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COMMUNIQUÉ: The 27th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM

CLIMATE CHANGE

Heads of Government welcomed the Paris Agreement which was the outcome of the 21st  Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in France in December 2015.  They noted that CARICOM had a major interest in the outcome of this Conference, since, as SIDS, they stand to be among the most affected by Climate Change.

Heads of Government expressed their appreciation for the leadership of the then Chairman of Conference, Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados and Dr. the Honourable Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Lead Head of Government for Sustainable Development, at the COP 21 which resulted in the positive outcome for the Community.  They acknowledged the sterling contribution of the Region’s negotiators, the Task Force on Sustainable Development, led by Dr. the Honourable James Fletcher of Saint Lucia, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the CARICOM Secretariat to the Community’s achievements at the Conference.

Heads of Government recognised the need to capitalize on the achievements at COP 21 by working towards improving the national and regional capacities, to take advantage of the opportunities that the Agreement provided for addressing the impacts of Climate Change.

Heads of Government agreed to maintain the diplomatic demarche at international levels in support of the 1.5°C goal, noting that at the current levels of commitment, temperature rise would be more than 2.7 °C.

The Conference urged active participation in the high-level signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement, to be convened by the United Nations Secretary-General, on the 22 April 2016 in New York.  The Conference also urged signature of the Agreement and deposit of instruments of ratification at that time or soonest thereafter.

Heads of Government noted the various opportunities for climate financing.  They agreed to elevate the importance of Readiness Programming in accordance with the Green Climate Fund, to include the mainstreaming of climate change in National Development Plans, in order to facilitate access to climate financing.

Heads of Government further agreed that the Task Force on Sustainable Development led by Dr the Honourable James Fletcher and the team of negotiators and experts should continue their work to facilitate the implementation of the Agreement.

Heads of Government resolved to remain actively engaged in the UNFCCC processes at the various levels to support implementation of the Paris Agreement.

  • Excerpt from CARICOM's Press Release

Caricom and Italy strengthen ties

caricom

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Italy continued on the path of stronger relations on Wednesday as the new Italian Ambassador to the Community presented his credentials at the Secretariat’s Georgetown, Guyana headquarters.

Both men emphasised the strength of the friendship between CARICOM and Italy with Mignano pointing to the similarities, particularly of lifestyle, between the region and his country.CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque received the letters of credence from Silvio Mignano who is based in Caracas, Venezuela.

LaRocque expressed his pleasure at the Italian envoy joining the CARICOM family and cited the long history of co-operation between that country and the Community.

He also took the opportunity to remind the Ambassador of the unjust blacklisting by Italy of some CARICOM Member States as non-co-operative tax jurisdictions and expressed the hope that this issue would be rectified urgently given the adverse effect such an action was having on the economic and banking sectors in the community.

Wednesday’s ceremony came in the wake of the signing of two co-operation documents between the Community and Italy last month during the COP 21 in Paris, France.

A memorandum of understanding to establish mechanisms for cooperation in 13 socio- economic fields was signed by Ambassador LaRocque and Italy’s Special Envoy for the Countries of the Caribbean, Paolo Serpi.

CARICOM and Italy also signed a pact to start a five-year program worth six million euros to help Caribbean countries mitigate the negative impact of climate change. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) signed on behalf of the Region.

Credit: The Daily Observer

Caricom and climate change

On December 12 in Paris, France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, brought to a close the UN climate change conference, COP 21.“I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document,” he said, and then seconds later: “Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”

It was, according to some reports, an act of brinkmanship, as unresolved last minute concerns had been expressed by Nicaragua and there was, in a part of the final draft text, a difficulty surrounding US concerns about the use of the word ‘shall’ rather than the more discretionary word ‘should’; but with mysteriously, a typographical error being declared, the deal was done.

Apart from it demonstrating Mr Fabius’ outstanding ability to bring to a conclusion a multi-dimensional meeting in which unanimity was required if the world was ever to be able to address climate change; US concerns, driven by domestic politics, demonstrated how hard it may be for nations most at risk to obtain a viable outcome.

Caricom was ready for Paris. A task force had been set up two years ago and the region had a well-prepared position, a short-list of critical issues, and simple but memorable branding. In addition to a delegation led St Lucia’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Dr James Fisher, and the Caricom Secretary General, Irwin LaRoque, seven Caribbean Heads of Government travelled to Paris to express, at the opening, the region’s concerns, and to mobilise third-party support among the huge numbers of NGO’s, business interests, environmentalists and other present in Paris.

It was an outstanding example of where, in the pursuit of a common cause that touches everyone in the region, the regional institution can add real value and be an organisation to be proud of. It demonstrated in relation to important cross-cutting roles, a future for the secretariat.

For the Caribbean and other low lying small nations, for which sea level change and global warming are quite literally existential issues, what now is at stake is whether what has been agreed is deliverable; what the text means in practical terms; and how the region and other Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) intend ensuring that the many commitments made are delivered within the agreed time frame.

In outline, the thirty one page text agreed by 193 nations proposes that a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and the sinks for ameliorating them is achieved in the second half of this century. It emphasizes the need to hold the increase in the global average temperature well below 2C (36F) above pre-industrial levels, proposes ‘pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C (35F)’, and that a peak in global greenhouse gas emissions be achieved as soon as possible. It accepts an asymmetrical approach enabling all developing countries – including large industrialised carbon emitters like China, India and Brazil – to have more time to adapt.

In a section that addresses loss and damage, it agrees a US$100bn annual minimum up to 2030 to enable support for mitigation and adaptation in developing nations, but does not accept there is any basis for compensation for loss and damage by carbon emitters. It also does not set a time scale for reaching greenhouse gas emission neutrality, or say anything about the shipping or aviation industries.

The problem for the Caribbean and all AOSIS’ 39 member states is whether what was agreed in Paris is prescriptive enough, or is so hedged round by the potential for opt-outs, delays, and unenforceability as to make it meaningless.

What it suggests that Caricom must now follow through, as the agreement as it stands is little more than an aspirational framework. Together with other AOSIS states it needs to determine how at the UN and in other fora it is going to hold the world to account for what has been agreed, then obtain, and successfully apply some of the money that will be available for both adaptation and mitigation.

This will not just be a test of the Caribbean’s staying power and the willingness of its governments to fund and support a continuing focus, but will also require that the region hold to account those countries that it supported during the negotiations. They will need to prove, when it comes to the Caribbean that their expressed concerns reflected more than just a need to obtain a satisfactory agreement. It is a position that will have to be deployed as much with China and Brazil as with the US and Europe.

In this, both Caricom and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) will continue to have a critical role in coordinating the regional effort. But it will also be up to governments to maintain the political momentum, demonstrate a unity of purpose, and to be determined to pay attention to the Caribbean’s implementation deficit.

Climate change is an issue on which the Caribbean has had every reason to have its voice heard and be taken very seriously.  Fifty per cent of its population and the majority of the region’s productive enterprise and infrastructure lie within 1.2 miles of the sea. Its low lying nature, its fragile eco-systems, and extreme weather events demonstrate that it is a prime candidate to benefit from what has been agreed.

While countries in the region are often accused of allowing mendacity to drive their foreign policy, here is an example where the Caribbean deserves a transfer of resources if it, quite literally, is not to disappear beneath the sea.

Climate change also has a strategic importance. It enables the Caribbean to demonstrate an approach that owes more to the future than to the past; it is an issue on which it has a better chance to exert leverage; and one that can deliver national and regional development objectives. It is also an issue on which the region occupies the moral high ground and has popular international support.

Sea levels and water temperatures are rising and it will be some of the world’s smallest nations that will suffer first. Logic would therefore suggest that the Caribbean – a region of vulnerable, low or zero carbon emitting states – should be a significant early beneficiary of any resource transfer for adaptation. It is now up to Caricom to make this a public cause.

Credit: Dominican Today

Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Francesco La Camera, director general of Italy’s Ministry of the Environment recently signed a £6 million project to assist CARICOM) member states to mitigate climate variability and change.

The project, which was negotiated between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (5Cs) and the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea in Italy, aims to address several issues affecting CARICOM states under the rubric of climate change, inclusive of mitigation, adaptation and vulnerability.

Specifically, it aims to help CARICOM member states adapt to climate change by reducing their vulnerability to sea level rise and climate variability, identifying and implementing the intended nationally determined contributors (INDCs); reporting and assessing of the member states’ INDCs and the development and dissemination of renewable energy sources and technology.

The estimated timeframe for the project is five years.

Antigua

The European Union (EU) is again urging Antigua & Barbuda to remove the death penalty from its books.

Deputy Head of the EU Mission for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Silvia Kofler said it is not good enough for governments to say that no one is being hanged even though the law allows it. She said the legislation should be repealed.

“We know the death penalty is not practiced for more than 10 years, but to still have it on the law books is not what we think should be done. We think it should be eliminated,” Kofler said.

The EU official said only Barbados has made some progress in doing away with the death penalty.

In 2013, following the murder of Susan Powell in Heritage Quay, the then National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort said Antigua and Barbuda would enforce the death penalty after a 22-year break.

The minister said the death penalty was still on the books and promised that all the necessary legal processes will be utilized to ensure it is enforced.

Kofler said that unfortunately Caribbean governments do not see removing the death penalty as a priority.

Barbados

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged banana farmers in the Caribbean to take a proactive approach against the deadly Panama disease.

The Eastern Caribbean is hoping to ward off the final Panama disease which could wipe out the banana industry. It poses the biggest threat to the region’s bananas since the Black sigatoka disease in 1991.

St. Lucia’s Agriculture Minister Moses J. Baptiste has said for the small islands of the Caribbean, the best response includes collaboration and the adoption of pre-emptive measures.

Bananas are St. Lucia’s biggest crop, accounting for one-fifth of all export earnings.

According to the FAO, banana is the eight most important food crop in the world and the fourth most important food crop among the world’s least-developed countries, including the Caribbean.

The disease is soil-borne and the fungus can remain viable for decades.

Bahamas

The Grand Bahamas Human Rights Association (GBHRA) is calling for the release of Jamaican man who has been in detention for about a decade.

The GBHRA said it was appalled at the response given by Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell to the case of Matthew Sewell “an innocent Jamaican man incarcerated in the Bahamas for the better part of a decade. The last state of Sewell’s harrowing ordeal is at the hands of the Immigration Department, which was the result of an error, even after he was declared innocent of all charges by the courts.”

GBHRA said that everyone in the Bahamas is by definition innocent until proven guilty.

“All of the charges levelled by Sewell having been dropped, he remains innocent and was therefore by definition wrongfully imprisoned on trump up charges,” the human rights group said, noting that Sewell was held by the Immigration Department for a further year because he “had no status in The Bahamas.”

But the GBHRA said there are three violations listed in the Immigration Act; entering without permission, overstaying the allotted time and working without a permit.

Grenada

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recently held a meeting in Grenada to jumpstart the organization of regional training and capacity building workshop on the value chain approach in Caribbean fisheries.

The workshop will take place in July 2016.

The initiative is geared towards building capacity among key government and private sector representatives and in particular small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in fisheries and aquaculture, to use the value chain approach to optimize economic benefits.

The value chain approach looks at every operational level in the industry, including production, processing, distribution on the local and export markets, as well as marketing and sales to wholesale agents and retail buyers.

The newly launched project will over the next year bring together key public and private sectors in the fisheries and aquaculture industry, to optimize the benefits across the value chain — from the fisheries who set their traps to reap the ocean’s bounty to the buyers who search for the most economical catch to serve and impressive meal.

Jamaica

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently completed the tenth review of Jamaica’s economic performance under the program supported by a four-year US$932 million (at the time of approval) arrangement under the extended fund facility (EFF).

The completion of the review enables an immediate purchase of an amount of about US$39.3 million.

Min Zhu, deputy managing director and acting chair said, “the authorities continue to have an impressive track record of a strong program implementation under the Extended Fund facility. Macro economic stability continues to strengthen, vulnerabilities have reduced substantially and structural reforms have passed,” he said.

“Jamaica has made important achievements under the economic program. Inflation and the current account deficit have fallen significantly, supported by low oil prices. Business confidence continues to be strong and private credit growth is showing signs of recovery, while public debt is falling,” Zhu said.

St. Kitts

The revamped St. Kits and Nevis Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program has surpassed the expectations of the Team Unity administration, according to Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris.

Harris made the disclosure while delivering the coalition government’s first national budget.

He told Parliament that CBI revenue for 2015 is expected to surpass the budget by 42.3 percent.

Dr. Harris, who is also finance minister said government expected by the end of 2015 to realize a recurrent account surplus of about $222.1 million — 16.4 percent above the estimate.

“The surplus will be derived from the net of anticipated recurrent revenue of approximately $733.3 million and projected recurrent expenditure of $511.2 million,” he said.

“Non-tax revenue is expected to be the main contributor to the favorable out-turns when compared to the budget, as fees from the CBI program will most certainly surpass the estimate for 2015 by a whopping 42.2 percent,” Dr. Harris added.

In his budget presentation recently, Dr. Harris said he was making good a pledge to put the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) funds, which generated millions of dollars for the federation from the CBI program in the government coffers.

Among other measures announced in the budget were, risk pay increase of 20 percent for the police, prison officers, the Defense Force, Coast Guard and Fire Services.

The prime minister made it clear that this was a move intended to help those involved in fighting violent crime. St. Kitts and Nevis has had 30 homicides for the year so far.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines opposition party — the New Democratic Party (NDP) — said it will continue a series of massive protests after Christmas over the outcome of the general elections on Dec. 9, 2015, which it claims were not free and fair.

According to the NDP, as a result, the country has an illegitimate government that it refuses to recognize. Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said the NDP has written to the Organization of American States (OAS) formally complaining about the illegitimate installment of Ralph Gonsalves as prime minister.

“We have asked for the use of the regional mechanism to ensure that democracy is saved and protected in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

The first legal motions regarding the elections were filed on Dec. 16, 2015.

“We are moving to challenge these fraudulent elections in court, where we are confident of legal redress, in the interim we will continue acts of civil disobedience and non-recognition of this imposed regime,” Eustace said.

Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has warned that the quality of life the people of T&T now enjoy is in great danger of if they don’t “behave properly” given the economic challenges facing the country.

Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran on Dec. 4, 2015 said the country is “officially” in a recession.

Dr. Rowley said Trinibagonians needed to ask themselves. What can we afford under the current circumstan­ces?”

“What kind of behavior is required of us at this time to ensure that we can continue to preserve… at least preserve the quality of life that we now enjoy now because that quality is now in grave danger if we don’t behave properly,” he told the audience at the launch of the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development.

Rowley said his three-month-old administration “intends to be brutally honest with the people of Trinidad and Tobago to make sure we do what is going to save us from what is pending.”

Credit: Caribbean Life News

CARICOM Secretary General visits 5Cs

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque paid a courtesy call to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) on January 6th, while in Belize.  Ambassador LaRocque was accompanied by the Chef de Cabinet at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Glenda Itiaba. They met the staff and the Executive Director of the Centre, Kenrick Leslie.
LaRocque indicated that CARICOM countries had a unified voice at COP21 and he “wanted to pay tribute to the excellent work done by the Climate Change Centre for preparing the community for what I consider to be a sucessful outcome of the COP21 in Paris.”
Following the success of COP21 in Paris, the 5Cs issued the following statement in December, 2015:
The Executive Director, Dr Kenrick Leslie led a team of delegates from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015. Although the delegates were unable to conclude an agreement by the time the meeting was scheduled to end on Friday, the French Presidency of the COP persisted, sent the talks into overtime and by late Saturday night had crafted an agreement that all Parties were able to adopt unanimously.
 French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 meetings Laurent Fabius, second right, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, left, and UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon join hands after the final adoption of an agreement at the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change. Francois Mori/AP


French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 meetings Laurent Fabius, second right, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, left, and UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon join hands after the final adoption of an agreement at the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change.
Francois Mori/AP

The Paris Agreement commits all counties to limit global warming to as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible striving to stave it off at 1.5 degrees. This will require all countries to undertake ambitious efforts to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases which are produced primarily by the use of fossil fuels and deforestation. The Agreement also acknowledges that counties are already experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change, that those impacts will continue to increase and that urgent action is required to undertake measures to enable communities to adapt to extreme and slow onset events precipitated by climate change. In a major victory for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and all Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Agreement contains an article on Loss and Damage in which countries agree to cooperate to address irreversible and permanent loss and damage, and non-economic losses and work on resilience, risk management and insurance solutions.

Developed countries have pledged to continue their efforts to leverage US$100 billion per year to assist developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation efforts through 2025 and to raise that baseline after 2025. Similar pledges have been made for the transfer of technology and capacity building. A significant provision of the Agreement requires all countries to participate in a transparency framework in which all countries will report biennially on the actions they have undertaken to meet the mitigation and adaptation pledges they made in their nationally determined contributions which will be submitted every five years. In addition developed countries are required to report on the level of support they have provided and an indication of what they will provide, while developing counties will report on the support they require and what they have received.

The CARICOM Climate Change Centre is especially pleased that the Paris Agreement will be informed by science. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been mandated to produce a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming at 1.5°C above pre-industrial level and emission pathways to attain that target. The Centre played a major role in advocating for that target and for ensuring that the region was well represented and prepared to engage effectively in the negotiations in Paris. With the support of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UK-DFID) it prepared technical papers and convened annual regional meetings to develop informed regional positions. With additional support provided by the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the High level Support Mechanism (HLSM), these efforts were scaled up in 2015 as the Centre convened several technical and ministerial meetings and sessions of the CARICOM Task Force and the Regional Coordinating Committee which resulted in a Declaration on Climate Change which was adopted by the CARICOM Heads of Government and was the blueprint for the region’s position for COP 21. Its efforts culminated in Paris with a Caribbean-wide pavilion which was used by the Caribbean delegations to showcase their vulnerability to climate change and the efforts they are undertaking to address climate change, to convene strategy meetings and to engage in bilateral meetings. Support for the pavilion was provided by the Government of Martinique and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) among others.

The Centre’s efforts in 2016 will now turn towards ensuring that its member States formally adopt the Agreement as soon as possible, that they are prepared to undertake the obligations of the Agreement and that they can take full advantage of the opportunities provided in the Agreement.

CCCCC delivers Photovoltaic System in Barbados

 

In late December 2015, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) handed over the photovoltaic system at the Carlton pumping Station to the people of Barbados.

Dr. John Mwansa, General Manager for the Barbados Water Authority said “We are very thankful to the 5C’s and the European Union; the E.U. for providing the finances and the 5Cs for choosing us.”

The Salt Water Reverse Osmosis plant provides water for residents of the east coast of Barbados. The project was part of the adaptation and mitigation measures against climate change.  The Carlton Power switching project has been funded by the 5C’s through the EU-Global Climate Change Alliance (EU-GCCA) program which implements projects in CARIFORUM member states. Support for the Carlton Plant was approved at $470,000 US dollars. The Government of Barbados also constructed the foundation and the security fence around the system at a cost of $150,000. The partnership of the EU, 5Cs and the Government of Barbados has resulted in a immediate reduction in the operation costs at the Carlton Power Plant.
The Project Manager, Joseph Mcgann commented that in addition to a substantial reduction in the fuel bill, “it provides for a reduction in the greenhouse gas emission of Barbados which is in line with its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The ceremony was attended by Dr. Leanord Nurse, Chairman board of Governors, CCCCC; Jannik Vaa, EU Rep for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean; Joseph Mcgann, Project Manager, CCCCC and Dr. Atlee Brathwaite, Chairman of the Barbados Water Authority.

GCF signs grant agreement with Guyana and CARICOM in Paris

header-GuyanaGrantAgreement

Guyana signed a readiness grant agreement with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris on Tuesday, December 08, 2015. The funding will provide USD 300,000 to Guyana to help the country build capacity to access GCF funding for its priority projects in the future.

This project, which was negotiated between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC or 5C) and the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, aims to address several issues affecting CARICOM States under the rubric of Climate Change, inclusive of mitigation, adaptation and vulnerability.  The 5Cs is an Accredited Entity (AE) to the Fund, meaning that it can partner with GCF in delivering mitigation and adaptation projects on the ground in the Caribbean.

Executive Director of the 5Cs, Dr. Kenrick Leslie attended the ceremony along with H.E. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Governance of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, who signed on behalf of Guyana in the presence of H.E. Winston Jordan, the Guyanese Minister of Finance. Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director of Country Programming, signed on behalf of the Fund.

The GCF aims to help CARICOM Member States to adapt to climate change, by lessening their vulnerability to sea level rise and climate variability; identifying and implementing the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs); reporting and assessing of the Member States INDCs and the development and dissemination of renewable energy sources and technology.

According to iNews Guyana, “Francesco La Camera, Director General of the Ministry of Environment of Italy, signed a €6 million project to assist CARICOM Member States to mitigate climate variability and change.”

The GCF also seeks to transfer scientific and technical knowledge, experiences and technology, facilitate the exchange of experts, scientists and researchers; enhance the capacities for the implementation of mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its related instruments, and to promote joint ventures between the private sectors of the Parties.

The Fund provides early support for readiness and preparatory activities to enhance country ownership and access through its country readiness programme. A minimum of 50 per cent of readiness support is targeted at Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Guyana, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and African States.

More than 95 countries have so far expressed interest in receiving readiness support from the Fund, and more than 30 such grants have been approved to date.

The estimated timeframe for the project is five years. Minister Trotman thanked the Government and People of Italy for their continued support and friendship shown towards the people of Guyana and the Caribbean.

Credit: iNews Guyana, Green Climate Fund

Caribbean stakes space at COP21

wider caribbean pavilion

 

For the first time ever, the Caribbean has a designated space at the international climate talks — one designed to facilitate deliberation on emergent issues while providing a taste of the region and its offerings to the world.

It has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of Caribbean partners, notably the Caribbean Development Bank, the Regional Council of Martinique, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Panos Caribbean, the Saint Lucia Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

“The Pavilion provides a space for coordination, the sharing of experiences, consultation with like-minded partners, and for developing a greater awareness of the Caribbean’s experience with climate change,” noted Sharon Lindo, policy advisor with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.

“It is the avenue for the countries that are washed by the Caribbean Sea to engage with the world,” she added.

The Pavilion — a home for Caribbean negotiators for the next two weeks — forms a part of the region’s ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ campaign.

The campaign is intended to bolster the region’s negotiating positions at the talks, which constitute the 21stmeeting of Conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, being held in Paris.

Caribbean negotiators are intent on a 1.5 degrees Celsius target as a cap in global temperature increases below pre-industrial levels. They want, too, provisions for loss and damage associated with climate change as well as, among other things, new, additional and adequate financing for adaptation.

Meanwhile, after only one day, the Caribbean Pavilion has seen considerable action, with more expected in the coming days.

“A side event on energy has been held here while several delegations and organizations of the Caribbean have used the space for bilateral meetings and coordination. They have also used it for the sharing of a wealth of information through actual documentation and visuals,” Lindo noted.

“The coming days will see an expanding of the same. Towards the end of the second week, it is expected to offer delegations a space to come together and resolve critical issues,” she added.

Since its launch in Saint Lucia in October, the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign has gained momentum, with the implementation of a variety of activities.

Those activities have included the launch of its Facebook page, website (www.1point5.info) and Twitteraccount (@1point5OK) that have attracted hundreds of followers and the ‘1.5 Selfie Video’ Challenge (http://www.1point5.info/actscentral).

In addition, there have been a number of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Gladding, out of Saint Lucia, who has done a painting that bears the name of the campaign; and the production of a ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign theme song.

The song — available at https://soundcloud.com/panos-caribbean — was the work of Kendel Hippolyte and Ronald Boo Hinkson, with the voices of Banky Banx, BelO, Kendel Hippolyte, E.sy Kennenga, Jessy Leonce, Ace Loctar, Shayne Ross, David Rudder, Aaron Silk, Taj Weekes, and Deridee Williams.

Credit: The St. Kitts & Nevis Observer

The first CARICOM Biogas Laboratory

CARICOM Biogas Laboratory

CARICOM Biogas Laboratory

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) coordinates the Caribbean region’s response to climate change, working on effective solutions and projects to combat the environmental impacts of climate change and global warming.

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.IMG_7833

The laboratory was recently delivered to Belize and after final installation of the lab, the opening ceremony was held on November 27, 2015. In the speeches delivered at the ceremony, the speakers highlighted the importance of promoting science for students. Well deserved recognition  was given to the CCCCC and GIZ REETA, which  supplied the Biogas Laboratory to UB.  The University was recognized for being a strong partner with the best capacity in Belize to utilize the Laboratory. UB committed to integrate the laboratory in its curriculum to ensure ‘the students of today could use the technology tomorrow.’ Dr. Andreas Täuber also mentioned that in the future, support by GIZ for UB might be on the agenda to support the implementation of a Renewable Energy Study programme.

Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC

Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC

At the Biogas Laboratory opening ceremony, the ribbon was cut by: Dr. Andreas Täuber, Head of GIZ REETA; Dr. Wilma Wright, Provost, UB; Dr. Pio Saqui, UB FST Dept.; Dr. Kennrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC; and Henrik Personn,  Renewable Energy Expert  – Biogas Laboratory PM, CCCCC.

biogas produced by the laboratory inside plastic bag

biogas produced by the laboratory inside plastic bag

TNO Consultants, Henk Trap and Dr. Johan Van Groenestijn displayed biogas produced by the laboratory to visitors. Dr. Leslie highlighted the importance of the laboratory and applauded the efforts of the stakeholders to to make the best use of it in Belize.

Solar Energy for the Kalinago Territory

The Kalinago Territory, which is home to indigenous kalinagos people of Dominica ,will soon be home to a solar-based energy system. The system is part of a project by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), and is being funded by the European Union to the tune of US $400,000.

Joseph McGann who represents the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre says the centre is supporting national Governments to adapt to the projected climate changes.

“The national Government requested support to provide a renewable energy power source to the Kalinago community,” he revealed. “That involves the [installation] of solar panels to provide energy. In this particular case, we’re providing a 125 kilowatt solar farm to provide energy support to 145 residencies.

“We’re also providing individual stand-alone systems to support 15 houses. These systems will be powered by the panels and batteries to store the energy.”

The 125 kilowatt solar farm will also provide electricity to seven public facilities: two health centers, the Kalinago Barana Auté, two resource centers, the Council office and the library.

McGann hopes that this will be at no cost to residents. He adds that the output exceeds the needs of the area.

He says all this is in an effort to help Caribbean countries to reduce their carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels.

The company contracted to install the system is DCH Energy GMBH out of Germany.

Project Manager, Ammar Falak Sher, says under suitable conditions, the farm is expected to produce 200,000 kilowatt hours annually.

“Currently, most of the energy produced here on this island is from fossil fuels which are imported. So this will reduce your import bill since we are using your own resource. Here, you have enough sun to expect a very good payback from such a project,” he said.

The local community will be part of the installation process. The Hon. Parliamentary Representative for the Salybia Constituency, Casius Darroux is elated that the farm is coming to the Territory.

“I see the ripple effect of the solar project. The Sineku Resource Centre will be equipped with solar energy as well.”

He is especially pleased that the Salybia Health Centre will be on that grid.

“We are working to make it a mini hospital for the Constituency. So it is going to be great; it is good news for us in the Kalinago Territory.”

The project is expected to be operational by the end of September. The system will last more than 20 years.

Credit: Dominica Government Information Service

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