Diplomats appeal for more attention to region’s natural disasters
NEW YORK, United States, Wednesday September 28, 2011 - St. Lucia and Dominica have called for greater attention to their vulnerability to hurricanes and other natural disasters.
The appeal was made by St. Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Donatus St. Aimee and his Dominica counterpart Vince Henderson, on the final day of general debate.
Dr. St. Aimee said the gains made by his country during the first half of the year are eroded, almost yearly, in the latter half by weather-related phenomenon.
He said St. Lucia is still recovering from Hurricane Tomas, which struck the island last October. The Category 1 hurricane left at least 14 people dead, and damaged infrastructure.
The St. Lucia representative also urged international support for his country’s energy programmes.
He said it is imperative that the international community “take decisive action in assisting small isolated island states like Saint Lucia in achieving energy security through renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes. So far, SIDS have been largely overlooked, as investments go into larger economies where greater economies of scale and profits beckon.”
Meantime, the Dominican ambassador told the UN, “each year’s recovery efforts could become next year’s destruction point,” in reference to the impact hurricanes have had on the island.
He noted too, that climate change was an “energy-related issue and expressed concern with the deterioration of negotiations on reaching agreement on cutting carbon emissions.
The representative pointed out that Dominica is seeking to replace its use of fossil fuel-generated power with carbon-free power generation by 2020 and called for an accelerated transition to clean sources of energy.
“The development of our geothermal potential will provide us with the capacity to meet our domestic needs and to supply electricity to our neighbouring islands especially the French Territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique through our connection via submarine cables,” he said.
“With this displacement of hundreds of megawatts of fossil generated power, coupled with our sustainable development practices, Dominica's target is not only to be carbon neutral, but also carbon negative by the year 2020.”