Prime Minister Dr. Drew Addresses United Nations High-Level Meeting On Resource Mobilisation For SIDS

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew (center) at the UN High-Level Meeting on Resource Mobilisation for SIDS.
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St. Johns, Antigua – The Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, delivered a compelling speech on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Resource Mobilization for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), held as part of the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua.

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew (center) at the UN High-Level Meeting on Resource Mobilisation for SIDS.

In his address, Prime Minister Dr. Drew underscored the ongoing challenges that Small Island Developing States face due to climate change. As a relatively new leader among his peers in this international body, he emphasised that robust mitigation strategies are necessary to combat the existential threat.

“We cannot fund our way out of climate change. However, finance is critically important. As much as we wish to fund, I want to make it clear that if we don’t stop or halt significantly, the acceleration to go above 1.5 [degree global temperature rise], the financing that we are speaking of here, will never be enough,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew. “And so, I wish to advocate and say clearly that that still has to be the number one goal. How do we act to protect the climate?” Prime Minister Drew further asked.

The St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister highlighted the acute impact that climate change is already having on the twin-island Federation.

“For example, in my country, we used to be a water-abundant country, but now we are a water-scarce country. We cannot supply our people with 24/7 water anymore and this is as a result of climate change on multiple fronts – the decrease in rainfall, the increase in temperature, and saltwater intrusion as a result of sea-level rises,” said Dr. Drew. “To deal with that, we have to now employ desalination plants to produce potable water that is extremely vital for survival. That alone is costing us millions of dollars just to give our people water. And to produce that water comes at a very high cost because we see the increase in fossil fuels.”

Prime Minister Dr. Drew emphasised the financial burden placed on small island nations attempting to adapt and build resilience to climate change.

“It is critically important that the finance and mechanisms to unlock the finance, that those mechanisms deal with the present situation, otherwise I can say clearly that if two hurricanes hit the Caribbean this year and multiple islands are hit, we will suddenly go from talking about adaptation and resilience to recovery, which in itself would be a burden for any country within the Caribbean,” he said.

Prime Minister Dr. Drew called for urgent action and accelerated funding mechanisms.

“We are seeing a more active season this year with stronger hurricanes. So, while we are discussing and going around, I want to say that the urgency in the release of the funding through whatever mechanisms… be accelerated for SIDS to be able to adapt, be resilient,”  said the St. Kitts and Nevis prime minister. “The question is not tomorrow, it is yesterday and, of course, the urgency of now is critically important so that we can deal with the scourge of climate change.”

Prime Minister Dr. Drew’s address resonated deeply with the delegates, reinforcing the critical need for immediate and substantial financial support to help small island developing states combat the accelerating effects of climate change.

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