BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — International partnerships are an essential diplomatic tool to St. Kitts and Nevis and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) when discussing major issues such as climate change at global fora.

Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer in the Department of Environment, said that at the international level most global organizations have one simple rule. One vote per country. Such is the case at the Conference of Parties (COP). Ms. Jeffers said that SIDS usually group together and vote the same way to ensure that greater global focus is placed on issues affecting their countries.

Rising sea levels is often highlighted as a major concern for SIDS. Experts have attributed this to the melting of polar ice caps as a result of global warming. An increase in frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, as well as unusually long dry spells, which create drought-like conditions in several countries in the region, are also concerns that are often raised at international meetings.

“We are not the cause of the impact [of climate change] but we are at the brunt of the impact,” said Ms. Jeffers. “As Small Island Developing States, we are talking about 50 countries, so we use that [vote] to make a political statement. When we have to negotiate, we negotiate in a block because we recognize that we have the same challenges.”

Ms. Jeffers noted that while some developed countries have aided smaller countries to mitigate the impact of climate change, much more can be done.

“What we really want is for you (developed countries) to be more robust in reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, and based on the technology,” said Ms. Jeffers. “The research that has been out it is showing that renewables are becoming much cheaper than before.”

She added that St. Kitts and Nevis and allied states will continue to speak out loudly about climate change and its dramatic impact on SIDS.