The twenty-fifth meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is currently taking place in Madrid, Spain from 2nd to 13th December. This meeting is a crucial this meeting where Parties will be deliberating on various issues including, adaptation, mitigation, technology and finance.
The delegation of St. Kitts and Nevis comprises of Mr. Gene Knight, Senior Project Officer, from the Policy Planning Unit Ms. Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer and Mr. Derionne Edmeade, Environmental Education Officer both from the Department of Environment and Ms. Nikkita Browne, Oceanography and GIS Officer from the Department of Marine Resources. The officers will be following agriculture, science, technology and loss and damage issues respectively.
The impacts of climate change are occurring worldwide, affecting all of us, and still greenhouse gas concentrations are reaching record levels and temperatures continue to rise. The science indicates that the tropical regions are especially at risk of crop yield decline, with an aggregated risk that is already moderate today and will also suffer from the decreased stability in global food supply with further global warming.
Further, land degradation resulting from the combination of sea level rise and more intense cyclones is projected to jeopardize lives and livelihoods in cyclone prone areas. If the international community fails to limit global warming to 1.5°C, all of our tropical coral reefs and other unique and precious ecosystems as well as the livelihoods depending on them will be lost. Recognizing these catastrophic projected impacts of climate change to Small Island Developing States, such as St. Kitts and Nevis, the delegation will use every opportunity to remind Parties of their commitments as outlined in the Paris Agreement and make a strong appeal to increase ambition. The conference is scheduled to close on Friday 13th December, 2019.
St. Kitts and Nevis at the Forefront of COP 25 Negotiations
Science plays a pivotal role in the work at the twenty-fifth meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and must form the basis of negotiations. As part of COP, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) organized An Earth Information Day activity which took place on Tuesday 3rd December, 2019. This session provided an opportunity to have an active dialogue in which parties and other users of scientific information to express their needs and exchange with the various programmes and earth observations data, particularly as they support the work under the Paris Agreement and Convention.
There were various presenters, one of whom was Ms. Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer, Department of Environment. In Ms. Jeffers’ presentation, she noted with grave concern that the upward trend in atmospheric concentrations of major greenhouse gases continues and calls for urgent action by all Parties. In her presentation, Ms. Jeffers indicated that the latest WMO report on the State of the Climate, coupled with the two latest IPCC Special Reports on land, oceans and cryosphere, provides a stark reminder that the current efforts by parties to pursue the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement have to become much more ambitious to avoid the worst impacts of future climate change, in particular for most vulnerable regions.
Whilst, Ms. Jeffers recognized the usefulness of earth observation data, she expressed a challenge with small islands having access to have adequate spatial resolutions that would be “useful to inform decision-making especially in the agricultural and water sectors as the variability of climate is becoming a greater force to be reckoned with”. As the negotiations continue, the delegation will continue to ensure that the concerns of St. Kitts and Nevis remain central in the discussions.