World Trade Organisation (WTO) Called Upon to Assist SIDS in Face of Climate Threats

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Called Upon to Assist SIDS in Face of Climate Threats

OECS Media Release

Geneva, Switzerland: Senior Officials from OECS Member States have called upon the WTO to assist Small Island Developing States build economic resilience in the face of climate change related hazards including category 5+ hurricanes and rising sea levels. 

In a statement to the WTO General Council, the highest decision-making body of the World Trade Organization, the OECS highlighted the unique challenges faced by Small Island States impacted by climate change events and noted the negative impacts of such events on trade and development.

In response to the escalating climate change related risks, the OECS statement charged the world body responsible for setting and regulating international trade rules to find creative approaches that respond to climate change related vulnerabilities.   

This OECS statement was delivered by High Commissioner H.E. Guy Mayers, who also serves as Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to the WTO.

OECS Member States pressed the WTO to provide Small Island Developing States with flexibilities in line with their vulnerability to environmental and climate change induced risks.

The statement further urged the establishment of a matrix such as a “Vulnerability Index” that can be used to establish a baseline for greater flexibilities needed to respond to environmental hazards.

This call to the world trade body was made in response to the severe economic impact caused to OECS Member States by the 2017 hurricane season.

The Ambassador noted that beyond the catastrophic impacts that more intense storms have on the physical infrastructure of OECS Members States, these storms have devastating effects on the private sector.

Speaking after his presentation to the WTO, H.E. Mayers noted that the rules of the WTO have already failed OECS Member States on the issue of Bananas and must now provide the necessary accommodations to small states that are at risk.

The Ambassador challenged the WTO to take concrete steps to address what is quickly becoming a survival issue for Small Island developing states. 

The Saint Lucia envoy proposed that the WTO should create strong safeguards that can be triggered after a natural disaster that would provide sufficient policy space for recovery.

The WTO General Council met in Geneva on 12 December 2018 to discuss the challenges facing the international trading systems

The OECS Mission in Geneva supports Member States in integrating their positions into on-going trade negotiations. The Mission is headed by Mr Stephen Fevrier.

View Statement Below 

   This story aligns with OECS Strategic Objective No.1: Regional Integration.
   This story aligns with OECS Strategic Objective No.4: Alignment of Foreign Policy of Member States.
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Stephen Fevrier Head, Permanent Delegation of the OECS. Geneva Mission, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communication Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Ramon Peachey Directeur de la Communication, Organisation des Etats de la Caraïbe Orientale
Stephen Fevrier Head, Permanent Delegation of the OECS. Geneva Mission, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
OECS Communication Unit Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Ramon Peachey Directeur de la Communication, Organisation des Etats de la Caraïbe Orientale
About The 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. 

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