November 29, 2021

Cayman: Premier heads to COP26

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GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency Hon. G. Wayne Panton travels to Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday to participate in COP26 where global leaders will meet to discuss strategies to confront climate change.

While at COP26 Mr. Panton will join the United Kingdom delegation and will have access to the Blue Zone, the United Nations-managed space that hosts the negotiations and brings together delegations from 197 parties. Access to the Blue Zone is restricted primarily to government ministers and accredited government officials. The Zone is the venue for the World Leaders’ Summit on 1 and 2 November. 

Premier Panton has also been invited to attend the Commonwealth Reception at the World Leaders’ Summit on 2 November, an event jointly hosted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the United Kingdom Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, MP.

“Our presence there will afford the Cayman Islands an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with global partners in our collective fight against climate change and the damage it is doing to planet Earth,” said Mr. Panton. “The impact of climate change is frightening, especially for small islands states like ours. Our voices need to be heard loud and clear and I intend to add mine to those of our regional colleagues who share the same vulnerabilities and concerns.

“The Caribbean is highly vulnerable to sea level rise and increase in water temperature. Our rallying cry remains “1.5 to stay alive”, the goal is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels to prevent the worst of the climate change impacts to the Caribbean, including ensuring coral reef and biodiversity survival.  I join with the regional community to strongly advocate closing the emissions gap, and increasing financial support for those nations most vulnerable to climate change impacts,” he said.

The Glasgow conference is from 31 October to 12 November. COP26 (the Conference of Parties) is an annual United Nations conference that brings together leaders and negotiators from across the world with the aim of accelerating action to tackle climate change.

The conference will focus on how countries can achieve the goals set out in:

  • The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty that commits countries to reduce greenhouse emissions to keep the global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius due to climate change; and
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which established an international environmental treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

Mr. Panton will leave COP on 3 November to return home to the Cayman Islands.

“While I know that I can make our voice heard about climate change while in Glasgow, I am also aware that I need to come home to continue addressing issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the need to finalise the first budget for the PACT Government,” he said.

Also representing the Cayman Islands will be Dejae Lyons and Isabella Watler both students from the Cayman Islands. They will be chaperoned by Environmental Programmes Manager Catherine Childs. Government and the private sector have partnered to sponsor the students’ attendance.

Dejae, who will be Cayman’s representative on the UKOT Nature Day panel, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Global Development and Sustainability. The panel on which she will speak will showcase the precious and vulnerable natural environments of the UK Overseas Territories as the world’s largest marine estate.

“It is critically important that nations around the world include the young people in climate talks,” said Premier Panton. “It is their future that is being discussed and they should be included in the conversation.”

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