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The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s (CCCCC) International and Regional Liaison Officer, Mr Carlos Fuller, was a panelist at the First Forum of the Standing Committee on Climate in Barcelona, Spain on May 28, 2013. At the historic forum addressing “financing and investment drivers for adaptation activities”, Mr Fuller discussed the Centre’s adaptation efforts across the Caribbean. He noted that these activities are in support of the mandate that the CARICOM Heads of Government endorsed in the region’s Implementation Plan for the “Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change”.
Other members of the panel included Mr Juan Hoffmaster of Bolivia, who represented the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee, Ms. Smita Nakooda of the Overseas Development Institute and Ms Saliha Dobardzic of the LDCF/SCCF of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The panel was facilitated by the co-chair of the Work Programme on Long-term Finance, Mr Naderev Sano of the Philippines.
The Standing Committee is a body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established at COP 16. Its mandate is improving coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing, rationalization of the financial mechanism, mobilization of financial resources and measurement, reporting and verification of support provided to developing country Parties.
Dr Hugh Sealy of Barbados, the Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of the CDM was also a panellist at the forum addressing “Financing and investment drivers for mitigation activities”. Among the 100 attendees was Mr Derreck Oderson of Barbados, the Chairman of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC) and Mr Raymond Landveld, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Suriname to the United Nations who is a member of the Standing Committee.
The Forum was organized by the Standing Committee on Finance of the UNFCCC with support by the World Bank Institute and the International Emission Trading Association (IETA). Panellists included representatives of national governments, international organizations such as the South Center, the International Finance Corporation, the IDB, GIZ, OECD and the private sector, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Standard Bank (Nairobi). Carbon Expo 2013 will be held at the same venue on 29 to 31 May 2013.
At the conclusion of the Forum, the co-chair of the standing Committee, Ambassador Dianne Black-Layne of Antigua and Barbuda noted that the insights of the Forum would inform the next meeting of the Forum to be held in Bonn, Germany in June.
The Forum was formally closed by Secretary of State of the Environment of Spain, Mr Federico Ramos de Armas and Ms Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.
Build Better Jamaica’s Somer Spencer tackles climate change related risks and the need to develop strategies and policies to enable building resilience in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean in an exclusive guest post at Caribbean Climate, the region’s premier climate change focused blog.
‘“Never seen flooding like this” Storm particularly harsh on St. Elizabeth, Manchester’ ~Jamaica Observer, Oct. 3, 2010
‘Hurricane Sandy moving across Jamaica with heavy rain, high winds’ ~Caribbean 360, Oct. 24 2012
‘Flooding in St. Mary’ ~The Gleaner, Nov. 10, 2012
‘Prepare for drought! ODPEM Warns Citizens to Get Ready For Dry Season’ ~The Gleaner, Jan. 7, 2013
‘Cabinet approves $30m to Fight Drought – Robertson Says Allocation Insufficient for West St. Thomas’ ~The Gleaner, Jan. 23, 2013
These are just a few headlines that have been in Jamaica’s media recently. Over the past years, the island of Jamaica has faced a hurricane, flooding and drought conditions. These are only a few of the climatic issues the island faces and with climate change, it is predicted to intensify. Climate Change is no longer something that is expected to happen, it is already here!
WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENT BUILDING?
Before we can define a climate change resilient building, we need to define the term resilience. Resilience speaks to ‘the capacity for a system to absorb disturbance and still retain its basic function and structure’. When applied to buildings, a climate change resilient building may be defined as a structure, whether permanent or temporary, that is enclosed with exterior walls and a roof constructed on a plot of land that has the capacity to absorb disturbances, in particular climate change related impacts, and still retain its basic function and structure. Climate Change Resilient Building encompasses the actual structure as well as the siting of the building and its materiality.
WHY DO WE NEED TO HAVE CLIMATE CHANGE RESILIENT BUILDINGS?
Caribbean Terrace in Jamaica is a perfect example (but not the only one) of why we need resilient buildings. On numerous occasions, this seaside community has been affected by storm surge, in some cases displacing its residents. During the reporting period 1980 to 2010, there were 29 natural disasters recorded that had affected approximately 1,895,317 persons and causing a death toll of 226. Yearly, that is approximately 61,139 persons are affected, with 7 persons dying from natural disasters alone.
Building exteriors are similar to the human skin, in that it protects its occupants from climatic conditions. Without it, we are all vulnerable. With the predicted escalations in climate change related impacts, attention needs to be focused on increasing the resilience of our building stock to prevent loss of life and property.
HOW DO WE ACHIEVE THIS?
Codes. Building codes play an important role in raising the minimum standard of the building stock, by establishing the minimum requirements for: the siting /location of the building, the building envelope, the building material, systems and sustainable practices.
Sustainable practices. As Alex Wilson from Building Green puts it: ‘It turns out that many of the strategies needed to achieve resilience–such as really well-insulated homes that will keep their occupants safe if the power goes out or interruptions in heating fuel occur–are exactly the same strategies we have been promoting for years in the green building movement. The solutions are largely the same, but the motivation is one of life-safety, rather than simply doing the right thing. We need to practice green building, because it will keep us safe–a powerful motivation–and this may be the way to finally achieve widespread adoption of such measures.’ Sustainability needs to be forefront in everyone’s mind. It needs to become a way of building rather than an option.
Enforcement. All the ideas and strategies in the world will make little difference without governance and enforcement.
Consolidation of resources. Currently, there are many different organizations and resources available. Some are more accessible than others. Creating a collaborative single resource that is easily accessible will help minimize confusion, duplication and prevent the use of different resources for validation.
THE NEXT STEP
- As a region, we need to have enforceable building codes …
- As a region, we need think sustainably …
- As a region, we need to recognize and improve the weaknesses in our system …
- As a region, we need to work together…
‘Build Better Jamaica’ is a public awareness campaign for an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded project with the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies titled: Developing Design Concepts for Climate Change Resilient Buildings. This project analyses the climate change related risks and is charged with developing strategies and policies to increase resilience in the building stock in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. The results of the research are intended to aid in improving building practices and provide input for legislative reforms for Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
Somer Spencer R.A.(FL), LEED® AP BD+C, NCARB is part of the team of consultants lead by MODE Ltd, who are undertaking a review of Building Codes, as one of the focus areas of the Developing Design Concepts for Climate Change Resilient Buildings project.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is hosting a regional training workshop focused on the process of conducting Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) studies in Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries this week (from May 29 to June 6) in the Dominican Republic.
The workshop is the second of a two part training programme that seeks to build resilience through VCAs and Climate Change Adaptation within and among the diversity and similarities of the CARIFORUM countries. The first part of the training programme was held in Suriname in April and targeted Southern Caribbean countries, while the second is aimed at Northern Caribbean states.
Program Manager Joe McGann says he anticipates over twenty participants, who will bring a wealth of experience from their respective countries and from previous participation in the many regional opportunities for sharing of lessons learned and opportunities for capacity building.
Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments
The CCCCC-coordinated training programme furthers efforts under the Caribbean component of the Intra-ACP Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) programme to mainstream and improve VCAs and implement a range of adaptation options and projects.
Under the Caribbean component of the European Union (EU) funded Intra-ACP GCCA initiative, vulnerability and risk assessment techniques and methodologies will be developed and people will be trained in the application of the new methodologies. Subsequently, about 10 vulnerability assessments will be conducted in the field. This activity will be implemented in collaboration with the national government entities and private consultants and the outcomes of the assessments will inform future land use planning, zoning and development planning.
Also a number of risk and hazard assessments will be carried out and topographic maps indicating risk areas and levels will be produced.
The development and implementation of concrete Adaptation Projects will be based on the experiences gained under the Special Pilot Adaptation to Climate Change (SPACC) Project in Saint Lucia, Dominica and Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines. Following the identification and screening (feasibility studies, participatory consultations) of potential adaptation interventions, at least 2 adaptation projects will be funded and implemented under the GCCA Project.
According to the VCA Guidance Manual, the emphasis is on process as opposed to a recipe of steps for Mainstreaming. This is important as VCA and adaptation planning cannot be a “one size fits all” mechanism, but one of situation specific applications.
The VCA training sessions will focus on:
- The types of information that should be gathered
- How to manage relevant stakeholder processes
- Some of the tools that can be used to analyze the information gathered
- Useable products for decision making
- How to organize data into a graphical map-based format (using GIS)
- Identifying hotspots and priorities for adaptation strategies
- Prioritizing capacity and vulnerability reduction needs.
The Guidance Manual also emphasizes that the most important components of the VCA are:
- The social aspect and how people cope with events at present
- Awareness and perception of risk
- Assessments of a community’s strengths and weaknesses
Learn more about the Caribbean component of the EU-GCCA here.
The Associated Press ran a comprehensive feature on climate change in the southern Caribbean this week, in which it cites the Centre’s key role in the regional response.
“The Caribbean Community Climate Change Center in Belize is managing the regional response.”
The expose also quoted significantly from the Centre’s landmark Implementation Plan: Delivering Transformational Change 2011-21. Implementing the CARICOM Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change.
“Twenty-one of 64 regional airports could be inundated. About 5 percent of land area in the Bahamas and 2 percent of Antigua & Barbuda could be lost. Factoring in surge from more intense storms means a greater percentage of the regional population and infrastructure will be at risk.”
Read the widely published report here.
Did you know that a Parrot Fish can produce as much as 7 tons of sand in its life time? Learn more about our collaborative work to secure Caribbean fish sanctuaries by watching the Caribsave video below.
** Caribsave is a Not-For-Profit regional organization with its headquarters in Barbados. Caribsave was formed in 2008 as a partnership initiative between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the University of Oxford.
The Meridian Institute and Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN) recently launched a set of case studies and headline findings on ‘Agriculture and Climate Change: Learning from experience and early interventions.’
Agriculture is on the frontline of climate change impacts and solutions. The scientific community continues to deepen its understanding of how changing temperatures and rainfall patterns, and climate impacts such as salt water intrusion, will affect agricultural yields. Climate change affects the incidence of diseases and pests, as well as beneficial species such as pollinators, and so urges us to reassess the relationships among the many elements of agricultural ecosystems.
Adapting our agricultural systems and practices to these new realities will be essential for human food security and nutrition, as well as for sustaining the other goods and services (including products for fuel and fibre) that such ecosystems provide.
Many aspects of farming practice affect greenhouse gas emissions and are important to the conversation on climate mitigation. Some farming systems generate significant emissions but, with some modification, these emissions could be reduced. Introducing new forms of land management and inputs (for fertility and pest control) can make a big difference to agriculture’s carbon footprint.
CDKN has been supporting the Meridian Institute since November 2011 to convene a dialogue among developing country leaders on how agriculture’s contribution to climate change adaptation and mitigation could be effectively taken forward under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As detailed in our project description and the Meridian Institute’s website, Meridian facilitated these dialogues throughout 2012-13 and produced a set of case studies and briefing notes to support the discussions.
Practical case studies of early efforts to develop climate-smart agriculture are now presented in a collected volume, available for download here.
The collection aims to provide comparison across diverse initiatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Zambia to Vietnam, Nepal, and India, to Bolivia. For each pilot initiative, programme managers present:
- The objectives of the initiative
- Funding arrangements
- How local capacities and community involvement are engendered
- How success is defined and measured and
- Outcomes and lessons learned.
Sam Bickersteth, CDKN’s Chief Executive and an agriculture specialist, outlines the current status of agriculture talks within the UNFCCC here.
For additional resources including a graphical summary of the workshop at which the case studies were presented, a film of panel presentations, and PowerPoint slides, please visit: http://www.climate-agriculture.org/LEEI.aspx
*This article was published by CDKN Global | on: 2pm, April 19th, 2013
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is within the United Nations Environment Programme, says 75% of consumers surveyed worldwide are aware of biodiversity, while 48% can give a correct definition of the term biodiversity. These are some of the findings contained in the 2013 Biodiversity Barometer report launched today in Paris by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT). Consumers in Brazil, China and France, according to the study, show a particular awareness about biodiversity.
“The Biodiversity Barometer is an important source of information on global trends in biodiversity awareness. The results not only demonstrate a growing consciousness, they also show that respecting biodiversity provides tremendous opportunities for business around the world” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary for the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Very high biodiversity awareness in China
This year’s special focus on China reveals interesting results: Apart from a very high biodiversity awareness (94%), Chinese consumers surveyed also show high knowledge of biodiversity: 64% could define correctly what biodiversity means. “The survey results do not come as a surprise. In recent years, the government as well as civil society organizations in China has undertaken tremendous activities for communicating and raising awareness of biodiversity issues” says Zhang Wenguo, Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China.
Biodiversity offers branding opportunities
Responses to the question “What are the three brands you consider are making the most efforts to respect biodiversity?” were manifold and often country-specific: In Brazil, there is a clear leader with Natural (49%). In the USA, most mentioned food brands, including Kraft, Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s. UK has two leading companies: Bodyshop and CO-OP (23% and 20%). In France Yves Rocher, Nestle and Danone top the list, while in China the perceived leaders are Yili, Mengliu and Amway. “There are clear opportunities for brands to position themselves around the issue of biodiversity, and anticipate increasing consumer interest on this issue” concludes Rémy Oudghiri, Director of Trends and Insights at IPSOS.
Biodiversity reporting is growing, but still weak
“Today 32 of the top 100 beauty companies in the world refer to biodiversity in their corporate communications such as sustainability reporting and websites. This is considerably higher than in 2009, but much lower than what we found in the top 100 food companies” says Rik Kutsch Lojenga, Executive Director of UEBT. In 2013, 87% of consumers say they want to be better informed about how companies source their natural ingredients, and a large majority of consumers say they would to boycott brands that do not take good care of environmental or ethical trade practices in its sourcing and production processes.
Youth is the future of biodiversity
For brands interested in reaching consumers on biodiversity, the 2013 Biodiversity Barometer offers the following insights: Young people tend to have the highest awareness of biodiversity (80%), as well as more affluent and well-educated people. Traditional media remain by and large the key sources of awareness: 51% of all surveyed consumers learned about biodiversity through television, 33% through newspapers and magazines.
On the UEBT Biodiversity Barometer
The UEBT Barometer provides insights on evolving biodiversity awareness among consumers and how the beauty industry reports on biodiversity. It also illustrates the progress towards achieving the targets of the Strategic Plan of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and its results will be reflected in the next edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook as a midway point analysis of the achievement of those targets. Since its first edition in 2009, the global research organisation IPSOS, on behalf of UEBT, has interviewed 31,000 consumers in 11 countries (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, UK and USA). In 2013, the biodiversity barometer survey was conducted among 6,000 consumers in six countries – Brazil, China, France, Germany, UK and USA.
The Union for Ethical BioTrade
The Union for Ethical BioTrade is a non-profit association that promotes the ‘Sourcing with Respect’ of ingredients that come from biodiversity. Members, which include many beauty companies, commit to gradually ensuring that their sourcing practices promote the conservation of biodiversity, respect traditional knowledge, and assure the equitable sharing of benefits all along the supply chain.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 193 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a subsidiary agreement to the Convention. It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.To date, 163 countries plus the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol.
The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal.
For more information visit: http://www.cbd.int.For more information, please visit: http://www.ethicalbiotrade.org. You may also visit: http://www.ethicalbiotrade.org and contact Union for Ethical BioTrade bia phone at +31-20-223-4567 or email using firstname.lastname@example.org
*** From the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Several Caribbean nations committed to a three-year action plan that aims to create at least one biosphere reserve in each island at the UNESCO Inter-Ministerial Conference on “Biosphere Reserves in the Caribbean Small Island States – Tools for sustainable development and growth” in St. Kitts and Nevis on March 27.
At the conference organised by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago signed the declaration that will allow them to use the reserves as tools for innovative projects to add value to local socio-economic activities.
Of the 610 biosphere reserves worldwide (117 countries), only four are in the Caribbean: St Kitts, Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
The COMET Program recently published a module called “Forecasters’ Overview of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea”.
This module provides an introduction to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea for weather forecasters. It focuses on major aspects of the region’s geography, oceanography, and climatology. With respect to Geography, it covers major political boundaries, cities, ports, topographical features, rivers, and volcanic areas. The oceanography focus includes major bathymetric features, mean sea surface temperature and surface salinity, ocean currents, and tidal ranges. While the climatology section covers the seasonal climatology of jet streams and synoptic weather systems, extratropical cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico, and monthly and seasonal statistics of tropical cyclone activity.
Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan for “Delivering transformational change 2011-21″.