Despite remarkable progress made on each of the 17 United Nations millennium development goals, Grenada says more funds are needed for sustainable development.
“The fact that at least (US) 2.5 trillion dollars will be needed each year for the SDGs (sustainable development goals) signals the size of the gap that remains to be addressed,” said Grenada Foreign Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod in addressing the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
“Grenada is resolute in its commitment to conserve and promote the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources (SDG Goal 14),” he added.
Nimrod said that, earlier this year, Grenada hosted Blue Week 2016, which he said “employed the innovative and popularized shark tank approach, allowing local and international ocean entrepreneurs to pitch project ideas for funding.
The conference was held in collaboration and partnership with the Government of the Netherlands, Indonesia, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank, the Global Ocean Forum, the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and The Nature Conservancy.
“The rationale being that we cannot continue to only talk of the problems at ocean conferences, we need to facilitate solutions and commitments for the sustainable development and use of our oceans,” Nimrod said. “The ocean economy is an important starting point for thinking about conservation. The natural capital of the ocean is like the principal deposit of an interest-bearing bank account. Unfortunately, instead of living off the interest, we have been drawing from the principal.”
He noted that nine Caribbean nations have committed to conserving and managing 20 percent of their marine and coastal environment by 2020, with Grenada committing to conserve 25 percent of its coastal area and marine resources by the same date.
The foreign affairs minister said both of these commitments are well above Target 5 of SDG Goal 14, which calls for 10 percent conservation by 2020.
He said small island nations in the Caribbean and the Pacific must be lead advocates on oceans and climate change, stating that most of them have more space in the sea than on land, adding that Grenada’s maritime territory is 75 times its land mass.
“The ratios are even higher for other archipelagoes,” Nimrod said. “This is why Grenada is pleased to play a leading role not only in the Blue Network but also in the Blue Guardians facilitated by the Clinton Foundation and the GLISPA initiatives for islands. We invite other countries to partner with us and participate in both.”
He said Grenada is also helping the Blue Network create an online database and platform for ocean-related projects seeking funding.
Nimrod said Grenada’s classification as an Upper Middle Income Country restricts its access to concessionary financing and, together with our small size, “severely affects our ability to invest in renewable energy projects.
“Today, Grenada calls on member states, especially the ones who possess the technology and technical capacity, to continue to work with Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to increase their ability to harness existing renewable energy opportunities,” he said, adding that Grenada is almost 100 percent reliant on imported fossil fuels for electricity generation.
“As a result, our development is held hostage to the global price fluctuations and the high cost of electricity generation,” he added. “We, therefore, call for easier access to the Green Climate Fund to support renewable energy projects in SlDS.
Stating that the global community must pursue the 2030 UN agenda with “alacrity and tenacity,” Nimrod said he was proud to state that Grenada was among the first 15 states to deposit instruments of ratification to the Paris Agreement on April 22 at the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Signing Ceremony.
He said the early entry into force of this Agreement is critical, stating that SIDS continue to grapple with the effects of climate change and “the burden that adaptation and mitigation measures are having on national budgets and economies.
“As Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated, it is imperative that we boost climate action as we continue on our journey to a low-carbon, climate resilient future,” Nimrod said. “In this regard, Grenada calls for a commitment from world leaders to deposit their instruments of ratification to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the end of 2016.
“We hope that the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties that will be held in Marrakech, Morocco, in November, will build on the gains of the COP 21 and garner momentum that will propel the full implementation of the Paris Agreement.”
The Foreign Minister said Grenada further calls on the international community to work with it and other SIDS on innovative approaches to international climate financing, which would include catalyzing private investment.
But he said Grenada and other SIDS “suffer from debt overhang that limits fiscal space to address the climate challenge.”