September 24th, 2019 St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris met with The Commonwealth’s Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, on the sidelines of high-level events at the United Nations yesterday, Monday, September 23rd, 2019.
Their discussions on Monday were informed by shared values and concern for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
“In 2015, we had [Tropical Storm] Erika. Then two years later, we had [Hurricanes] Irma and Maria, and just recently [Hurricane] Dorian,” Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, who was born in Dominica, said near the start of the meeting with Prime Minister Harris.
“We have to have our voice be heard in a consistent way,” the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis said while discussing the toll that climate change is taking on small, vulnerable countries, which have a difficult time rebuilding after a disaster due to red tape and other barriers in accessing concessional financing.
Of the 53 member countries of The Commonwealth, 31 of them are classified as small states. According to The Commonwealth’s website, “All members have an equal say – regardless of size or economic stature. This ensures even the smallest member countries have a voice in shaping the Commonwealth.”
The Secretary-General noted during her meeting with Prime Minister Harris that The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub has helped small states in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific access roughly $28 million USD by deploying international climate finance specialists to assist them with applications for funding.
During their meeting, they also discussed opportunities associated with boosting trade, business and cooperation among the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
In relation to helping its member countries achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Commonwealth has a Toolkit for SDG Implementation, which the Secretary-General says helps to sharpen the analytical skills of policymakers, casting a light on their countries’ real priorities.
For more information on the work of The Commonwealth, you can visit www.thecommonwealth.org.