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Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s Official Visit to Geneva

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s Official Visit to Geneva

GENEVA, Switzerland – On Monday 9 September 2019, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia The Hon. Allen Chastanet began an official visit to the United Nations (UN) Office and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.

Prime Minister Chastanet was received by the Director General of the UN Office in Geneva, Her Excellency Dr. Tatiana Valvoya; along with the Director General of the UN Conference for Trade and Economic Development (UNCTAD), Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi; and the Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD, Ms. Isabelle Durant. Following these bilateral engagements with the senior leadership of the UN Office in Geneva, Prime Minister Chastanet delivered a keynote address at the UN Trade Forum where he spoke on trade and climate change.

Having recently made a visit to The Bahamas where he saw firsthand the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian, Prime Minister Chastanet painted a graphic image of the extent of devastation that he witnessed and the toll that this was having on the lives of the people. Against this background, the Prime Minister noted that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are in imminent danger of extinction.

To assist SIDS in combating the threat of climate change, the Prime Minister called on the international community to pay attention to the following:

  1. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) should not be classifying SIDS on the basis of per capita Gross Domestic Product, but should instead use a vulnerability index in determining the countries which qualify for concessionary funding from multilateral financial agencies and development partners.
  2. The 100 billion United States dollars pledged under the Paris Climate Agreement to assist developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation measures to combat climate change needs to be delivered on. The Prime Minister indicated that SIDS in particular have very little confidence that these funds will be delivered.
  3. Prime Minister Chastanet suggested that an alternative path could be the creation of a dedicated fund for SIDS to address resilience in the context of climate change and reiterated his call for a SIDS Foundation.
  4. The negative impacts of Blacklisting on the economies of the OECS and the reputational damage that these arbitrary and unjustified designations can cause to small economies was also highlighted. 

Following on from his meetings at the United Nations, the Prime Minister met with the Director General of the WTO Mr. Roberto Azevêdo.  The meeting explored the importance of trade to growth and development. The Prime Minister highlighted the need to assess the full trade potential of the tourism sector. According to the Prime Minister, understanding the full potential of the sector is a prerequisite to advancing policies that would impact the lives of the people of the OECS. Prime Minister Chastanet also stressed to the WTO Director General the need for global trade to benefit all countries, including small and vulnerable economies such as Saint Lucia and fellow OECS and CARICOM Member States   

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Dr. Didacus Jules, Director General of the OECS.

Climate Change International Relations CARICOM Disaster Risk Management Geneva Mission
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OECS Communications Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Morne Fortune
Saint Lucia