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Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre delivered a presentation on Belize and the International Response to Climate Change at the Second Part of the Energy of nature vs the Nature of Energy Conference Series which was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, Belize on 27 July 2016. Fuller’s presentation focused on Belize’s vulnerability to climate change, the international response to climate change and Belize’s contribution to the Paris Agreement. Carolyn-Trench Sandiford spoke about the importance of planning to adapt to climate change. Roberto Pott delivered a presentation on the impacts of climate change on Belize’s coastal and marine resources while Ansel Dubon spoke about Belize’s efforts to transition to renewable energy. The guest speaker was Dr. Patricia Majluf, Vice President of Oceana Peru, who provided reflections on the impacts of climate change on Peru’s fishing industry.
The conference was opened by the Honourable Omar Figueroa, the Minister of Sate in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development in Belize. The conference was organized by Oceana Belize and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The SIDS DOCK executive council held its first meeting on Thursday, 16 June 2016, chaired by Dr Vince Henderson, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary and permanent representative of Dominica to the United Nations.
Other elected members of the Council include vice chairs, Ronnie Jumeau, climate change ambassador, Seychelles, and Sione Foliaki, assistant chief executive officer, Energy Policy Coordination and Management Division, Ministry of Finance, Samoa.
Dr Rhianna M. Neely-Murphy, ministry of environment and housing, The Bahamas, was nominated rapporteur. The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the UN.
The first meeting of the executive council represents an historic moment in “SIDS-SIDS” relations in terms of the urgent need to invest in building climate change resilience in small island developing states (SIDS).
SIDS DOCK is designed as a “DOCKing station,” to connect the energy sector in SIDS with the global market for finance, sustainable energy technologies and with the European Union and the United States carbon markets, and able to trade the avoided carbon emissions in those markets. Estimates place the potential value of the US and EU markets between US$100 to 400 billion annually.
With the entry into force of the SIDS DOCK Treaty, small island developing and low lying states are now vested with a SIDS-appropriate framework to assist member states to mobilise financing in excess of US$20 billion, by 2033, to invest in the transformation of the SIDS energy sector to achieve a 25 percent (2005 baseline) increase in energy efficiency, generation of a minimum of 50 percent of electric power from renewable sources, and a 25 percent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use, in order to increase availability of financial resources to invest in building climate change resilience in SIDS.
The SIDS DOCK treaty was opened for signature in September 2014, in Samoa, at the third UN international conference on SIDS; ratified in September 2015, at the UN, on the margins of the 70th UN General Assembly. The first meeting of the SIDS DOCK Assembly was held in Paris, in December 2015, on the margins of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties meeting (COP 21).
On 3 June 3016, the secretary general of the UN issued a certificate of registration, certifying that the SIDS DOCK treaty was duly registered, signalling that SIDS DOCK was officially open for business. SIDS DOCK business matters will be advised by the global law firm, Squire, Patton, Boggs (SPB), who were officially appointed SIDS DOCK attorneys by the Council. SPB will provide pro bono services to SIDS DOCK.
As mandated by the SIDS DOCK Assembly last December, the Council reviewed documentation adopted by the Assembly, including but not limited to the rules and procedures of the Assembly and Executive Council; selection procedure for the secretary-general; and the SIDS DOCK Secretariat work programme and indicative budget (2016-2020).
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC/5Cs) in its capacity as the interim SIDS DOCK secretariat was directed to work with Council members to finalise the documentation for presentation at the next Assembly meeting, scheduled for September 2016.
Other highlights of the meeting included a comprehensive presentation on a new and exciting investment programme initially targeting wind, solar heaters and photovoltaics (PV) installations in the SIDS DOCK indicative project pipeline. This one-of-a-kind investment vehicle is seen as a major “game changer” with regard to ready financing through a partnership blend of governments, donors and supportive families, to meet the SIDS DOCK goals of US$20 billion by 2033.
The Small Island Developing States: Clean Energy & Carbon Security Investment Platform was carefully designed for SIDS, by Goodwin Procter LLP, a leading Am Law 50 and Global 50 law firm, with offices across the United States and in Europe and Asia. The firm, founded in Boston in 1912, has been providing pro bono assistance to SIDS DOCK in establishing the investment platform.
Through a partnership with the GIve Investment Platform, a Clean Energy Development Fund will be established on SIDS DOCK behalf, with a classic 20 percent equity/80 percent debt project finance structure. Recognising that most SIDS have high debt, with at least ten being the most indebted in the world, SIDS total commitment is “$0 in project capital.” However, SIDS will “lease land at $0 through profitability, enter into public-private partnership agreements (PPA) through utility for scale projects, and put in place a normalized regulatory structure.”
The Council received updates on the Austrian-funded and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)-supported Centres for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Progress reports were given by Dr Al Binger, interim executive director for the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), and Solomone Fifita, deputy energy director, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and coordinator for the start-up of the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE).
The CCREEE will have it first board meeting in Barbados, the host country, in July 2016, to finalise start up activities and for the Centre to be operational by August 2016. Through a memorandum of understanding, the PCREEE will be hosted in Tonga, and it is expected that the SPC, Tonga and UNIDO will sign a new agreement before the end of June 2016.
An update on the SIDS DOCK Island Women Open Network (IWON) noted that UNIDO will be providing 100,000 euros in start-up funding to support organisational and project development. Two meetings were held in the Caribbean region, in January 2016 in Grenada, and April 2016 in Dominica. The two meetings allowed the IWON to compile a list of over 50 women in climate change and energy at all levels of the professional, and private and public sectors spectrum.
The Executive Council noted for the record, the initial contribution from the government of Denmark in 2011 that helped attract support for SIDS DOCK, including from Japan, and early supporter, Italy. The CCCCC/5Cs and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the two regional organisations credited with creating SIDS DOCK, were also recognised by the Council.
Eight SIDS are represented on the Council: Dominica (chair), Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Samoa (vice chair), and Seychelles (vice chair). The next meeting of the Council is scheduled for August 2016, in New York.
Credit: Caribbean News Now
According to a recent publication, by 2100 Belize’s population is projected to reach 1 million, but at the same time, substantial portions of the country could be under water due to sea level rise, exacerbating demand for natural resources. Global warming is said to be the culprit, and the novel energy financing is intended to help scale back some of its effects.
In March, research published by the Nature journal and featured in the Washington Post indicates that sea levels are rising twice as fast as had been previously estimated, and the projection says that it will rise more than 6 feet by the end of the century.
An online model shows that over time Belize gradually disappears under rising water levels over the centuries, with the last refuge being the Maya Mountain Massif in Central Belize—where the highest lands are located. Belize appears to be one of the most vulnerable Central American countries to sea level rise.
Amandala spoke with Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), a CARICOM agency based in Belize, who explained that most of Central America is much more mountainous than Belize, which has a very flat coastline with much of its land mass in the north and coast being at or slightly below sea level.
As a consequence, sea level rise would impact Belize much more than places like Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
“The entire northern half of Belize and the entire coastal area all the way down to PG would also be under water,” Leslie said, pointing to the not too distant future.
Dr. Leslie told us that currently, the sea is rising about 3 millimeters (mm) per year.
“That might sound very small, but 3 millimeters in a year, in 10 years that’s 30 millimeters,” said Leslie.
He explained that every millimeter rise, translates to a meter of land being submerged. This, he noted, could have implications for places such as airports, as well as infrastructure on the cayes.
“So by the end of this century, you would have quite a bit of rise and coastal areas would be well under water,” said Leslie.
This could have serious implications for the country’s water supply, he said. Inland waters would become more saline. He noted that currently, the national water network feeds from Mile 16 in the Belize River area, but the network would have to find a source point far more inland.
Leslie said that the rate he quoted does not take into account the doubling recently reported in the Washington Post and Nature articles.
By the end of the century, most of Belize City would be under water; and that does not take into account the tides or a storm surge, he added.
“There are other factors that would make the matter much more complicated. All our offshore cayes, all those cayes at best are 3 feet above sea level; if you go up a foot of water, all the infrastructure would be severely impacted, including all the hotels,” he said.
“In terms of municipal airports; that would be under water…” Leslie told us. “Placencia would be under water,” he added.
The problem is that as a country, Belize has no control over sea level and the phenomenon that is driving it. According to the researchers who recently doubled the estimates for sea level rise, the ice caps in Antarctica are melting faster than had been thought due to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The world took too long to start to address the climate change seriously,” Dr. Leslie said. “The water does not rise uniformly; it rises in some places faster than others.”
“We are in 2016, but in 2025, the water would have come up at least 3 more inches; and by 2050, which is not too far away and assuming the same 3mm rise per year (we are talking another 34 years), that would be affecting almost the whole of Belize City already – even at the current rate – and most of our cayes,” Leslie told us.
Other Caribbean countries, even those that are more mountainous than Belize, are also vulnerable, because of their size and the location of key national assets, such as their airports. In Jamaica, two of their international airports are along the coast. The cost to the economy of countries in our region could be huge, but awareness of the future impacts of climate change and sea level rise on our region could help countries prepare for the changes that lie ahead, such as retrofitting infrastructure.
Leslie indicated that the Green Climate Fund is just coming online and countries have to make sure that they submit proposals for financing efforts to build resilience to climate change.
“The onus is on the countries like Belize to start to understand how to write projects that can be funded under the Green Climate Fund,” Leslie said.
He told us that the Climate Change Centre is the only centre in our region, and one of the few in the world, accredited by the Green Climate Fund as an implementing entity. The Center can access (on behalf of CARICOM countries) monies for projects that can address climate change, in the range of US$10 million to US$50 million.
“The countries have to be proactive. We can submit on their behalf but they have to take the initiative,” he said.
Currently the Centre is working along with Belize on renewable energy projects that would cut cost, Leslie informed.
All CARICOM countries, including Belize, recently signed the Paris Agreement at the special ceremony held in the US in April. The agreement is aimed at checking global warming and consequently containing sea level rise; but there are doubts as to whether the target set in the agreement can be met.
When CARICOM leaders met in Belize this February, James Fletcher, chairman of both the CARICOM Task Force of Sustainable Development and the Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change, told our newspaper that, “There is a point to which the money can’t help, so if you’re going to have a climate that by the end of the century would have warmed up by 4 degrees Celsius, I don’t know that there is any amount of money that you can give to a country like the Maldives… or maybe some other island in the Bahamas, because these islands will disappear.”
Fletcher said that while countries have committed to “intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs),” the aggregate effect, even with those in place, suggests a 2.7 degree rise in temperature by end of the century.
“That’s not good enough [because] for SIDs [small island developing states], anything above 1.5 will be catastrophic…” he said. “Anything above that… becomes a vicious cycle that we can’t win.”
Dr. Leslie notes that the Paris Agreement only kicks in after a minimum number of countries ratify it—and those countries must include key ones such as the USA and China.
Back in Belize, where the country’s vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise is little understood, there is also the need to address the problem of deforestation, which could exacerbate the situation on the ground.
According to Jaume Ruscalleda, Sustainable Land Use Officer at Ya’axché Conservation Trust, since Independence, Belize’s forest cover has declined from 74% to 60%, and by the end of the century, the country will only have 26% forest cover, mostly in the Maya Mountain range—which, we note, is incidentally the last refuge from sea level rise.
Ruscalleda cited maps shared by Emil Cherrington, a Belizean who does remote monitoring of Belize’s forest cover and by the University of Belize, which also documents the disappearance of the country’s forest cover.
Dr. Leslie urges “proper land use planning,” adding that this should have been done with or without climate change.
“It comes back to the border problem. There are a lot of the prime areas which have been designated by our country which are not to be used for clearing and agriculture, but [Guatemalans] are coming across the border and doing just that. This should be addressed,” Leslie urged.
With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually, the Energy Globe Award is a prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. The 2016 National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Belize installed a mobile biogas laboratory at the University of Belize’s Belmopan Campus in order to build capacity in the biogas sector. The submission for the Project “Biogas Laboratory at UB” was made by Henrik Personn, the Renewable Energy Expert at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The CCCCC is awarded the Energy Globe for Belize (for the project).
In its efforts, the CCCCC has been granted the support within the GIZ – REETA program to introduce a mobile biogas Laboratory at the University of Belize (UB) for use within CARICOM Members states and also by the private sector. The vision of the project meant that the CCCCC would purchase a facility to convert biomass into biogas by using locally supplied feedstock, consisting mostly of easy to harvest biomass, manure and organic waste. The laboratory was installed on November 27, 2015 and the CCCCC and GIZ REETA recognized UB for being a strong partner with the best capacity in Belize to utilize the Laboratory.
Since its installation, UB’s Faculty of Science and Technology has made strides in incorporating the Biogas Laboratory into educational activities through research and teaching. Currently, a collaborative effort to assess the biogas potential of several waste biomass including banana and citrus is being executed. A student in the University’s Bachelors of Biology Program recently conducted thesis work in the lab and presented his findings at the UB Biology and Chemistry Symposium held in May 2016. The University is also actively engaging stakeholders to determine how the biogas lab can contribute to solving some environmental concerns. As an example, the lab has received interest from Belize Aquaculture Limited to evaluate shrimp waste in its potential to produce biogas as an option for adding value to organic shrimp waste. Ultimately, UB intends to expand the lab’s capacity to provide scientific data that can contribute to the climate change agenda. This ranges in areas from guiding management decisions to reducing pollution due to organic waste to generating a renewable source of energy that can contribute to meeting cooking needs of rural communities. To achieve those goals, the University is seeking partnerships that can help support the initiatives of the Lab. Therefore, the Laboratory is exploring the possibility of expanding its research capacity through participation in the Red Mesoamericana de Investigacion y Desarrollo de Biocombustibles (RMIDB) and will be submitting a proposal for funding consideration from the network.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) is a four year Project funded by the Government of Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The REETA Project collaborates with the CARICOM Energy Programme in rendering support in the areas of Capacity-Building, Private Sector Cooperation and Regional Institutional Support.
For further information on the UB Biogas Laboratory research activities contact Karen Link or Mark O’Brien (501-822 -1000) at UB. For further information on the CCCCC’s involvement in the project contact Henrik Personn at (501-822-1104) or via email@example.com.
Every year on June 5th, World Environment Day (WED) which is run by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is celebrated to to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire people across earth to adapt healthy lifestyles and safe practices to keep our planet healthy. WED is revered in over 100 nations, and it is also celebrated in Belize, the host country for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
Protecting nature and earth, one of the focuses of WED is a priority that complements the work of the CCCCC. This weekend, Centre liaised with teachers and students and teachers from Belmopan Comprehensive High School, Belmopan Methodist High School and Belmopan Active Youths (BAY) for an excursion in honor of WED. On Saturday June 4th, 40 teachers and students went to the Toledo District to learn about agro-farming and the lifestyle of the people of Trio Village who truly live on the land.
The students learned of the collaboration between the CCCCC, the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association and Ya’axché Conservation Trust. The CCCCC utilized $250,000 US from UK-DFID to sponsor over 28,0000 cacao seedlings to the farming association. The three groups collaborated and received a unique concession from the Forestry Department to receive a substantial concession to develop 926 acres within the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve.
On this visit the farmers showed them the additional 28,000 seedlings that were in the nursery which they would be planting as soon as they reach the right height. The students asked farmers like Isabel Rash how they watered the seedlings which was trek into the reserve. The questions also addressed drought and how the techniques utilized by agro-farming were different from the ones they used before.
As they trekked deeper into the reserve, they found the crops such as beans and plantains that were also being grown by the farmers as a faster cash crop while the first set of cacao plants still needed more time to mature before the fruit would be ready for harvesting.
One student commented that the soil seemed rich since there was no burning and also commented how it must had been harder for the crops to grow without using pesticides and chemicals to fertilize the soil.The Ya’axché officer on site, Julio Chub explained that the farmers used sawdust and decayed forest material to enrich the soil. He further stated that the conditions set by the Forest Department ensured that the soil and the forest would continue to be healthy.
Isabel Rash, one of the leaders of the group explained that it continues to be hard work, but the benefit is there for their families and they will have an income to sustain them all year round, rather than with seasonal work in the banana industry which was his primary means of earning an income.
There are at least 9 women in the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association and the students had an opportunity to meet 3 of them near the honey harvesting operation. Their trainer Isodoro Sho explained that not all the villagers had an opportunity to pursue education beyond primary school, and learning about bee keeping was one way they could earn money to put themselves back in the classroom or grow into a self-employed women. The students were particularly quiet when they met young women, their peers in age, being responsible citizens.
The head of the Belmopan Active Youths, Anna Guy felt the experience was a good one and to have met some of the Trio villagers. After seeing the bee keepers in action, the students laughed and ran as the first bees flew out of the hives.
But their running took them to the homes of the bee keepers who had fresh batches of honey on hand to sell. And while the transactions were ongoing, Mr. Sho informed the students that the association was developing a brand for the honey so that people would know whose honey they were buying and that the bees would also be used as part of the pollination process in the concession area.
The final stop in the village was to the house of Victor Tut. Tut had just completed a ceremony for his son who graduated from high school and hoped to enroll in the National Resource Management Program at the University of Belize. With the bus parked outside the home, the students and teachers were welcome inside to a bowl of freshly cooked food and a smooth cup of cacao juice. The day that started at 6:30 a.m. in Belmopan and stretched into the Humming Bird and Southern Highways had suddenly turned into a hungry and heavy 5 p.m. inside Tut’s home. At dusk, boarding the bus, the students gave a hearty goodbye as they returned with new friends from the group interactions, photos and lessons learned about Trio Village for World Environment Day.
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD) under the “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change” project which was funded by the European Union gave the initial support that started the Caribbean Community Climate Change Clubs.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations’ authority on the state of the planet’s atmosphere and climate, has become the first UN specialized agency to formalize its relationship with the Green Climate Fund (GCF). By signing its accreditation master agreement with GCF, the WMO can now receive financial resources for climate action programmes and projects.
This development represents an important milestone for both GCF and the UN system, signaling the role of the Fund in supporting other international organizations advance low-emission and carbon-resilient programmes and projects through GCF in developing countries.
The WMO joins the rank of other Accredited Entities that have concluded their accreditation master agreements with GCF: Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA) of Morocco; Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC); Centre de Suivi Écologique (CSE) of Senegal; and Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia.
“The Green Climate Fund is pleased to have the World Meteorological Organization as the first UN organization to formalize its relationship with the Fund,” said Héla Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of GCF. “As the lead coordinating body for global climate research, the WMO brings a high level of expertise and a unique perspective to strengthen the support GCF will provide to countries in implementing the Paris Agreement,” she said.
An accreditation master agreement is the central instrument in the relationship between GCF and an Accredited Entity. It sets out the basic terms and conditions as to how the accredited entity and GCF can work together for the use of GCF resources.
In addition to WMO, several other UN system organizations are in the process of finalizing their respective accreditation master agreement with the Fund.
The Geneva-based WMO is a specialized agency of the UN with 191 Member States, providing an intergovernmental framework for global cooperation on climate issues. It is also host to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international body for the assessment of the science related to climate change that was set up in 1988 by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Credit: Green Climate Fund
Ambassador Manorma P. Soeknandan, PhD., Deputy Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is in Belize for a three day working visit. Ambassador Soeknandan is meeting with officials of the Government of Belize, as well as representatives of the various CARICOM institutions headquartered in Belize.
On Tuesday May 24th, 2016, Dr. Soeknandan accompanied by Craig Beresford, Director of Strategic Management at the CARICOM Secretariat, visited the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) which is headquartered in Belmopan, the Capital of Belize. She met with the staff and the Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie. Dr. Leslie outlined the progression of the institution to a Centre of Excellence and as the first regional entity, accredited to the Green Climate Fund which will invest in low-emission and climate-resilient development projects in the Caribbean. Soeknandan spoke about the importance of collaboration and a partnership was further strengthened as the CCCCC agreed to share its human resources in regards to highlighting best financial and procurement practices which serve to help adaptation and mitigation projects in the region.
Ambassador Soeknandan told the staff of the 5C’s, “I would like to say on behalf of the CARICOM Secretariat thank you for your input and your support to the organization and the region.”
The Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change (RCCCC), under the chairmanship of Saint Lucia’s minister for public service, sustainable development, energy, science and technology, Dr James Fletcher, will meet in Saint Lucia on Wednesday and Thursday of this week to review the progress made in the implementation of the region’s climate change plan and to agree on the way forward after the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by a record 175 countries at UN Headquarters in New York last week Friday, Earth Day 2016.
The ‘Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to a Changing Climate’ was approved by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government in July 2009, and three years later, in 2012, CARICOM heads of government approved an implementation plan (IP) for the regional framework, which defines the regional strategy for coping with climate change and developing greater resilience to the impacts of climate change over the period 2011-2021.
The Regional Framework and the Implementation Plan were prepared by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), which is headquartered in Belize. The 5Cs serves as the secretariat for the Regional Coordinating Committee and provides technical support for its work.
The Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change (RCCCC) is chaired by Fletcher and comprises representatives from a wide range of regional organisations.
Credit: Caribbean News Now!
World Water Day is a day of international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and to take action to make a difference.
World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio, Brazil where it was recommended to designate an international observance for water. The United Nations Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
Each year, UN-Water – the entity that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation – sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or upcoming challenge. The engagement campaign is led by one or several of the UN-Water Members with a related mandate. On World Water Day, countries and tens of thousands of individuals and organizations get involved in several ways. They get informed, engaged and act. Together they make a difference – especially for the most vulnerable people on our planet but also for future generations.
2016’s theme is “Water and Jobs” – better water, better jobs. This year’s theme was coordinated on behalf of UN-Water by the International Labor Organization which is the entity that promotes rights at work, encourages decent employment opportunities, enhances social protection and strengthens dialogue on work-related issues. This year’s theme highlights how both water and jobs have the power to transform lives: water is central to human survival, the environment and the economy and decent work can provide income and pave the way for broader social and economic advancements.
In Belize, a ‘Water and Jobs’ summit was held in Belmopan and Belize City on March 15 and 16, where the importance of water was discussed by Ministry officials, the Hydrology Unit and the National Climate Change Office. The event also highlighted the winners of the National World Water Day poetry competition. First place was won by Jahseed X Avila. There were several NGO’s that had presentations, informational booths and games for the students who attended the session in Belize City. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) assisted with the judging of the poetry competition. Entries came from across the country with notable poems about communities whose residents are dependent on fishing for their livelihood. The winners hailed from Corozal, Orange Walk, Independence Village and Belize City.
Second place was won by Suleima Pat for her poem “Water and Jobs ” which focused on drought.
“then I see a man standing on his fields.
The crops are dried; his wells are empty, and his children cry with thirst…
The seconds tick away. Tick tock tick tock …
Tears start oozing down my face.”
The week long activities included the observation of Earth Hour 2016. In several locations across the country, lights were turned off, candles lit and artists sang and conservationists gave speeches about how to carry out individual actions to to affect climate change. The CCCCC was also represented at this event which is a way to bring attention to energy consumption, sustainability, and climate-change issues.
Through its role as a Centre of Excellence, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) supports the people of the Caribbean as they address the impact of climate variability and change on all aspects of economic development through the provision of timely forecasts and analyses of potentially hazardous impacts of both natural and human-induced climatic changes on the environment, and the development of special programmes which create opportunities for sustainable development.
The Five C’s, as the Centre is called, coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre, based in Belize, is the key node for information on climate change issues and on the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change in the Caribbean.
It is the official repository and clearing house for regional climate change data, providing climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. It has also been recognized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) as a Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. This reputation is a major honour for the Centre, and it should be a great source of prude for the people of the Caribbean as well.
Due to its susceptibility to climate change, CARICOM has traditionally been a main supporter of climate-related initiatives. This was demonstrated early on through its strong support of the UNFCCC, an international environmental treaty that was created in 1992.
At an Intersessional Meeting which took place in Belize in February 2002, CARICOM Heads of Government approved the establishment of the Centre and signed a protocol to allow the Centre to function as a legal entity. The follow-up to the CPACC project, the Adapting to Climate Change in the Caribbean (ACCC) project, which lasted from 2001 to 2004, promoted the further evolution of the Centre by providing the resources to develop a comprehensive business plan and strategy to ensure its financial sustainability.
In February 2004, the Centre became fully functional from its first home in the University of Belize in Belmopan. In 2005, the Centre moved to its own space in the Lawrence Nicholas Building in Belmopan. The official opening of the Centre took place on August 2, 2005.
One example of the Centre’s role and contribution to the Community’s development can be found in its participation, in 2015, at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 21 Negotiations in Paris, France. The Centre was instrumental in ensuring that the Caribbean Region was well represented and prepared to engage in negotiations regarding what climate change issues mean to the region. With assistance from various partners, the Centre formatted a Declaration on Climate Change which was adopted by the CARICOM Heads of Government and was the blueprint for the region’s position for the negotiations. The team of delegates was led by the Executive Director of CCCCC, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, and International and Regional Liaison Officer, Carlos Fuller, who represented Belize at the convention.
Credit: The Guardian