In his remarks at CARICOM’s 40th Regular Meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that it had been two years since he visited the Caribbean “in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.”
The UN Secretary-General added: “This was not the first time that the Caribbean has faced such devastation and loss and the immense challenge of rebuilding while safeguarding development achievements…The Caribbean experience makes abundantly clear that we must urgently reduce global emissions and work collectively to ensure that global temperature rise does not go beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.”
Secretary-General Guterres continued: “That is why I am asking all leaders, from governments and the private sector, to present plans – at my Climate Action Summit or at the latest by December 2020 – to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and get to carbon neutrality by 2050…CARICOM and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre have taken the lead from the frontlines. You are our important allies in the fight against climate disruption. We hear your voices loud and clear in the negotiation halls.”
The UN Secretary-General’s words mirrored the positive assessment of St. Kitts and Nevis’ stature and influence given by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales when he and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall visited the country in March this year.
His Royal Highness said St. Kitts and Nevis has had “such a remarkable influence in the region and beyond, punching as they say well above her weight…” and “as a consequence,” the Prince of Wales added, “the voice of St. Kitts and Nevis is heard and listened to on so many of the most pressing issues of our time, not least on the immense and alarming challenge of climate change…”
Such was the case during last September’s launch of the Defeat-NCD Partnership at the United Nations. At that event, Prime Minister Harris drew the attention of the international community to the inextricable link between climate change and the global rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension, both of which cause most of the NCD deaths around the world, individually and in combination.