Condor expressed these sentiments during the opening ceremony held at the Marriott at 8th March, 2011.
“May I say how very pleased I am to note the mix of expertise from across a wide range of related fields of endeavour; from distances near and far, who have converged here … for this most important meeting,” Minister Condor stated, as he addressed an estimated 150 persons at the opening ceremony. “In a sense, this gives us the assurance that as specialists, you have come to terms with the fact that Climate Change, in all its dimensions, is serious; it is expanding and there is need for an urgent response. You make us proud; you make us all hopeful.”
The conference, which is the first of its kind in the region, is hosted by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in collaboration with UNESCO.
While delivering the keynote address, Minister Condor explained that the willingness of delegates to grapple not only with the rhetoric about the “who” and “why”, but critically, with the debate relative to policy development towards addressing the “what”, “how” and “when”, was commendable.
He added that the Federation has “laid a strong foundation” in implementing UNESCO-related projects and programmes and the leadership in these issues likely influenced the decision to have the conference in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Deputy Prime Minister Condor noted the complexity of issues related to climate change and highlighted a startling fact – “there are more environmental refugees now, than there are war refugees.”
Ethical principles are at the core of the March 8 and 9 high level Conference. Minister Condor quoted renowned physicists Albert Einstein and stressed that “relativity applies to physics, not ethics.”
“Ethical decisions require clarity of thought and seriousness of purpose,” he said. “The question is not whether economic considerations should carry greater weight than environmental and climatic ones, but whether the indifference toward the climatic and environmental consequences of various forms of human activity, could, in time, cause the end of all human activity.”
“… It is therefore of utmost importance that these deliberations produce the highest possible level of discussion, quality of analysis, and depth of insight; cognizant of the inherent challenges in highlighting the Ethical Dimensions of this issue,” the Deputy Prime Minister expressed.
Mention was made of the efforts of the Federation in addressing environmental concerns which includes the Draft St. Kitts and Nevis Sustainable Energy Plan, wind farm and geothermal initiatives.
“The lives of billions of people depend on your success. History will record our deliberations and future generations will judge us,” Minister Condor said, while expressing confidence in the ability of the estimated 80 delegates, who are deliberating on the issues. “We will not be forgiven by our children and grandchildren if we fail.”
(Parts of this article were written with content submitted in a press release from SKNIS)