Saint Lucia's attempts to mitigate climate change related issues. (Picture courtesy- Google)

Saint Lucia coordinates with international partners to mitigate climate change

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The Caribbean is highly vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms, which cause rapid changes in climate. Saint Lucia faces a tropical maritime climate throughout the year, with some relief from the high temperatures and humidity, being offered by the trade winds that blow from the northeast.

Reasons for Climate Change:

A small island community in the Caribbean is also susceptible to salt intrusion into freshwater sources, making the region highly vulnerable to rising sea levels. The following are some of the reasons which cause climate change-

  1. A small geographical area accounts for the fact that disasters have country-wide ramifications.
  2. It’s located in an area of cyclone, volcanic and seismic activity.
  3. It’s dependent on economic sectors.

USAID’s mission in the Caribbean:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in Latin America and the Caribbean, helps to make the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere more peaceful, secure and prosperous. It will be achieved by empowering the capacity of governments and private entities to combat crime, address climate change and improve governance.

This will help the private sector to flourish and create jobs.

Key Climate Impact Areas:

Due to the change in the climate, certain areas of Saint Lucia are affected, which are as follows-

  1. Agriculture- Food production in Saint Lucia is highly affected by the due to increasing temperatures and storm intensity, and high winds are anticipated. It leads to scarcity of water for irrigation. Sea level rise can cause the salinization of aquifers and the loss of agricultural lands on the coast.
  2. Fisheries- The increasing impacts of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and ocean warming result in a threat to various fisherfolks. Many fishers suffered huge financial losses as they continued to record depleted catch levels.

Coastal habitats and resources are likely to be impacted by sea level rise and warming sea temperatures.

  1. Human Health– As per the reports, The Saint Lucia Health And Climate Change Profile (2020) highlighted, “The highest priorities of climate change risks in Saint Lucia, as the direct health effects of extreme weather events and indirect health effects of extreme weather events and indirect health effects of extreme weather events and indirect health effects- water security/safety and water-borne diseases, food security/safety, malnutrition, foodborne diseases”.
  1. Water Resources– In addition to the sea level rise, climate change is causing more floods and droughts. Warmer temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water into the atmosphere. Increased evaporation may dry out certain areas of Saint Lucia.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) collaborate to spearhead a transformative initiative, bolstering Saint Lucia’s water sector to safeguard water security. 

NORWAY’S ASSISTANCE TO SAINT LUCIA IN CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION:

According to the Government of Saint Lucia, Her Excellency Beate Stiro, Ambassador Designate of the Kingdom of Norway to Saint Lucia, on Sep. 21 presented her credentials to His Excellency ‘Cyril Errol Charles, Governor General of Saint Lucia’.

Norway has supported and has been instrumental in helping Saint Lucia address both natural and man-made threats of climate change since they established their diplomatic relations in 1990.

His Excellency, the Governor General, Errol Charles, spoke on the impact that climate change has had on Saint Lucia, “In these parts, we see the devastation caused by unseasonal rains, prolonged drought, and horrific windstorms that visit us every summer, bringing death and destruction, erasing a large percentage of our GDP in the twinkling of an eye. We also see the scourge of harmful drugs and the proliferation of illegal arms worming their way through our societies at a pace beyond our limited capacities to quell in a timely manner, without assistance from our international friends”.

Her Excellency, Beate Stiro, Ambassador Designate of the Kingdom of Norway, shed light on Norway’s intentions. “Your region is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, with extreme weather conditions becoming ever more frequent. Norway will continue its active engagement in climate diplomacy and work to raise ambition to better handle the climate crisis. At COP 26 in Glasgow, we committed to doubling our financing and international efforts to approximately USD $ 1.7 billion per year by 2026. As a part of this, we will triple our support for adaptation and risk reduction.”

HE Errol Charles also expressed the Government’s desire to maintain strong trading and social ties with the Kingdom of Norway for the assistance that Norway has afforded Saint Lucia, including supporting Saint Lucia’s attempt to reduce and control marine pollution, contributing through CARICOM.