Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Honourable Eric Evelyn, Minister of Environment and Cooperatives in the Federal Government is currently chairing the 8th Meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Council of Ministers: Environmental Sustainability (COM: ES) which takes place virtually from May 20-21 under the theme “Unlocking a Green, Resilient and Inclusive Future for Eastern Caribbean SIDS”
The Council of Ministers on Environmental Sustainability consists of all the ministers responsible for the environment in each of the OECS Member States, as well as the overseas territories which include Anguilla, Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands. The Council of Ministers is responsible for making recommendations to the OECS Authority (Heads of Governments) on matters pertaining to the environment and sustainable development. This meeting creates an opportunity to strengthen regional collaborative partnerships on environmental issues.
Minister Evelyn said that the sustainable development agenda remains at the forefront of OECS Member States.
“Achieving a sustainable development agenda requires coherent coordination of policies. I believe that we are all committed to a sustainable agenda. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Accord, and the many other multinational agreements we have signed on to, as well as development partners have made the case for environmental sustainability as a core pillar for transforming our collective future,” said the environmental minister. “Let me express sincerest thanks for your ongoing work and continued efforts to help us navigate this space. To the OECS, I extend a special thank you for keeping the sub-region on task and providing a platform for focused discussion.”
He said that he is looking forward to the discussions as they will prove beneficial to all member states.
“I endorse the agenda for these two days. These discussions will be critical in bringing attention to the issues that will help to build the required infrastructure to keep sustainability at the center. If climate change impacts are to be sustainably addressed within the region, access to reliable data, as well as incorporating the data into the decision-making process at all levels is critically important,” said the minister. “There is an urgent need to build and improve on our data collection and data analysis processes which will ultimately facilitate better decision-making.”
COM: ES is also designed to assist the Member States in minimizing environmental vulnerability, implementing environmental sustainability measures, improving environmental management, and protecting the region’s natural resource base for optimal social and economic benefits.
The Council meets regularly to deliberate on topics including Sustainable Land Management, Water Resource Management, Ocean Governance, Sustainable Energy, and Climate Change in addition to other relevant issues related to environmental sustainability, Natural Disasters, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Council of Ministers Meeting will be preceded by the launch of The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge: “Race to the Sun.” The Solar Challenge aims to engage governments, the private sector, development partners, and households in a united effort to increase the diffusion of solar electricity and heating across the region by the end of 2023, in the first instance. The aim is to increase the deployment of renewable energy technologies across the Eastern Caribbean in support of national, regional, and global goals to enhance climate resilience and to maintain a global temperature increase below 1.5°C.