THE Government of St. Lucia yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement on climate change following the announcement by the United States of America of its intentions to withdraw from the agreement.
Sustainable Development Minister, Dr. Gale Rigobert, told reporters that St. Lucia has come too far and achieved too much to allow the announcement by the U.S. to halt its efforts with respect to climate action.
“We know firsthand the effects of climate change and the importance of ensuring that we curb the negative effects of climate change as our people are most affected, and we need therefore to continue to collaborate with other international friends and parties who share an equal moral and legal obligation to the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement,” Dr.Rigobert said.
Dr.Rigobert said the announcement by the U.S. should cause the rest of the countries which are parties to the Paris Agreement to increase their ambition and commitment to the fulfillment of the agreement.
“Notwithstanding we are a small country and certainly a very small emitter, we have a moral obligation that extends beyond our St. Lucian citizenry to include citizens of vulnerable countries, especially countries most affected by the effects of climate change. That moral obligation is very important to the Government of St. Lucia. For that reason, the Government of St. Lucia wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement,” Dr. Rigobert said.
Valerie Leon, acting Permanent Secretary in the Department of Sustainable Development within the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, cautioned that the U.S. is not withdrawing from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change but rather from the Paris Agreement.
“Under Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, parties with intention to withdraw must go through a process. There is an initial three years waiting period after the Convention has come into effect. After the three years, they are expected to file a notice of withdrawal and there is a further one year period. It means, therefore, that the US can only withdraw from the Paris Agreement not until four years from now,” Leon said.
The US, she said, is still obligated to progress whatever their pledges were under the agreement up until the time it would withdraw.
The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework.