The Board of Governors of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre concluded its annual meeting (August 22 -24) in Belize yesterday. Among the key decisions taken, the Centre will continue to pursue a broader mix of regional and national projects and actions, advance efforts to boost its institutional capacity, and expand its collaborative work with the various economic and social sectors, including health, renewable energy and youth.
Regional and National Tracks
Chairman of the Board Dr Leonard Nurse says the Centre’s primary focus on a combination of regional and national (dual track) climate change activities is consistent with its regional mandate. This mandate is outlined in the Regional Framework and its accompanying Implementation Plan, which was approved by CARICOM Heads of Governments last year. The dual track approach “allows us to enhance the region’s resilience, so that we can minimize the impact of climate change on certain critical sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, tourism and others, that underpin the economic viability of the region”.
The Chairman notes that the Centre is already strategically developing and implementing dual track initiatives that address the priorities outlined in the Regional Framework and accompanying Implementation Plan— among them is the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank-funded Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) and the Caribbean component of the Intra-ACP Global Climate Change Alliance programme, which is supported by the European Union. Under the PPCR initiative, the Centre will be working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to better understand the linkages between climate change and human health.
The Centre has expanded rapidly having developed the capacity to successfully execute a suite of regional climate change programmes worth between US$40 and US$50 million over the last five years. Pilot projects such as the installation of a Reverse Osmosis Plant in Bequia using solar energy (photovoltaic) have improved access to potable water. Elements of this project are being replicated across the region— Petite Martinique, Carriacou (both dependencies of Grenada), Belize, Barbados and The Bahamas. These successes have resulted in increased demand for the Centre’s services.
Executive Director Dr Kenrick Leslie says the Centre was directed by CARICOM Heads to “work with national governments to put together programmes that would help them develop bankable projects that can be funded under the various mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Therefore, the Centre is putting maximum effort to ensure CARICOM Member States get their fair share of the financial resources available through the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and other funds to help them in their adaptation efforts. That is our primary thrust— to meet the mandate given to us by the regional Heads [last year].”
Accordingly, the Centre is strengthening its capacity by consolidating the work of its Monitoring and Evaluation Unit to better prepare it to function as an implementing agency. This will enable the Centre to access resources to implement programmes that are now largely within the remit of globally recognized institutions. The Centre’s expanded M&E Unit will assist regional governments in developing, monitoring and evaluating programmes. The Board has also unveiled plans to strengthen its fiduciary oversight through initiatives such as more frequent financial reporting, a Finance and Audit Sub-Committee of the Board of Governors, an internal audit function for the Centre and increased focus on data and plant security.
Dr Nurse says these actions are necessary given the Centre’s shift from a project based orientation to more programmatic activities. He notes that the Centre, which is primarily funded through grants, is advancing efforts to complete the establishment of a Trust Fund. The Fund, which has been seeded with a grant from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, will be managed by a Board of Trustees external to the Centre. The Trust Fund will be a vital component of the Centre’s thrust to ensure its financial sustainability.