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Global Islands’ Vulnerability Research, Adaptation, Policy and Development (GIVRAPD) Project

Farming has long been a mainstay of St Lucia’s economy but for one grower living in the hills of Soufrière there’s no telling how long it can be a source of income. Climate change is altering the environmental balance, tipping life on the land into even greater uncertainty. “You don’t know when to plant and … Continue reading

What’s the difference between Weather and Climate?

Our climate is changing, but do you know the difference between Climate and Weather? Climate and weather have one difference. Weather measures the conditions of the atmosphere, through temperature, humidity, wind and precipitation, over a short period of time (day, week and month). Climate is the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually … Continue reading

Caribbean Governments now insured against excess rainfall

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) is pleased to announce that eight of its members have become the first countries to purchase its excess rainfall insurance coverage – for the 2014/2015 policy year.

Developed by CCRIF and global reinsurer, Swiss Re, the excess rainfall product is aimed primarily at extreme high rainfall events of short duration (a few hours to a few days), whether they happen during a tropical cyclone (hurricane) or not. Like CCRIF’s tropical cyclone and earthquake insurance, the excess rainfall product is parametric and estimates the impacts of heavy rain using satellite rainfall data from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and exposure from CCRIF’s risk estimation database. Because the excess rainfall product is parametric, a payout can be made quickly (within 14 days) after a rain event that triggers a country’s policy, without waiting for time-consuming damage and loss assessments on the ground.

CCRIF CEO, Mr. Isaac Anthony, stated that “The new excess rainfall product has been eagerly awaited by Caribbean governments as we all realize that considerable damage in the region is caused by rainfall and flooding. This product complements CCRIF’s hurricane coverage which determines losses based on wind and storm surge. We commend our eight members for taking the initiative and purchasing this ground-breaking product and hope that other countries in the region will follow.”

In expressing Swiss Re’s support, Mr. Martyn Parker, Chairman, Global Partnerships stressed, “Securing excess rainfall insurance protection demonstrates that Caribbean countries are taking a proactive approach to manage the contingent risks posed by climate change. Swiss Re is proud to support them in their efforts to ensure fiscal stability after a disaster.”

These countries will now be able to respond better  to an event such as the trough that brought heavy rains to the Eastern Caribbean in December last year, which resulted in loss of life, extensive damage to infrastructure and wide-spread economic disruption. The excess rainfall product is independent of the tropical cyclone product and if both policies are triggered by an event then both payouts are due.

Taking into consideration the fiscal challenges that many of our members face and their increasing levels of vulnerability, CCRIF continues to work towards reducing the overall premium cost to members. To this end, for the 2014-2015 policy year, CCRIF offered two one-off premium discount options due to a third successive year in which none of the policies held by member countries were triggered by an event. The two discount options were: a 25% discount on tropical cyclone and earthquake policy premium if no excess rainfall policy is purchased; and up to a 50% discount if applied to an excess rainfall policy.

Also, as done previously, for 2014/2015 policies, CCRIF allowed 50% of the total premium to be held as paid-in Participation Fee (the one-time fee paid when a country joins the Facility), with the excess therefore being available to co-fund premium, providing an opportunity to further reduce current expenditure on policy premiums. Additionally, countries which have not already done so can exercise the option to reduce their attachment point to a 10-year return period for tropical cyclones. This would result in coverage being secured for events that occur more frequently than was previously available.

As the main part of the Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches, CCRIF remains committed to supporting its members in their disaster risk management initiatives and their progress towards climate resiliency.

Note: TRMM is a research initiative undertaken by the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

About CCRIF: CCRIF is a not-for-profit risk pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered. It is the world’s first regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage withlowest-possible pricing. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalised through contributions to a multi-donor Trust Fund by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments. Since the inception of CCRIF in 2007, the Facility has made eight payouts totalling US$32,179,470 to seven member governments. All payouts were transferred to the respective governments within two weeks after each event.
For more information about CCRIF, please visit the CCRIF website at www.ccrif.org or send an email to pr@ccrif.org.
 
Credit: The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facilty

Caribbean Needs $30 Billion of Investment to Cut Fossil-Fuel Use

Banner for Climate Resilient Islands Partnership

Credit: Climate Resilient Islands Partnership Promo

The Caribbean needs to lure as much as $30 billion of investment to cut reliance on fossil fuel and expand renewable energy, partly by securing attractive payments for generators of clean power, a regional development bank said.

“Most of our countries are highly dependent on fossil fuels for power generation,” Caribbean Development Bank President Warren Smith said in an interview in London. “This vulnerability to volatile oil prices has contributed hugely to the competitiveness challenges of Caribbean industries.”

About $20 billion is needed in the next five to 10 years to replace power plants and upgrade distribution and transmission, he said. Another $10 billion is required to improve roads and airports and “climate-proof” current infrastructure. There is potential to replace 4,750 megawatts of fossil-fuel generation with renewables through 2019, Smith said.

The bank is talking with regional utilities interested in building clean-energy plants to feed power into the grid.

Nations need to attract investors by amending their laws to ensure generators are paid “equitable” fees for electricity. Barbados and Jamaica already have legislation in place and other countries should follow their lead, Smith said.

Barbados plans to get 29 percent of its power from clean sources by 2029 and Jamaica 30 percent by 2030. Barbados Light & Power Co. said June 12 it planned to build an 8-megawatt solar park. The bank is working with other islands to draft laws and draw investors to projects. Cutting fossil-fuel dependence would also help cut trade and debt imbalances in the region.

The islands should coordinate legislation to help counter the small size of their individual markets, according to Smith.

Eastern Caribbean islands including St Lucia and Grenada are working together on the Eastern Caribbean Energy Regulatory Authority to oversee utilities and advise governments on green energy development and cross-border interconnection, according to the website of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

“Our role is to catalyse investments,” Smith said. “We’ll work with other financial institutions, including the other multilateral banks, to provide a percentage of the debt financing required at relatively low rates of interest.”

The bank will offer loans to the energy industry that are subject to generators meeting goals.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louise Downing in London at ldowning4@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net Tony Barrett, Alex Devine

Credit: Louise Downing, Bloomberg

Climate Resilient Islands Partnership

 

Call for proposals – your green idea could win up to US$15,000

Are you a young innovator? Are you a citizen of Latin America and the Caribbean? Are you passionate about climate change? If so, you are eligible to participate in the Greenovators contest, organized by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and EARTH University, in collaboration with the Ibero-american General Secretariat and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy. … Continue reading

The Small Islands Weather Together Partnership is LIVE! #weather2gether

The Small Islands Weather Together partnership is now live! What is Partnership? The “Small Islands, Weather Together” partnership is designed to show how the small island nations of the world are working together to improve their vital weather and climate services.  This initiative has been developed by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Secretariat of … Continue reading

Key elements for an ACP Position paper for COP20

Climate Change is happening now and is already affecting the planet and communities around the world. African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are amongst the most vulnerable countries suffering from its negative effects. We all must act now. As a follow-up to the Second Regional Technical Meeting held in Brussels in May 2014, the GCCA … Continue reading

UN Releases Six Briefs for SIDS Conference Partnership Dialogues

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released a series of six briefing papers on priority themes for discussion during the Third International Conference on Small Island Development States (SIDS), set to take place in Apia, Samoa, from 1-4 September 2014.

The SIDS conference will include six multi-stakeholder ‘Partnership Dialogues’ intended to strengthen existing partnerships and promote new ones. The UN briefing papers correspond to the partnership dialogue themes of: sustainable economic development; climate change and disaster risk management; social development in SIDS, health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), youth and women; sustainable energy; oceans, seas and biodiversity; water and sanitation, food security and waste management. The papers suggest a wide range of opportunities that could be addressed through new or existing partnerships, especially public-private collaborations.

On sustainable economic development, the authors propose conducting investment impact monitoring, and establishing regional SIDS programmes to promote investment through public-private partnerships.

On climate change and disaster risk management, the authors suggest the adoption of risk financing instruments, such as contingency funds and insurance, as part of spatial and development planning initiatives.

On social development, they note that obesity and diabetes rates are “staggering” in the Pacific, and they aim to prevent premature morbidity and mortality from NCDs, including measures to protect SIDS from the negative impacts of bilateral and global trade agreements. They also aim to make education more relevant, and to improve labor market access and secure quality jobs for young people.

On sustainable energy, the authors recommend supporting an enabling environment for sustainable energy markets; facilitating access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services for rural households; decreasing reliance on fossil fuel imports; and improving women’s access to renewable and cost-effective energy.

On oceans, they recommend addressing the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change, promoting inclusive and sustainable development of local economies using the oceans, preventing marine and land-based pollution, and reversing the decline in fish stocks.

On water and sanitation, they propose strengthening regional mechanisms for managing hazardous wastes and ship-generated wastes; promoting resource efficiency as a means to reduce the generation of waste and wastewater, and incorporating climate information into practices and policies for supporting agriculture and food security. [Partnership Dialogue Briefs] [SIDS Conference Website] [SIDS Partnerships Platform]

Credits: International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd)

Vacancy at DFID Caribbean – Senior Programme Officer

The United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) Caribbean is now accepting applications for the post of Senior Programme Officer. The post-holder will support the Climate Change and DRR team in delivering a portfolio of climate change and disaster risk reduction programmes and policy initiatives in the Caribbean.

Applicants are required to complete DFID’s application form, which is available on the British High Commission website 29th August 2014.
Review the official call for applications here.
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