Summit Of Americas Venue For Hot Topic
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 16, 2012 (CUOPM)
Climate change, natural disasters and poverty alleviation were among issues raised at the Sixth Summit of the Americas by St. Kitts and Nevis‘ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
Dr. Douglas said the relevance of the core theme of Natural Disasters cannot be overemphasized where St. Kitts-Nevis is concerned and his Government has meticulously and thoroughly legislated standardized norms for disaster management through risk reduction, preparation, and post-disaster recovery.
“Even our most extraordinary legislative and other efforts, however, are no match for Mother Nature. In addition, our geography and size render us particularly vulnerable. And so, St. Kitts and Nevis works diligently with sub-regional and regional agencies to strengthen our capacity to face these horrific challenges. In this regard, we remain committed to giving active consideration to advancing those legal frameworks that would facilitate a more seamless acceptance of international humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters,” said Prime Minister Douglas in a statement issued at the just concluded conference in Cartagena.
Dr. Douglas said the twin-island Federation is keenly aware of both the potential and the real-world effects of climate change on its vulnerable economy, agricultural productivity, food security, tourism, other key sectors, and therefore economic sustainability.
“Indeed, we are aware of the implications of climate change for the very livelihood of our people, and their capacity to be self- sufficient. That is why, my country joins the call for a hemispheric unity of purpose in addressing this issue with utmost urgency, and for movement on the global front to better position countries such as mine to mitigate the effects of climate change. Viewed in the context of the devastation caused by the natural disasters to which we are susceptible, and the implications for loss of lives and livelihoods, St Kitts and Nevis understands only too well the inextricable link between the Summit issues of Security, Natural Disasters and Poverty elimination,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said St. Kitts and Nevis applauds the hemispheric thrust to confront poverty and inequality.
“We particularly applaud the insightful emphasis on education, skills transfer, social programmes, health-care and broader access to employment opportunities as the means to this end. Indeed, we in St. Kitts and Nevis have long ensured universal access to both a primary and a secondary education for every member of our society and, despite our scarce resources, continue to establish ever-expanding ways of making education ever more applicable in today’s highly technological and challenging world,” said Dr. Douglas.
He noted that as Head of Government, and a medical doctor, he was keenly aware of the direct linkages between Poverty and Health.
“This is why, in my country, throughout the region, and around the world, whenever the opportunity arises, I make a point of stressing the devastating impact of non-communicable diseases on education, productivity, and national budgets due to spiraling health care costs. And for small states, in particular, the prevention and treatment of these non-communicable diseases, so directly attributable to poverty and lifestyle, must continue to be an utmost priority,” said Prime Minister Douglas.