Vancouver, British Columbia, August 28 2023 (PMO) – Saint Kitts and Nevis was applauded for its environmental leadership at the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Lavern Queeley, the Federation’s GEF Operational Focal Point, who until June 30th, 2023 represented the Caribbean on the GEF Council, ensured that the priorities and policies of the Large Ocean Small Island States of the Caribbean Region received due consideration for their unique vulnerabilities.
During extensive negotiations, it was the Caribbean’s position that the Fund must embrace the unique biodiversity and vulnerability of these island members of the global community so that the green and blue transition advances climate justice, inclusion, integration, and equity. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), like Saint Kitts and Nevis, remain negligible contributors to climate heating and biodiversity loss, yet suffer the most.
Owing to Saint Kitts and Nevis’ clear-eyed advocacy and leadership, the newly created Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF), which was ratified at the Seventh GEF Assembly, will now provide access of up to 39% of funds available to recipient countries, specifically to SIDS and least developed countries (LDCs). These resources will enable Caribbean countries to accelerate critical work to protect and regenerate our biodiversity, inclusive of our marine biodiversity, which accounts for more than 95% of our jurisdictions.
Dr. Joyelle Clarke, Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment, Climate Action, and Constituency Empowerment commended Ms. Queeley for her “strident and steadfast focus on bolstering opportunities and delivering key results as Saint Kitts and Nevis seeks access to finance to facilitate our transformation to a Sustainable Island State – in line with the Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew’s and the government’s ambition and vision, particularly as we build Saint Kitts and Nevis for the next forty years.”
The GEF Assembly which ran from September 22nd -27th, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, ended with announcements by host country Canada to invest US$200 million dollars while the United Kingdom offered a down payment of £10 million pounds. Future international meetings like COP28 are expected to result in additional investments into the GBFF.
The major themes of the Assembly were integration, inclusion, and impact – goals that are necessary for the global community to build momentum for the UN-led Agenda 2030.