Thursday evening brought to a close the third climate change seminar hosted by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat (OECS). Delegates and media personnel from member states gathered from September 3-5 at the Royal Saint Lucian Hotel to discuss the adverse impact of climate change on two of the most viable sectors across the region: tourism and agriculture.
Speaking at the closing press conference, Head of the Economic Affairs division of the OECS Secretariat, Rodinald Soomer, expressed his elation at the progress made during the sessions.
“The focus of this seminar was the impact of climate change on tourism and agriculture and the steps that need to be taken to have appropriate adaptation measures in place to
increase the resilience, competitiveness and performance of these sectors given the adverse impacts of climate change.
We thought that the seminar was a great success in terms of the level and quality of participation from the member states, from our development partners, from the private sector, from our traditional support agencies, and technical agencies in agriculture in particular.”
Soomer is hopeful that the information gleaned from the seminar can be put into immediate use by St Lucia and their Caribbean counterparts.
“Our emphasis in taking the outcomes forward is to ensure that we can translate a lot of the conclusions and recommendations to tangible actions that will impact the adaptation agenda in member states within the framework of the development agenda for the OECS,” he explained.
“And in that regard let me just say that these two sectors are the areas of focus for this seminar, tourism and agriculture are featured prominently as one would expect in
the OECS growth and development strategy which is in the process of being finalized. Certainly from my own perspective coming from the economic affairs division, is that a lot of the recommendations that have come out from the sessions over the last two days will add significant value to the strategies that are in the process of being finalized for agriculture and tourism from the point of view of enhancing the growth and development prospects for these sectors, ensuring that we properly manage the natural
resource base on which the production from these sectors is derived both in terms of quality and quantity of production and ensuring the sustainability of these sectors over time.”
The theme for this year’s festivities was ‘climate change, Tourism and agriculture – Strategies and innovations for adaptation. Activities included a mini festival fashioned after an open house which featured theatre and dance presentations as well a spoken word. On Wednesday, media members were taken on a tour of the storm surge protection, dubbed rip rap, along the Point Seraphine duty Free Shopping Complex.