Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency Wayne Panton is in Glasgow, Scotland, participating in COP26, where global leaders are meeting to discuss strategies to confront climate change.
The Premier joined the United Kingdom delegation and can access 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.
The Premier said Cayman’s presence will give Cayman an opportunity to strengthen its relationships with global partners in the collective fight against climate change and the damage it is doing to planet Earth.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Eighteen-year-old Caymanian Dejea Lyons will also be participating in COP26. Dejea was selected as a student representative for all the UK Overseas Territories UKOT and will be speaking on an ‘Oceans Panel’ on Nature Day at the global conference. The Ministry for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency (SCR) are currently working with her as she prepares for her upcoming participation.
Dr. Tasha Ebanks-Garcia from the Cayman Islands’ Government office in London, serves as the official contact to COP26 and initially reached out to the National Trust of the Cayman Islands for their guidance and selection of youth ambassadors. Dejea Lyons and Isabella Watler were awarded the opportunity to attend the conference. Dejea was subsequently chosen to participate as a panellist.
Annick Jackman, Director of the National Trust called Dejea an “inspiration” and called her selection “momentous”.
Dejea is currently on an academic scholarship from the Ministry of Education, pursuing studies in Global Development and Sustainability at Bath Spa University in the UK and has an extensive track record of academic and extracurricular accomplishments, serving as Vice President of ‘Protect Our Future’ while at school at Cayman International School, when she honed her passion for the environment, championing various community initiatives.
“Since discovering my passion for the environment, I have been actively researching climate change and the impact that it will have on small island nations such as ours,” Dejea stated. “Sadly however, once I became aware of these effects, I quickly came to realise that hypotheses made by scientists have started to become a reality for our islands. This includes beach erosion, coral bleaching, stronger hurricanes and more.”
She said that witnessing such events fuelled her passion to help strengthen Cayman’s resilience against climate change.
At COP26 she said she would be able to inform others on what the Cayman Islands had been doing to alleviate the impacts of climate change on its community and would also be able to listen and learn from experts and political leaders globally about their methods of resolving this global issue.
The panel will take place on Saturday, 6 November at 11:00-11:45AM (GMT +1). The Cayman Islands Government will update the public about the availability of a live stream link access in due course.