Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris
On behalf of the Government, citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis I extend congratulations to Dr. Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as this organisation celebrates its 25111 Anniversary. With its record of global advocacy and partnership in sustainable development, the GEF remains a committed partner to its member states, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean countries.
Like GEF, we have recognized that the achievement of long-term sustainable development cannot be done i n a silo. As such, integration among the various sectors, and partnership with other Caribbean states have been vital aspects in addressing the challenging effects of trends such as population growth, expansion of the middle class, and urbanization. Each of these developmental issues can reasonably be expected to positively impact socio-economic transformation.
The GEF has supported both local and regional interventions, which have assisted St. Kitts and Nevis in achieving its sustainable development objectives. These initiatives include the Integrated Watershed and Coastal Area Management (IWCAM); and the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) Projects. Recently, with support of the GEF, the Federation has embarked on the implementation of its first national project, aptly named "Conserving Biodiversity and Reducing Habitat Degradation in Protected Areas and their Areas of Influence". As we move forward in the global environment that has already adopted the imperatives for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - and illustrated our commitment by the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in April 2016 - we foresee an even greater role for the GEF. We recognise that the Facility will be instrumental in (a) assisting member states to access Climate Finance resources and (b) ensuring country ownership in the development of national initiatives that will serve to advance both local and regional sustainable development goals.
It is imperative that support and leadership be at the fulcrum of the GEF's ability to advocate for the utilisation of a vulnerability index. This index will assist in the determination of resource allocation. We are cognizant of the fact that the increased weight on GDP per capita places the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis - and other Caribbean countries - at a disadvantage. This indicator, at present, does not capture the wellbeing of the Nation, its social development or its environmental management issues that are caused by the effects of climate change.
We are committed to doing our part in transforming our world.