Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Honourable Kedrick Pickering is attending the 24th meeting of the parties (COP 24) in Poland.
This is the first time that the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) would be directly represented and form part of the official UK delegation attending COP 24 after successful lobbying by Environment Ministers to the UK Government.
The Environment Ministers Council of the UKOTs nominated the Deputy Premier as the political representative from the territories to attend the conference.
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientist of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change at Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar Dr. Liesl Mesilio is also attending the meeting. Dr. Mesilio was nominated as the scientist representing the OTs and is providing technical support for Dr. Pickering.
The conference will focus on the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, political discussions with focus on climate finance, emission targets, and the role of large states.
As part of the conference, the two officials who make up the OT delegation will meet with the UK Special Representative on Climate Change the Honourable Nick Bridge, as well as the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Honourable Dr. Roseanna Cunningham.
Honourable Pickering said “It is important for us as the OTs to continue to make our voices heard on all the devastating effects of climate change on us as small island development states. We will lobby forcefully for whatever financial help can be had from the Green Climate Fund.”
Dr. Roseanna Cunningham said the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is clear that action is needed to keep global temperature rise within the limits set by the Paris Agreement.
She added, “The UK Overseas Territories are home to unique biodiversity and ecosystems and are on the front line of climate change as we’ve seen with recent hurricanes and extreme weather events. It is essential that we are all able to contribute in a meaningful way to addressing this crucial issue. Scotland is a nation of islands and I look forward to sharing our expertise and experience and working together with the OTs on what is without doubt the defining issue of our time.”
The OT delegation will ensure that due consideration is given to the Territories in their ability and efforts to combat the effects of climate change. Raising international awareness on this is a key part of their agenda, while Climate change adaptation and mitigation is also high on their list of priorities.
The focus will be to network internationally and create opportunities for the OTs to attract green inward investment, and having them displayed as critical centres for research and development in the fields of renewable energy deployment, smart cities and sustainable development.