UWI alumnus one of the architects of a global climate resilience strategy for islands

Mr. Carlisle Richardson, of St. Kitts and Nevis, recently attended the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP23). Carlisle was part of the team that launched the Frontlines Cities and Islands Initiative, as a means of helping islands build resilience to climate change.

Frontlines Cities and Islands is a program for sustainable island and urban development through partnerships between sub-national and city leaders. It addresses a range of issues important to islands including, amongst others: resilience and systems planning, climate change and clean energy, healthy oceans and near-shore coastal fisheries management, resilient infrastructure and innovative finance, ecosystems services for resilience and post disaster recovery, and sustainable tourism.

Carlisle noted in his opening remarks of the Frontlines Cities and Islands event that, “we are at the frontlines of climate change, and we are also at the frontlines of climate solutions.” He envisions “partnerships through the city to city twinning process where cities and communities learn from each other, have discussions about projects, and implement strategies for sustainable development.”

Caribbean islands have viewed climate change as a major factor in the destructive 2017 hurricane season and those affected by the hurricanes are focused on “building back better.” The Frontlines Cities and Islands initiative was developed with that type of focus in mind. This initiative therefore presents an opportunity for Caribbean islands to pursue an additional option in strengthening their resilience to climate change and natural disasters.

The partners of the Frontlines Cities and Islands initiative are ICLEI, and the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA). ICLEI is an international agency promoting sustainable urban development through the actions of local governments and organisations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. GLISPA promotes action to build resilient and sustainable island communities by inspiring leadership, catalyzing commitments and facilitating collaboration for all islands.

The recently concluded COP23 was viewed as an opportunity to build on the Paris Agreement of 2015. It was held in Bonn, Germany and Chaired by the Pacific island of Fiji. The next meeting, COP24, will be held in Katowice, Poland in December 2018.

Carlisle Richardson is a former Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations and a former United Nations’ Small Island Developing States expert. He graduated from UWI’s Cave Hill Campus with a BSc (Hons) in Economics and History in 1997, and from UWI’s Institute of International Relations in St. Augustine, with a Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations in 1999.

Photo Caption: From left to right
Yunus Arikan Head of ICLEI Global Policy and Advocacy, Steve Gawler Regional Director of ICLEI Oceania, H.E. Peter Thompson, United Nations Special Envoy on Oceans, Hon. Lorna Eden Assistant Minister for Local Government of Fiji, Perla Cecilia Tun Pech, Mayor of Cozumel, Mexico, H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. President of Palau, Penny Hulse, Councillor of Auckland Council, New Zealand, Franz Marré, Head of the Division of Water, Urban Development and Mobility at BMZ, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Andrew Mua, Mayor of Honiara, Solomon Islands, and Carlisle Richardson, Special Advisor to ICLEI Oceania on Small Island Developing States
Photo taken by ICLEI