Ashton Stanley, Chairperson of the ceremony, made a brief presentation during which explained that the effects of climate change “are exerting a heavy toll on the entire life process and the environment and it must be underscored that climate change is a major threat to sustainability and hope and development in all areas of the globe and a major barrier to the achievement of the millennium development goals No 1 which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and more specifically, to reduce the number of people in poverty and hunger by half by the year 2015.”
Stanley also explained that, as was indicated by United National Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, “climate change is the preeminent geopolitical and economical issue of the 21st century and that it rewrites the global equation for development, peace and prosperity.”
The chairperson listed the impact of climate change to agriculture as droughts, flooding, desertification, decreased fish resources – among others – which have a direct impact on food security and by extension, the existence of life.
Therefore, he noted, collaborative efforts need to be establishment, maintained and eventually intensified with a view to addressing effects of climate change while “continuing to bring and nurture agricultural development that can help to improve the standard of living of our people.”
“We need to promote public sector and non government organization civil society partnerships and collaborate to a socially and environmentally responsible sustainable agriculture. We need to continue to remove the wedges and reduce the divide of agriculture by building friendships and stronger collaborations among nations and institutions so that we can make meaningful contributions in support of the millennium development goals while recognising that we are all responsible and we are all custodians of our planet’s bountiful resources and majestic beauty and when it comes to the Caribbean, I can describe it as a place of perpetual spring.
“I would also like to call on the country itself to mainstream climate change in the policy on the economic development agenda of all sectors because we are aware that climate change, of course, is going to affect all sectors. We need to consider the writing of William Demas where in the writing of the development of small states, spoke of the internal engine…where it refers to self development and I would want to think that agriculture is the only form of sustainable development that we have anywhere in the world and so, not only that we want to mainstream agriculture but we want to allocate the necessary resources for the development of agriculture because I firmly believe that agriculture is the sector upon which all the other sectors should be built.”