KINGSTON, Jamaica, Dec 6, CMC – The Third International Conference on Climate Change Services (ICCS3) was ending here on Friday with stakeholders indicating that the three day forum providing an opportunity to find linkages between international climate services and those in the region.
“This conference is of great importance for developing countries and for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in particular,” said Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill.
“It is common knowledge that we are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but what this conference will provide, is an opportunity to build our capacity, and to look beyond weather and hydrological information, to a focus on climate information for decision-making,” he added.
The conference sought to address to address current progress, challenges and opportunities in climate services implementation, and foster discussions regarding the transition from pilot activities to sustained services.
Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Dr Ulric Trotz, said the conference was the first of its kind in the Caribbean and any developing country.
He said the three-day event provided an opportunity to find linkages between international climate services and those in the region.
Officials said climate services are crucial as climate variability and change were posing significant challenges to societies worldwide.
“Therefore, timely communication of climate information helps prevent the economic setbacks and humanitarian disasters that can result from climate extremes and long term climate change,” the officials said.
The CCCCC is supporting a series of national consultations across the Caribbean under the Global Framework For Climate Change Services (GFCS) which was established in 2009 at the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC3).
The vision of the GFCS is to enable society to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change, especially for those who are most vulnerable to such risks.
Launched in May this year, the GFCS uses five components for the production, delivery and application of climate information and services.
Pickersgill told the conference that the 2009 report of the High Level Task Force on the Global Framework for Climate Services had identified that three basic facts had to be taken into account when focusing on climate information for decision-making.
“Firstly, we know that everyone is affected by climate – particularly its extremes, which cause loss of lives and livelihoods all over the world, but overwhelmingly in developing countries.
Secondly, we know that – where they exist – needs-based climate services are extremely effective in helping communities, businesses, organizations and governments to manage the risks and take advantage of the opportunities associated with the climate.
Thirdly, we know that there is a yawning gap between the needs for climate services and their current provision. Climate services are weakest in the places that need them most namely, climate-vulnerable developing countries.”
Pickersgill said that the identified climate change impacts, multiplicity of stressors, and the available scientific information all suggest that the Caribbean region is a climate change hotspot.
“This presents a clear need at the national level and as a concerned region, for climate services that will help families, businesses, and communities to make informed decisions,” he said, adding there “is a clear need to promote integrated service delivery and stimulate the development of environmental technologies, applications and services in the private sector.
“The provisions of inundation mapping services, to inform decisions on sea level rise and storm activity, are critical and are urgently needed. The assistance to our farmers through modelling will help them to adapt to the changing climate through services such as drought forecasting, precipitation modelling as well as vulnerability and risk mapping.”
Pickergill said that developing countries, in particular, would be looking at the products that would inform health sector managers in responding to heat projections and the potential changes required in health services; as well as those that will inform our business leaders and national governments in investment decisions and planning.
“Pioneering climate services will enable us to make smart decisions to ensure public safety, increase our resilience, drive smart public and private sector-led infrastructural investment and stimulate economic growth,” he added.
The next national consultation on a Framework for Climate Services will be held in Barbados.