The President addressing parliament on Wednesday morning

Pointing to a series of major natural disasters suffered by Dominica in its short history as an independent state, the transition to climate resilience is mandatory for the island, President of Dominica His Excellency Charles Savarin has said.

He was speaking at the opening of the First Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament on Wednesday morning.

“This is mandatory for continued social and economic advancement of ourselves and of our country,” he said. “We must improve our capacity to withstand these catastrophic natural events which we are told are like to become more frequent and even more devastating and to mitigate the effect and recover more quickly if and when impacted.”

The President stated that the alternative would be what he called “retrogression with each and every event.”

“The government has taken the initiative in articulating the vision to make Dominica the first climate resilient country in the world,” he stated. “It is however incumbent upon each of us, whether at a household level, at the community level or within individual enterprises to play our part.”

He said in going forward, everyone must collaborate around a designated “climate resilient pathway for overall success and survival as a country and as a people.”

He noted that the question can be asked as to what exactly does the transition to a climate resilient country entails and how associated programs be implemented in practical terms.

“Conceptually, there is an inverse relationship between the vulnerability and resilience,” the President stated. “That is a decline in vulnerability means an increase and improvement in resilience. Accordingly, a society which is climate resilient as measured by the objectivity of the verifiable indicators is also a society whose vulnerability to weather-induced disasters or catastrophes is low. Not that in the real world of today vulnerability of any society or country to adverse climatic conditions can never be eliminated completely or quickly. Rather, the magnitude or extent of such vulnerability may be reduced or mitigated or alternatively, the adaptive capacity of relevant entities in the society may be strengthened.”

He stated that the resilience of the local economy and climate change resilience have “perhaps emerged as the pre-eminent challenge of the 21st century and hence the onus is on us both individually and collectively to address our own vulnerability urgently.”

“The problem is rooted in the phenomenon of global warming and climate change, the evidence on which indicates that the causal factor associated with global warming and climate change originated largely outside the Caribbean and specifically in industrialized countries,” he stated.

President Savarin said Dominica and other countries have essentially become innocent victims of “man’s assault on the environment.”

“That situation, notwithstanding, as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, Dominica has a responsibility to seek to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on its people and to devise strategies towards finding solutions to this problem,” he remarked.