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Prime Minister Drew’s Address at the COP28 Climate Action Summit Session “Fast-tracking the Just, Equitable & Orderly Energy Transition”

Published 8 December 2023


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Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew
COP28 Climate Action Summit Session
“Fast-tracking the Just, Equitable & Orderly Energy Transition”


Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew delivering his address at the COP28 Climate Action Summit Session in Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Greetings to all,
Thank you Madam Moderator, and all those who are a part of this panel, I thank all of you for coming.

I am always proud of multilateralism because it allows someone like me, from a small country in the Western Hemisphere, can grace the stage and offer our own approach, and solutions, to what is happening with climate change.

I speak of course for SIDS (Small Island Developing States), especially those that are ocean states, rather, in the Atlantic and the Pacific, specifically in the Atlantic. Coming from Saint Kitts and Nevis, we are on the frontline of climate change. We did not create the problem. However, we are suffering tremendously. Notwithstanding, we do not claim victimhood, but we really want to be a part of the solution, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, although we are small, we think, and we know, that we can contribute to the solution of dealing with the scourge of climate change. As you said, we have also pledged that by 2030 we would transition and transition significantly.

I would like to say that just a few days ago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, although the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere, we have just signed an agreement to have developed, the largest solar energy battery in the whole of the Caribbean. Our size does not limit us.

We also recognize that we have a very significant resource in our country; a resource on the island of Nevis, the first country to develop tourism, or to be identified as a tourist island in the Western Hemisphere since the sixteenth (16th) century. Geothermal on Nevis offers us a real solution. Even though we will be thirty-two percent renewable in the next two years, geothermal gives us the opportunity to be one hundred percent renewable by 2030, but it does not only allow Saint Kitts and Nevis to resolve its transition issue, it really also gives us the initiative and the opportunity to help the other countries, and islands within our sphere, because that resource has the potential to produce much more energy, maybe over fifty times the amount of energy than we require. As part of our national thrust, and being a part of a region where we are partners and a part of the world in which we exist and want to see flourish and deal with this scourge, we are willing to share that energy resource with the neighbouring countries so that they can help to transition to renewable as well.

We don’t intend to keep it there; we also want to use that energy resource to help in green shipping because although we are small we see over a million tourists per year with a significant number of cruise lines passing through our island and country, and through other countries of the Caribbean. How about if we can use this resource and offer them the opportunity to use green energy to transition through the Caribbean while enjoying a cruise while enjoying the Caribbean island, you can do so in a green way, that is also our vision for the region.

We have not stopped there. We have decided that even though we are the smallest among the countries and already transitioning significantly and offering our solutions, we are now embarking on developing the largest course in any college for teaching our young people and our people in general to become technicians in the renewable space. We will not only do that for Saint Kitts and Nevis we are also offering or will also offer these courses to our neighbours within the Caribbean and wherever people may come from.

So at the end of the day, I am saying that even though we are small and we are suffering, we are not playing victimhood, we are looking for partners and solutions, and we have invested our own money to make sure that we can transition. But we are asking that you join us/ For example, to develop the geothermal we have put forward 17 million USD of our own money. We need another 20 million USD and this is where we are asking that partners join us to help us to build out this resource that can help us significantly in a region like the Caribbean. And so, We are not claiming victimhood, we are claiming partners and to be part of the solution to resolve this matter.

And so, I want to wrap up by saying once again that we see this as a moon shot because it has to be a moon shot. I see in the theme that we mention the word orderly transition. But I would like to offer up something that I consider an oxymoron, that is a disruptive orderly transition. The reason for that is if we are to accelerate it means that we have to transition very quickly in and of itself which is already a disruption, but it can be done orderly, and so I want to say to the world, from the Caribbean and from our small state which has taken a big step to help to resolve this matter, let us all join together because if we don’t we will all be at loss. Let us work together to save ourselves.

Thank you very much.

Click on the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mR49hbFjCH8 at 2:17:10 to view the Prime Minister’s National Statement delivered on Day 2 of the COP28 High-Level Segment National Statements Opening.

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