Though the 2021 eruption of La Soufrière was not the product of climate change, it helped bring attention, both on land and at sea, to the impacts of the growing global crisis.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has been among Caribbean leaders calling on the developed world to play its part in assisting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) deal with harsh realities brought on because of their actions. Speaking at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) 9th meeting of Council of Ministers on Environmental Sustainability recently, the Prime Minister said that sourcing funding is also a challenge, at high cost to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves: “You tell me if this world is fair”
“I’m talking to the rich countries of the world, and when I have to borrow to do that, because of the problems you created for me, you then tell me that my debt to GDP is too high, and that I must go on the IMF programme to squeeze poor people further,” the Prime Minister said. “You tell me,” he asked, “if this world is fair? So, when you’re talking about environment, please don’t forget the history and don’t forget these contemporary realities.”
Fishing boats in sargassum seaweed at Owia Wharf, while other boats are pulled ashore as bad weather approaches (Photo: Larisa Pugsley)
There are however those with an eye on existing domestic resources who believe there need to be better streamlined allocations across communities. This has brought attention to climate justice and equity not only as a function of global dynamics, but how scarce resources are distributed domestically to address emerging concerns.