The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, this week led a delegation to the United Nations to attend the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit and ensure the country continues to be a leading voice on climate change.
The UN Secretary-General was a special guest in June as Prime Minister Harris made remarks as CARICOM’s Outgoing Chairman when the leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened in Saint Lucia for their 40th Regular Meeting.
In his own remarks, 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.
“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 UN Secretary-General said. “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.
“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 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 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…”
Those comments came when the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall visited the country in March this year.
Prime Minister Harris also 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 during last September’s launch of the Defeat-NCD Partnership at the United Nations.