Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 24, 2020 (SKNIS)
A Caribbean regional videoconference hosted by UNESCO’s Montevideo office (Uruguay) to present its World Water Resources Report 2020 (WWDR2020), offered St. Kitts and Nevis an opportunity to expound on its efforts to galvanise the region, with UNESCO’s assistance, towards a common vision relating to a water policy framework, in the wake of climate change.
St. Kitts & Nevis’ Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, Dr. David P. Doyle, was invited to address the event held under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), and attended by delegates drawn from water authorities and IHP focal contacts across the Caribbean region. He underlined the vulnerability factor triggered by limited freshwater resources – both ground and surface water – due to rising sea levels, climate variability and change. “Like many small islands across the globe, encirclement by marine water inevitably leads saltwater intrusion into groundwater resources, which has become a problem of some magnitude. Recent COVID-19 pandemic had added urgency to the issue, from a sanitation perspective”.
Referring to the results of a High-Level Symposium on Achieving Water Security in Caribbean SIDS, held in St. Kitts last October, Ambassador Doyle noted the commonality of issues discussed at this event that were underlined in the UNESCO Water & Climate Change Report 2020. This related, in particular, to the adverse effects of climate change effects on water resources, including groundwater, and water-related disasters such as flooding and droughts. “Exacerbating this trend are the extended and more frequent periods of droughts”, he said, which the WWDR2020 report forecasts will impact the region harder in the years ahead.
The videoconference heard from UNESCO’s two key water experts: Massimiliano Lombardo, Programme Specialist in Natural Sciences, at the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean in Jamaica, and Miguel Doria, Assistant Programme Specialist, UNESCO Division of Water