April 30, 2022
(GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands) — The Cayman Islands have begun taking small steps towards tackling the looming crisis of climate change, doing its part to end deforestation and to conserve natural resources as agreed upon at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP26.
In doing so, the Cayman islands are taking on great responsibility for addressing climate change, more than countries many times its size. The Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport, addressed the nation on April 22, Earth Day, with a potent and dire plea for all residents of the Cayman Islands to keep its communities cleaner, greener, and beautiful.
“Together with over a billion people in over 193 countries, now in its 52nd year, we’re happy to join in the efforts to demonstrate our commitment to the preservation of our beautiful planet,” said Bryan. “I encourage all persons who call the Cayman Islands home to take positive action, specifically in addressing the problem of littering,” he urged.
The National Conservation Council of the Cayman Islands stated in its “Seizing the Moment to Transition to a Greener Economy” initiative that climate change and the failure of countries to address its underlying causes underpins the global environmental crisis and unless each country, including the Cayman Islands, acts urgently and responsibly, change will not happen.
During the council’s general meeting on March 23, Lisa-Ann Hurlston-McKenzie, a representative for Sustainable Development and Climate Change for the West Bay District, stressed the importance of making the public aware of the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report on Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability. The report, published in March, includes a climate change risk assessment for the small islands.
Gina Ebanks- Petrie, director of the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, informed the council that there will be a meeting with all the stakeholders to rank the risks and inform the development of actions and policies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
She told the council, “We’re very excited that we actually started to do some more work towards climate change and mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”
To deliver on what the UK COP26 describes as “stretching targets,” the National Conservation Council of the Cayman Islands has collaborated with governments, local businesses and civil society.
Steps To End Deforestation by 2030
The Cayman Islands Government, Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency implemented a community-wide tree- planting project, to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The initiative involves the planting of 70 native, endemic or fruit trees in each of Cayman’s constituencies and 70 mahogany trees across the three islands.
“To plant 1,330 trees across our islands is a big goal, but I know we can achieve it by working together from schools to church groups to service clubs and corporate green teams, everyone can get involved in this earth-saving project,” said the Hon. Wayne Panton[Premier and Minister of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency] in his government website press release on Feb. 11.
Residents are given an opportunity to identify and nominate community spaces, that should be protected areas. The Department of Environment continues to track deforestation and action its Climate Change Policy to meet the Paris Agreement.
The conservation council will account for the removal of natural systems of greenhouse gas by accurately reporting per capita emissions and recognizing their offset value. This will allow for the identification of sites for rehabilitation.
Additionally, there will be continuous efforts to promote wider public education on climate change, particularly because the younger generation is aware and having these conversations.