future. I am confident that our efforts here in Marrakech will bear spectacular fruit.