A first of its kind south-south knowledge exchange between Africa and the Caribbean on water security and climate resilient development was held at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad this week (June 26, 2014). The meeting, which was held as a side event during the 2014 Global Water Partnership Network and Consulting Partners Meeting (held outside its host country Sweden for the first time), sought to enable lessons and experience sharing across the regions based on initiatives planned and realized under GWP’s global Water, Climate and Development (WACDEP) programme. “Despite obvious geographic differences, the two regions have much to learn from each other on the development and application of the regional frameworks, tools, strategies and knowledge products for advancing water security and climate resilience,” said GWP-Caribbean WACDEP Coordinator Natalie Boodram.
The high-level technical meeting was attended by 17 participants representing entities such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Global Water Partnership (GWP) Secretariat, and regional GWP teams from Africa and the Caribbean.
Under the WACDEP programme, which is now active in 13 GWP Regions, GWP-Caribbean and GWP-Africa with support from the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN) have been supporting the development of contextually relevant Frameworks that promotes synergies and opportunities to integrate water security and climate resilience into development planning processes. Among the distinguishing features of this approach is the focus given to the preparation of no/low regrets investment strategies.
The CCCCC’s project development specialist Keith Nichols told Caribbean Climate that the knowledge sharing exercise was “very revealing and informative”. He added that “it highlights the fact that there are significant achievements across the regions that should be shared notwithstanding the geographical differences”. Alex Simalabwi, global coordinator for WACDEP at GWP, agrees. He notes that the Africa and the Caribbean knowledge sharing exercise was an outstanding initiative that “offers excellent opportunities for both [regions] to address climate resilient development and should be pursued further within the context of international investment and trade”. To realize this he made a call for south-south exchange involving key regional entities such as CARICOM, 5Cs and the African Union.
The inaugural knowledge exchange on water security and climate resilient development between Africa and the Caribbean follows discussions two years ago at the 8th Annual High Level Session (HLS) Ministerial Forum on Water, which was not only attended by Caribbean Ministers responsible for water but also the Executive Secretary of the Africa Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).