St Lucia: OECS and Ministers on Environmental Sustainability (COMES 9) of St Lucia in St Vincent and the Grenadines met on June 2, 2022 (Thursday). The theme of the meeting was “Shifting to more integrated approaches for Sustainability, Resilience, and Prosperity in OECS Small Island Developing States”.
During the meeting, the measurable achievements were acknowledged from its previous initiatives, and there was equal recognition of the challenges ahead if there are to be accelerated and urgent efforts to address priority areas across the various environmental themes in the region. This recognition was supported by the regional and international development partners, who came forward to pledge continued and new support to the OECS Member States. Such support and partnerships are paramount in maintaining and enhancing the linkages with strategic economic and social, national and regional priorities across countries.
Ministers present were able to engage in meaningful discourse with each other on a myriad of topics, including promoting and exploring the critical link between natural and human ecosystems, for which Saint Lucia’s Shawn Edward shared his perspective and vision on the critical nexus between environmental sustainability and livelihoods. The Sustainable Development Minister stressed the need to prioritize creating opportunities for people through the sustainable development agenda, especially the youth, noting that Saint Lucia took the bold step in distinguishing a portfolio under the Prime Minister’s purview for a youth economy.
Edward and other Member State representatives remain cognizant of and expressed concerns on other issues, such as the need to avoid duplication of efforts across multiple stakeholders and partners and the continued strain on already heavily indebted and vulnerable countries in accessing climate finance. Ministers present also offered their collective endorsement on initiatives tabled at the Council Meeting. There is still an opportunity for Ministers who were not present to in the coming weeks, to endorse these initiatives.
This year’s Meeting of the Council of OECS Ministers on Environmental Sustainability, the first convened since pandemic restrictions in the region, was regarded as highly participatory and engaging under the chairmanship of St Vincent and the Grenadines Sustainable Development Minister, Carlos James.
Saint Lucia’s delegation comprised Shawn Edward and Sustainable Development and Environment Officer of the Department of Sustainable Development, Jeremiah Edmund.