Participants at the Launch and Inception Workshop facilitated by the Department of Environment for St. Kitts and Nevis’ preparation of its Third National Communication and First Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Thursday, Nov. 7.

As the impacts of climate change become more prevalent worldwide, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis, and by extension the Department of Environment, continues to implement initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister with responsibility for Environment, said at the Project Launch and Inception Workshop Thursday, Nov. 7.

Minister Hamilton delivered the address to the over 65 stakeholders from the public and private sector who participated in the Launch and Inception Workshop facilitated by the Department of Environment for St. Kitts and Nevis’ preparation of its Third National Communication and First Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“In October 2017, my Cabinet adopted the National Climate Change Policy. This policy provides an overarching guide on the country’s pathway as it relates to addressing climate change,” said Minister Hamilton. “Further, a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan was approved in 2018 that is geared towards operationalizing the adaptation responses to climate change.  It is my understanding that various sectors have already begun to implement initiatives to respond to the climate drivers.”

Minister Hamilton outlined the importance of St. Kitts and Nevis’ national reports as they relate to climate change, noting that the quality of the reports are dependent on the quality and availability of data.

“Data is required to engage in the relevant assessments, analyses and studies that will allow us to make better informed decisions. Data is required to run the climate models. Data is essential to all of this,” said the minister. “The climate models are important tools for improving our understanding and the predictability of climate behaviour on seasonal, annual, decadal, and centennial time scales. Models investigate the degree to which observed climate changes may be due to natural variability, human activity, or a combination of both.”

The environment minister said that there has been indication of limited access to availability and reliable data and noted that the work has already begun to address this issue.

“The Department of Environment has partnered with key sectors such as the National Meteorological Office, Water Services Department, Department of Marine Resources, Coast Guard, Departments of Agriculture, the Disaster Agencies, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) just to name a few to begin to address this problem,” he said, while commending everyone for recognizing the need to collaborate. “We need to collect as many data and information from all relevant agencies, government and private alike, in ensuring that the reports we submit to the Convention are as comprehensive as possible and represent a true reflection of activities in the country,” he added.

The government submitted its Second National Communication Report in 2016 and is expected to submit its First Biennial Update Report in 2021, and its Third National Communication Report in 2022.