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Reflections on the UN Climate Talks (Guest Post)

COP 20 wrapped up in Lima, Peru last week and many attendees are reflecting on the negotiations. Today Caribbean Climate features a review by Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, a Journalist and the Regional Director of Panos Caribbean – a non-government organisation that focuses on development communication. Soo… what has been achieved after two weeks of talks? That was … Continue reading

Pathways to climate change adaptation: the case of Small Island Developing States

The University of Geneva is now providing a course called "Pathways to climate change adaptation: the case of Small Island Developing States". This course provides an overview of climate change adaptation for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It will present key concepts regarding the issues of adaptation to climate change and the methodological tools needed to analyse challenges faced by SIDS in order to propose sustainable solutions.
Learn more about the course here.

Lessons from Jamaica’s Billion-Dollar Drought

The Yallahs River, one of the main water sources for Jamaica's Mona Reservoir, has been dry for months. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

The Yallahs River, one of the main water sources for Jamaica’s Mona Reservoir, has been dry for months. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

As Jamaica struggles under the burden of an ongoing drought, experts say ensuring food security for the most vulnerable groups in society is becoming one of the leading challenges posed by climate change.

“The disparity between the very rich and the very poor in Jamaica means that persons living in poverty, persons living below the poverty line, women heading households with large numbers of children and the elderly are greatly disadvantaged during this period,” Judith Wedderburn, Jamaica project director at the non-profit German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), told IPS.

“The food production line gets disrupted and the cost of food goes up, so already large numbers of families living in poverty have even greater difficulty in accessing locally grown food at reasonable prices.” — Judith Wedderburn of FES

“The concern is that as the climate change implications are extended for several years that these kinds of situations are going to become more and more extreme, [such as] greater floods with periods of extreme drought.”

Wedderburn, who spoke with IPS on the sidelines of a FES and Panos Caribbean workshop for journalists held here earlier this month, said Caribbean countries – which already have to grapple with a finite amount of space for food production – now have the added challenges of extreme rainfall events or droughts due to climate change.

“In Jamaica, we’ve had several months of drought, which affected the most important food production parishes in the country,” she said, adding that the problem does not end when the drought breaks.

“We are then affected by extremes of rainfall which results in flooding. The farming communities lose their crops during droughts [and] families associated with those farmers are affected. The food production line gets disrupted and the cost of food goes up, so already large numbers of families living in poverty have even greater difficulty in accessing locally grown food at reasonable prices and that contributes to substantial food insecurity – meaning people cannot easily access the food that they need to keep their families well fed.”

One local researcher predicts that things are likely to get even worse. Dale Rankine, a PhD candidate at the University of the West Indies (UWI), told IPS that climate change modelling suggests that the region will be drier heading towards the middle to the end of the century.

“We are seeing projections that suggest that we could have up to 40 percent decrease in rainfall, particularly in our summer months. This normally coincides with when we have our major rainfall season,” Rankine said.

“This is particularly important because it is going to impact most significantly on food security. We are also seeing suggestions that we could have increasing frequency of droughts and floods, and this high variability is almost certainly going to impact negatively on crop yields.”

He pointed to “an interesting pattern” of increased rainfall over the central regions, but only on the outer extremities, while in the west and east there has been a reduction in rainfall.

“This is quite interesting because the locations that are most important for food security, particularly the parishes of St. Elizabeth [and] Manchester, for example, are seeing on average reduced rainfall and so that has implications for how productive our production areas are going to be,” Rankine said.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced recently that September 2014 was the hottest in 135 years of record keeping. It noted that during September, the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius), which was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre, the first nine months of 2014 had a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius), tying with 1998 for the warmest first nine months on record.

Robert Pickersgill, Jamaica’s water, land, environment and climate change minister, said more than 18,000 small farmers have been affected by the extreme drought that has been plaguing the country for months.

He said the agricultural sector has lost nearly one billion dollars as a result of drought and brush fires caused by extreme heat waves.

Pickersgill said reduced rainfall had significantly limited the inflows from springs and rivers into several of the country’s facilities.

“Preliminary rainfall figures for the month of June indicate that Jamaica received only 30 per cent of its normal rainfall and all parishes, with the exception of sections of Westmoreland (54 percent), were in receipt of less than half of their normal rainfall. The southern parishes of St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Thomas along with St Mary and Portland were hardest hit,” Pickersgill said.

Clarendon, he said, received only two percent of its normal rainfall, followed by Manchester with four percent, St. Thomas six percent, St. Mary eight percent, and 12 percent for Kingston and St. Andrew.

Additionally, Pickersgill said that inflows into the Mona Reservoir from the Yallahs and Negro Rivers are now at 4.8 million gallons per day, which is among the lowest since the construction of the Yallahs pipeline in 1986, while inflows into the Hermitage Dam are currently at six million gallons per day, down from more than 18 million gallons per day during the wet season.

“It is clear to me that the scientific evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger is now even stronger. As such, the need for us to mitigate and adapt to its impacts is even greater, and that is why I often say, with climate change, we must change,” Pickersgill told IPS.

Wedderburn said Jamaica must take immediate steps to adapt to climate change.

“So the challenge for the government is to explore what kinds of adaptation methods can be used to teach farmers how to do more successful water harvesting so that in periods of severe drought their crops can still grow so that they can have food to sell to families at reasonable prices to deal with the food insecurity.”

 Credit: IPS News

“A Partnership Success Story” – 5Cs hosts side event at COP 20 (video)

Save the date
The Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean are minute contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, but are among the most vulnerable countries in the world to Climate Change. We are already experiencing its impacts. More frequent extreme weather events, such as the 2013 rain event in the Eastern Caribbean; the extreme droughts being experienced across the region, with severe consequences in places like Jamaica; the 2005 flooding in Guyana and Belize in 2010 are prime examples of the need for ambitious global action on climate adaptation and mitigation.

Inaction on Climate Change is simply too costly for our region. An economic analysis focused on just three areas – increased hurricane damages, loss of tourism revenue and infrastructure damages – shows it could cost the region US$10.7 Billion by 2025. That is more than the combined GDP of the nine countries that make up the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Cognizant of these challenges, our negotiators are actively engaged in the Climate Change negotiations underway at COP 20 in Lima, Peru. We are also using the forum to share some of the transformational actions taken across the region in response to Climate Change and Climate Variability. Join us today for a side event dubbed "A Partnership Success Story - Reflecting on a Decade of Excellence and Charting the Future". The event is being held in collaboration with the Italian Republic and will include panel discussions and the screening of a feature video (shared below) about the Centre's work.

“Partnering for Survival” – Dr Kenrick Leslie calls for deeper partnerships to address Climate Change at COP 20

Dr Kenrick Leslie, CBE, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, addressed delegates at the UNFCCC COP 20/MOP 10 on December 12, 2014. Dr Leslie’s address focused on the Caribbean’s successes in tackling Climate Change in spite of significant challenges and urged greater partnerships to address Climate Change. Peruse Dr Leslie’s “Partnering for … Continue reading

Browse the IDRC Davos 2014 Outcomes Report

Global Risk Forum

The outcomes of the 5th International Disaster and Risk Conference (IDRC) Davos 2014, which was held from 24th -28 thof August in Davos, Switzerland, is now available.

The Outcomes Report is now available for download and consists of two major parts. Part I provides a summary of the findings of the post-conference expert workshop with focus on science and technology, education and training, and implementation (workshop participants are listed in the annex part III).

Part II shows all the various comments which have been provided by the IDRC Davos 2014 participants to the pre-zero and the zero draft concept. The comments are listed according to the numbering used in the existent zero draft. Many comments are very much in-line with the existent draft and might also serve for confirmation purposes of the existent zero draft.

The outcomes of the IDRC Davos 2014 expected to serve as a science & technology input for the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (HFA2) and provide recommendations towards the UN World Conference WCDRR in Sendai, Japan.

The next IDRC Davos conference will be held from 28 Aug. – 1st Sept. 2016.

IDRC 2014 Presentations and Proceedings

You missed a session or the entire event? – All presentations are still available online.

Plenaries and keynotes have been recorded and can be watched as video stream. Parallel session abstracts and presentations can also be read online. Explore our interactive conference review!

Explore the Interactive Review!
Credit: Global Risk Forum

Bringing agriculture into Climate Change commitments

Government officials, representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations are meeting at COP20 in Lima, Peru, to discuss a new global climate change agreement. Since the notion of agriculture is not on the agenda, The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) and other organisations working in agriculture and rural development are striving to establish formal arrangements for addressing agriculture within the next UN Climate Change negotiations. As week two of COP 20 gets into full gear, we urge you to join the online discussion by tweeting #cop20 or #foodsecurity.

Lima

6KEYISSUESStepping up the challenge: six issues facing global climate change and food security

To this end, on 7 December 2014, a special seminar, Stepping up to the challenge – Six issues facing global climate change and food security, was co-organised by CARE International, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to inform COP negotiators, global development planners and policy-makers. Dr. Olu Ajayi, CTA Senior Programme Coordinator, ARD Policy, presented one of the lead papers at the seminar. The African Union Commission (AUC), represented by Dr. Abebe Haile Gabriel, gave a keynote address at the event. CTA also invited individuals to chair some of the sessions during the seminar, including farmers’ representatives from the Caribbean and representatives of the ACP secretariat.

A hackathon event on climate-smart agriculture

One week earlier, CTA, the International Potato Center (CIP) and CCAFS organised a hackathon on Climate-Smart Agriculture to deploy ICT tools that provide better and easier access to climate information. These, enable stakeholders to manage climate variability and make better decisions, and bring solutions that will help farmers to reduce the risk of crop failure. CTA also facilitated the participation of youths from the Caribbean, as means to upscale the impact of the event and achieve an economy of scale.

Agriculture should be integrated into UN climate change negotiations

As expressed in a CGIAR blog on this topic, this year’s negotiations are “an important opportunity to bring agriculture into climate change commitments and activities and tackle issues related to agriculture and food security.” In fact, agriculture is expected to be higher up on the agenda at COP21, to be held in Paris next year. On that occasion, CTA, CGIAR and Farming First will team up to provide support and disseminate knowledge around the incorporation of agriculture within climate change negotiations. This builds on their efforts in 2013, when they jointly developed a Guide to UNFCCC Negotiations on Agriculture – Toolkit for Communications and Outreach.

Credit: CTA 

 

Million dollar project could reduce water price

A million dollar renewal energy project that could slash local water bills is expected to be in operation by February.

The European Union-funded initiative, according to EU Programme Director for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) Joseph McGann, will significantly reduce the Barbados Water Authority’s (BWA) biggest operating cost – energy.

However, speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of a national agriculture consultation at Savannah Hotel this morning, McGann made it clear that any decision on whether those savings were passed on to consumers would have to be taken by the authority.

He said the venture entails the installation of solar panels at a water treatment plant at Carlton, Black Rock, St Michael, which would replace the fossil fuels that provide the energy to the pumping station at Carlton.

“We have also planned to invest, which we hope to be completed in another couple of months, US$500,000 for solar panels to do fuel-switching for Carlton Water Treatment Plant in Barbados,” he said, explaining that those bids were currently out to tender until December 16.

If successful, the solar panels could be installed as early as January next year. Therefore, “Barbados will have renewable energy for its water pumping station at Carlton.”

Credit: Barbados Today

COP2O Week 1 Recap: Caribbean notes “small victories” and anticipates Ministerial decisions

Week two of COP20 is now underway in Lima, Peru. Here’s a round-up of week one from Sharon Lindo, International and Regional Policy Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. The Caribbean Community continues to carve out a niche for itself in the Climate Change negotiations underway at COP 20 in Lima, Peru.  If … Continue reading

Vacancy: Belize & Saint Lucia National ESD Project Coordinator/Consultant (NC)

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is recruiting a National Coordinator/Consultant (NC) for the Energy for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean Buildings Project (“ESD”). The overarching goal is to develop and implement measures for promoting sustainable energy development within the buildings sector and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and make the energy sector more efficient and increase the use of renewable energy in five (5) pilot countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Peruse the advertisement for the ESD Project Consultant here.

Qualified candidates should send an email expressing interest in the position (in less than 250 words), work references and a CV to EDSapplication@caribbeanclimate.bz.

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