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By Sherrica Thompson
#Bermuda, April 26, 2022 – Bermuda’s Deputy Prime Minister and Home Secretary, Walter Roban, urges island states, especially British Overseas Territories, to devote the same enthusiasm they have to crafting development proposals and opportunities for international investors to invest and protect the environment domestically and internationally.
In his address to the first Turks and Caicos Islands Climate Change Conference on April 22, Earth Day, the Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the effects and impacts of climate change on the small islands like Bermuda and ICT, noting that small island states and other developing countries are at the forefront of climate change impacts, and that is something that cannot be underestimated. As a result, he said, we (island states) must have strong regulatory frameworks, especially for environmental protection.
“Bermuda has done a lot of work on this and is happy to share this with TCI and other islands. We’ve had environmental protection since the 1600s, so we have a history of that, and we have, even at the over the past two decades, has done a lot to improve legislative protections and also enforcement,” said Minister Roban.
Roban also encouraged that it is important for island states to ensure that they also have strong regulatory frameworks around the energy sector and that island states should seek outside investment in this sector.
“We must also seek to encourage outside investment in green, solar, wind, ocean technologies and have a coordinated strategic approach to climate change around these technologies and effectively design and implement aggressive global plans that will mitigate and adapt. to the effects of climate change,” said Roban.
Thanks to the work Bermuda has done over the years on climate change, the country has been able to secure funding from the UK government to conduct a comprehensive climate study which will undertake a vulnerability assessment of key infrastructure in Bermuda, such as its airport, ports, public roads, power generation, underground infrastructure, utilities and communications, waste and energy plant, and wastewater management systems.
The study, Roban explained, will focus on the impact of climate change on the island of Bermuda. He further explained that the study should make predictions with the projection schedule for the best and worst climate scenarios in the short, medium and long term. When completed, it will allow Bermuda to project the impact that the areas conducted in the study will have on the country for 50 to 100 years.
Minister Roban stressed that these are the kind of projections island states need to have and understand in order to consider their decision-making and encouraged small island states in the region to conduct studies like these, even if it requires them to work together to do so.
“Small Island States in the region, if you are not able to pursue these studies individually, you can jointly support these studies together. This is one of the ways we can work together instead of assuming alone the full investment of these comprehensive studies, and we can create a pool of resources that will enable us to benefit from the results of these studies,” explained the Deputy Prime Minister.
He said island states should share these studies so that others can benefit from them.
“We need to share the results of these studies with each other because anything Bermuda learns about what is happening in Bermuda can benefit the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands and others,” Roban said. .
Roban also encouraged island states to take advantage of other opportunities that exist that allow for a study of their territories.
“I also encourage you to take advantage of academia; academia is often keen to come to our territory and work with us to complete these studies and sometimes they do it themselves without any financial commitment because it is part of building their own resource base,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
He added that: “universities, international organizations and research institutes are out there who want to work with us to study and do these studies, pursue, investigate and invite them on terms that are mutually beneficial to you.”
The Home Secretary also noted that it is important for island states to become strong voices in the campaign for climate action and “become our own advocate in the fight against climate change. As overseas, we need to work together.