STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE VINCENT O. WHEATLEY
PARLIAMENTARY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
MINISTER FOR NATURAL RESOURCES AND LABOUR
COP 26 SIDE EVENT PROTAGONIST LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN PARLIAMENTS:
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY OBSERVATORY
FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND JUST TRANSITION
9TH NOVEMBER 2021
17:30 TO 18:45 GMT
Ladies and Gentleman;
Viewers watching online;
A pleasant good afternoon. I bring you warm greetings from the Caribbean.
Mr. Chairman, the British Virgin Islands is very pleased to be a part of this timely initiative which reflects successful inter-parliamentary cooperation among parliamentarians in Latin America and the Caribbean in the lead up to COP 26. I am highly confident the Parliamentary Observatory for Climate Change and Just Transition will prove to be an invaluable asset to parliamentarians seeking to guide their parliaments’ efforts to help accelerate the national transition from carbon intensive societies to low carbon economies.
It is imperative that we all recognise that the responsibility to preserve life on this planet now falls on everyone, no matter how big or small their society. Just last week in my own constituency in the British Virgin Islands, a government-led initiative to develop a major solar farm on the island of Anegada has advanced.
While mitigation measures are paramount in global efforts to arrest climate change, the importance of adaptation cannot be forgotten. Latin America and the Caribbean’s ability to cope with the ongoing negative effects of climate change, especially among the Low-lying Coastal States and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) of the region, hinges on our ability to accelerate climate resilience using legislation that can, among other things, improve building codes that strengthen the ability of our housing and building infrastructure to withstand climate shocks.
I speak from the experience of the British Virgin Islands as a post-disaster society that is still recovering from the devastation of two category five hurricanes in September 2017. You will recall that Hurricane Irma was one of the strongest hurricanes on record to pass over the Atlantic and Caribbean.
We have continued to strengthen our environmental policies and laws to conserve and protect our environment. For example, we have adopted stronger measures to protect mangrove forests that serve as natural coastal defences from storm surges and also absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
Mr. Chairman, as I close, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the establishment of the Parliamentary Observatory for Climate Change and Just Transition; and thank you Senator Jaques Wagner, President of the Environment Commission in Brazil; Ms. Gladys Esther Gonzalez, President of the Environment Commission and Sustainable Development in Argentina; and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, for your leadership.
The British Virgin Islands will remain engaged.
I thank you.