BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 14, 2021 (UNESCO) – In co-sponsorship with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme will convene a meeting of ministers from English-speaking Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to discuss the major challenges posed by water scarcity, contamination, and water-related disasters. The discussion will examine the role that science can play in constructively supporting decision-making and developing sustainable solutions to enable access to safe and reliable drinking water for citizens and agriculture, and increased resilience to natural disasters.
Many Caribbean countries are experiencing serious challenges to water security, including water scarcity and drought, pollution, watershed degradation, saline intrusion, and flooding. Climate change is worsening the severity of these challenges, and response capacities are aggravated by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting will explore how water resources management can be strengthened touching on key issues relevant to Caribbean SIDS such as water use efficiency, water contamination and pollution, water science and technology, resilience to water-related disasters, and water data and information, including groundwater. Science has a key role in this process, as well as indigenous and local knowledge, to support informed decision-making.
The meeting is intended to promote water security in Caribbean SIDS and build on regional and international agreements and goals, including the Barbados Declaration and Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS); the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States; the SAMOA Pathway; the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development; 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and UNESCO-IHP’s upcoming Strategic Phase 9.
The meeting will take place online from Montevideo, Uruguay on April 27, 2021.