Lessons to be had from the small fry
For the past few weeks, much of the world has focused on the northern part of Britain.
To be precise, the world’s gaze was on a “wee town” in Scotland called Glasgow.
Quite literally, the future of the planet as we know it depended on decisions made during the meeting of world leaders at the United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties, more commonly known as COP26.
Leaders from almost every nation on Earth gathered in Glasgow, along with approximately 25,000 persons in attendance.
Bermuda was represented by Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, who led the delegation of the Overseas Territories.
The pertinent issues discussed were as follows:
• To secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep warming to 1.5C
• To adapt to protect communities and natural habitats
Failure to contain the world’s temperature may lead to the following:
• Increased droughts and heatwaves
• Irregular crop seasons
• Stronger hurricanes
• Rises in sea levels
Countries with large landmasses, such as Russia, China and the United States, which produce the most carbon emissions, have the luxury of not worrying about the adverse effects of rises in sea levels and stronger hurricanes.
Unfortunately, for island states around the world, global warming and hurricanes have destroyed property, livelihood and lives.
If anyone needs a reminder, they need look no farther than the impact of two Category 5 hurricanes in September 2017 — Irma and Maria.
These hurricanes devastated Anguilla, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Turks & Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Property damage was incalculable, an untold amount of jobs were lost, and, thousands died in Puerto Rico and throughout the other islands.
While everyone knew about COP26, later in November, there was a lesser-known gathering that took place in the “wee town” of London, England.
Representatives of the remaining British colonies, or United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association, met for the annual Joint Ministerial Conference.
The UKOTA Members are as follows:
• Ascension Islands
• British Virgin Islands
• Cayman Islands
• Falkland Islands
• Pitcairn Islands
• St Helena
• Tristan da Cunha
• Turks & Caicos Islands
Bermuda’s David Burt serves as the president of UKOTA.
Under his leadership, the premiers of these Overseas Territories met to discuss items such as relations with each other, relations with Britain, the Covid-19 response, the adverse effects of Brexit, and economic resilience.
Without a doubt, one of the most important topics of discussion is the environmental and economic devastation that climate change is slowly but surely bringing to the island states.
Bearing in mind that each member of the UKOTA family is a country that depends on tourism, fishing and clean environments, it was of utmost concern to discuss the need for adaptation for the impending effects of climate change.
Leadership through humility
More often than not, those who are elected leaders have to have an innate sense of self-confidence to navigate their country through challenging times.
Simply put, one cannot be wishy-washy and expect to command the respect of fellow politicians and the population as a whole.
The key to authentic leadership is to know how to balance confidence with humility.
During the JMC, leaders from diverse parts of the world, and differing personalities, had to demonstrate immaculate qualities of statesmanship to put forward a wide range of perspectives on several items.
The 250,000 persons from around the Overseas Territories should be proud to know that their leaders are working collectively on behalf of all.
The leaders of larger nations would do well to take lessons from the OTs, as, quite literally, both our livelihoods and lives depend on it.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org