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CCCCC To Launch US$45-M Water Improvement Project In Barbados

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The project is made possible through the support of the Centre’s many partners and with funding from the GCF and the GoB

BELMOPAN: May 8, 2019: A five-year multi-million dollar water improvement project that is expected to ease the chronic water woes of more than 190,000 Barbadians will be launched on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the Bowmanston Pumping Station, in St. John, Barbados. 

The Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados (WSRN S-Barbados) is a $45.2-million investment project that is being implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Government of Barbados and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). Funding includes US$27.6 million in grants from the GCF and counterpart funding of US$17.6 from the Barbadian government.

The WSRN S-Barbados project is the GCF’s first single-country investment in the Caribbean. When complete, it should improve access to potable water, increase the Barbados water sector’s resilience to extreme climatic events; reduce water disruptions, introduce adaptation and mitigation initiatives through a revolving fund; improve resilience to climate change while building capacity and increasing public-private-partnerships and innovation for climate resilience in the sector. 

“The Centre is proud to be working with the government and people of Barbados on such an important project,” Dr Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the CCCCC said, noting:

“The measures to be undertaken under this project is expected to increase adaptation and mitigation measures in households and communities; improve the country’s food security by increasing the farmers’ access to water; reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the awareness of ordinary Barbadians to the effects of climate variability affecting the country and the wider Caribbean.”

Under the project, photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems are to be installed at the Belle, the Bowmanston and Hampton Pumping Stations to reduce the dependency of the facilities on diesel-generated electricity. Leaks are to be minimised through mains replacement and real-time monitoring. To ensure that any disruptions in the water supply would not immediately result in the loss of potable water to vulnerable sections of the population, water storage tanks and rainwater harvesting systems are to be set up in strategic locations across the island.

Mains replacement and real-time leak monitoring

The Project also includes a Revolving Adaptation Fund Facility (RAFF) to assist households, farmers and small businesses by supporting a number of climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the water sector.

The Fund aims to support the installation of water irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems as well as water saving devices in households, public buildings, hotels and in agriculture operations. The RAFF will continue to build sustainability, advance adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the island’s water sector after the project ends.

General Manager of the BWA Mr. Keithroy Halliday noted: “WSRN S-Barbados project will reduce the BWA’s carbon footprint, create a more reliable water supply and increase capacity building in the Authority. It will have a positive impact by creating resilience to severe weather events, promoting public awareness on climate change effects threatening the water supply system and highlighting ways to mitigate against it as well as improving the sustainability of the water supply system.  These initiatives collectively, are expected to assist the Government of Barbados in meeting its target of carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Project partners include the United States Agency for International Development Climate Change Adaptation Project (USAID-CCAP), the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of South Florida (USF), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).  

The CCCCC has received more than US$38.54 million in GCF grants for the implementation of Climate Change and readiness projects in several countries. These include the implementation of the WSRN S-Barbados Project, a project preparation grant for the Arundo donax Renewable Energy Project in Belize, and Country Readiness grants for Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
 
The CCCCC is a GCF direct-access Accredited Entity based in Belize and is the arm of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) that has responsibility for leading climate change actions in the Caribbean. As an Accredited Entity (AE), the CCCCC is positioned to assist government departments and agencies as well as private sector agencies in the Caribbean to access GCF funding for climate adaptation and mitigation project grants of up to US$50 Million per project. The Centre is also prepared to partner with other regional institutions to increase the region’s access to GCF and other donor funding.

The GCF is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenges of climate change through a network of National Designated Authorities (NDAs) and Accredited Entities.

One Fish Two Fish, No Fish: Rebuilding of Fish Stocks Urgently Needed

A major new study has revealed that the global seafood catch is much larger and declining much faster than previously known.

Around the world, subsidized fishing fleets from Europe, China and Japan have depleted the fish populations on which coastal residents depend. Credit: Christopher Pala/IPS

Around the world, subsidized fishing fleets from Europe, China and Japan have depleted the fish populations on which coastal residents depend. Credit: Christopher Pala/IPS

The study, by the University of British Columbia near Vancouver, reconstructed the global catch between 1950 and 2010 and found that it was 30 per cent higher than what countries have been reporting to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome since 1950.

In the Caribbean islands, the catch was more than twice as large as previously reported and declining at a rate 60 per cent faster than the official rate, the Canadian study found.

“This trend needs to be reversed urgently, or else a lot of people who depend on the sea for affordable protein are going to suffer,” said Daniel Pauly, a fisheries scientist who led the study. “And climate change is just going to make things worse.”

Called the “Sea Around Us” and funded by the Pew Environment Group, the study involved more than 400 collaborators over more than a decade.

Since 1950, countries have been required to file to the FAO their entire catch of fish and seafood. Discards – fish caught unintentionally and of little commercial value – were exempted because the program was originally designed to monitor economic development, not overfishing.

But it was long suspected that some countries only bothered reporting the industrial catch by the larger vessels because these pay easy-to-track fees and because they unload their catch in a small number of places and are thus easiest to monitor.

The subsistence catch of people who fish for their families, the artisanal catch by those with small boats, the recreational catch by amateur fishermen all were thought to be greater than reported but to an unknown extent. For its part, the FAO gave no precise indications of how skewered its numbers might be. Dirk Zeller, the study’s co-author, said that virtually all countries routinely blend hard numbers with estimates and could “estimate the uncertainties around their reported data if they chose, but no one does.”

Getting an accurate handle on how much fish is being taken out is vital in a world where hundreds of millions depend on the sea for affordable protein, he said. “Fish stocks are like a stock portfolio,” explained Zeller. “Before you decide how much to sell, you want to know exactly how much you have and how much it’s growing or shrinking.”

Starting in 2002 Pauly and Zeller decided to reconstruct the global catch from 1950 to 2010 and fix the shortcomings of the FAO data set, the bedrock on which global fisheries policies stand. A task “only madmen would consider,” quipped Rainer Froese, a German fisheries scientist. “And now they have pulled it off.”

The result, published here in the British online journal Nature Communications, shows that the real catch was a third larger than the one reported by the FAO. The UN agency says the global catch peaked in 1996 at 86 million tons and stood at 77 million tons in 2010, while the Canadian reconstruction found that it peaked, also in 1996, but at 130 million tons, and stood 110 million tons in 2010.

More alarmingly, the study found that the decline was triple the amount reported by the FAO, which recently called the catch “basically stable.”

Marc Taconet, head of the agency’s fisheries statistics, reaffirmed the validity of its data and “expressed reservations” with the notion that the new findings challenged “FAO’s reports of stable capture production trends in recent years.” He declined to elaborate.

In the Caribbean, Pauly said, the researchers found that fisheries officials were largely focused on reporting catches of species for which foreign fleets paid license fees, like tuna, billfish and sharks.

“They usually forgot about the local fisheries,” he said.

Even the Bahamas, where the local recreational catch is offloaded at the main ports that are easily accessible to tourists, yielded surprising results. There, researcher Nicola Smith found that the authorities had no idea of the size of the catch of deep-sea fish like marlins, tunas and mahi-mahi that Ernest Hemingway made famous. She found that that catch was even bigger than the commercial catch, and that none of it was reported to the FAO.

“When I told the director of marine resources,” she recounted in an interview, “he was quite surprised.”

“It’s astounding,” added Smith, a Bahamian, “that a country that depends on tourism for more than half of its GDP has no clue as to the extent of the catch that plays a central role in attracting tourists.”

Overall, the study found that Caribbean islands catch soared from 230,000 tons in 1950 to 830,000 in 2004 before crashing to 470,000 in 2010.

“And that doesn’t tell the whole story,” Pauly said. “What happened is that as reef fish like snappers and groupers were depleted, islanders ventured farther offshore in search of tuna, whose catch went from 7,000 tons in 1950 to 25,000 tons in 2004,” he said.

But the tuna stocks, long beyond the reach of the islanders, had been hard-hit by the highly-subsidized European, Asian and American fleets and their own numbers have been steadily dropping. Even as more and more islanders participated in the effort to substitute their vanished reef fish with tuna, that catch declined to 20,000 tons in the six years from 2004 to 2010, the study showed.

Conversely, the catch of groupers and snappers declined by a third from 2004 to 2010.

Climate change is expected to harm the Caribbean in several ways, Pauly says. Spikes of warm water temperatures that kill corals are becoming more frequent, leaving the corals less time to recover. The population of herbivores like parrotfish, on which the corals rely on to keep algae under control, has been decimated.

Finally, adds William Cheung, a marine ecologist at UBC who works with Pauly, the Caribbean’s warming waters are driving fish away from the equator. “We estimate the shift in the center of gravity of some species’ range will be 50 kilometers per decade,” he said. In part because animals reproduce less in a new environment, the warming waters will further diminish the overall fish populations in the Caribbean, with major decreases in the south and slight increases in the north, he explained.

To counteract these trends, Pauly said, Caribbean nations need to urgently collect batter data on how much fish they have and how much are being taken out, and then impose realistic catch limits. They should also create no-fishing marine reserves, as Bonaire and Barbuda have done, to allow thinned-out fish populations to grow back, which will then allow for larger, yet sustainable catches within a decade or so.

Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency

State Minister Commends CCIC for Support of Entrepreneurs

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson (right) and Counsellor and Head, Development Cooperation, at the Canadian High Commission, Walter Bernyck (second left), with grant recipients and innovators (from left): Robert Wright, Shirley Lindo, Harlo Mayne and Dr. Kert Edward, at a cocktail reception to highlight the work of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), held at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), in St. Andrew, on September 16.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson (right) and Counsellor and Head, Development Cooperation, at the Canadian High Commission, Walter Bernyck (second left), with grant recipients and innovators (from left): Robert Wright, Shirley Lindo, Harlo Mayne and Dr. Kert Edward, at a cocktail reception to highlight the work of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), held at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), in St. Andrew, on September 16.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has lauded the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) for its support of Caribbean entrepreneurs.

“This is a programme that encourages entrepreneurs to come up with solutions. You provide funding,  so that they can build a solution which won’t necessarily just solve a problem in Jamaica, or the Caribbean, but which can solve problems globally,” Mr. Robinson said.

The State Minister was speaking at a cocktail reception to highlight the work of the  CCIC, held at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), in St. Andrew, on September 16.

The CCIC is a joint project of the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, World Bank and the SRC. It was designed to identify and support Caribbean entrepreneurs and new ventures that are developing locally appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Phase One of the project was highly successful, as 11 entrepreneurs were selected as proof of concept winners and awarded grants ranging from US$10,000 to US$50,000, totalling approximately US$425,000. The winners were from Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia and Belize.

The four Jamaican winners are Shirley Lindo, Castor Oil Briquettes; Dr. Kert Edward, Fibre Optic Solar Indoor Lighting; Robert Wright,  Pedro Banks Renewable Energy; and Harlo Mayne, for his H2-Flex Hydrogen Hybrid Project.

Meanwhile, the State Minister noted that one of the challenges facing entrepreneurs is the inability to access non-banking financing, such as venture funding.

“There are some developments that are taking place in a positive way in that regard. The Development Bank of Jamaica has an initiative on venture capital, and there are a couple of private angel investor groups that have been established, all of which are positive for the development of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Mr. Robinson said.

He pointed out that the innovations that are a part of the CCIC, fit right into the plans that the Government has in terms of building a sustainable energy policy.

For his part, Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Cliff Riley, said the CCIC is looking forward to moving on to Phase Two of the project.

“We are looking to see how we can drive entrepreneurship and create a spirit of innovation in Jamaica and in the Caribbean region,” Dr. Riley said.

Phase Two of the project will provide: proof of concept grant funding for new cohorts of entrepreneurs; training (including access to financing, market development and business incubation training); mentoring and networking opportunities; and specific business incubation services.

The project, which is housed at the SRC, caters to the Caribbean Community, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Credit: Jamaica Information Service

Caribbean focuses on youth unemployment

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Gladstone.

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Gladstone.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday that the 9th Meeting of Caribbean Labor Ministers has concluded with a commitment to strengthen social dialogue further both at the national and regional levels.

The ILO also said the meeting in Port-of-Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital, ended with renewed impetus to focus on creative solutions to the problem of youth unemployment and the greening of the economy.

The meeting, themed “Decent Work for Sustainable Development,” was attended by 21 delegations headed by 14 ministers with responsibility for labor issues.

The presidents and other representatives of the Caribbean Congress of Labor (CCL) and Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) were also present, along with representatives from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), and U.N. Agencies (ECLAC, UNESCO,PAHO/WHO and U.N. RC Office Jamaica), as well as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, attended the meeting and held bilateral meetings with chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Prime Minister of Bahamas Perry Christie; and the Governor-General of the Bahamas, Dame Marguerite Pindling.

The ILO said Caribbean Labour Ministers at the Meeting called for the systemic institutionalization of national social dialogue processes and culture, which embrace policy areas.

They agreed to support the capacity of social partners to ensure that their interventions to tripartite forums and consultations will add substantive value to the processes, the ILO said.

Given the impact of climate change on the world of work, the ministers called for long-term policy development, so that countries are sufficiently resilient to meet the related challenges.

It was agreed that new business opportunities, as well as education and skills-training policies, would be implemented in response to the anticipated impact of climate on the workers, the ILO said.

The ministers called for closer collaboration between the ILO and CARICOM, particularly on youth employment, technical, vocational education and training (TVET), labor market information systems and environmental sustainability.

The ministers said that those countries not-yet signatory to the regional “Free of Child Labor” initiative, should be provided with information to consider becoming a party to it, according to the ILO.

It said that it officially informed the Ministers of Labor about a new regional project with CEC and CCL, with funding from the European Union (EU), aimed at strengthening the capacity of workers’ and employers’ organizations in the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Delegates examined the state of youth unemployment in the Caribbean region, together with public and private partners and institutions such as the government of the Republic of China, Canada, Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, and the ACS.

In this session, it was proposed that anticipating skills requirements could contribute to reduce skills mismatches, the ILO said.

It was also suggested that colleges and training institutions work closely with social partners in developing work-based learning opportunities, beyond apprenticeships and internship programs and closer to labor market demand.

The ILO said session highlighted the need for strong corporate social responsibilities to link youth to the world of work.

Regional certification to ensure consistency of qualifications and opportunities for free movement of youth, by developing fair and sound immigration policies, were also discussed.

Ryder emphasized the importance of reducing carbon emissions for sustainable economic growth, generating new jobs and skills.

With sessions led by representatives from CCCCC in Belize, and the ILO Green Jobs Program in Geneva, climate change and its impact on the work place was discussed.

With higher temperatures, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity threatening lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region, the need for increased technical and financial support for the development of renewable energy in the Caribbean was raised, the ILO said.

Ryder said that the Caribbean has strong traditions of tripartite social dialogue, and mentioned the good practices and innovative solutions which the Caribbean countries are able to implement and share.

Credit: Caribbean Life News

Designation as “special areas” in the Caribbean

The Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) has the greatest concentration of plant and animal species in the Atlantic Ocean Basin.  Yet these precious, and often irreplaceable, natural resources are disappearing at an astounding rate. The vast majority of all species are threatened by habitat loss or modification in addition to unsustainable practices such as over-fishing, unplanned coastal development and pollution. These same habitats are often the main source of food and income for many coastal communities.

The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) of the Cartagena Convention, is a regional agreement for biodiversity management and conservation in the Wider Caribbean Region, in existence since 1990. It is managed by the United Nations Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) and it became international law in 2000.  It aims to protect critical marine and coastal ecosystems while promoting regional co-operation and sustainable development.

To date, sixteen countries from the region have ratified the Protocol: The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France (through its Departments of Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique, Saint-Barthélémy and Saint-Martin), Grenada, Guyana, The Netherlands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint-Eustatius and Sint Maarten), Panama, Saint-Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, and Venezuela.

Since 2012 SPAW has created a regional network of protected areas (PAs) or key conservation sites listed by the member governments under the Protocol. Under this network these sites benefit from a cooperation programme supported by SPAW, which includes: increased recognition and awareness as places of importance locally, regionally and globally; increased local and national pride resulting in national responsibility to support management; higher visibility with the possible result of increases in employment opportunities and income due to increased tourism marketing of the area; grants and technical assistance provided through SPAW; opportunities for enhancing capacity, management, protection and sustainability; and, opportunities for support  of species conservation, pollution control and sustainable finance.

Countries which are party to the Protocol are invited to apply for their protected areas to be so listed using online forms.  To be selected, sites must satisfy a rigorous set of ecological as well as cultural and socio-economic criteria.  Applications are reviewed by the UN SPAW secretariat as well as by external experts prior to their approval by the Protocol’s scientific committee and it’s biennial Conference of Parties (COP). On 9th December 2014, in Cartagena, Colombia, the Protocol’s Eighth COP approved thirteen new protected areas:

  • The Regional Natural Park of wetlands between the Rivers León and Suriquí, Colombia
  • The Saba National Marine Park, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • The Saint Eustatius National Marine Park, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • The Man O War Shoal Marine Park (Sin t Maarten), the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • The Reserve “Etang des Salines”, Martinique, France
  • The Reserve “Versants Nord de la Montagne Pelée, Martinique, France
  • The Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Belize
  • La Caleta Submarine Park, Dominican Republic
  • National Park Jaragua, Dominican Republic
  • Reserve “Los Haitises”, Dominican Republic
  • National Park “Sierra de Bahoruco”, Dominican Republic
  • Tobago Cays Marine Park, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • “Molinière Beauséjour” Marine Protected Area, Grenada

These protected areas vary greatly in description and characteristics.  However they all meet the criteria for listing under SPAW.  These include ecological value, and cultural and socio-economic benefits.  A quick look at two of the areas listed illustrates this.

The Saint Eustatius National Marine Park, established in 1996 in the Eastern Caribbean, is only 27.5 square kilometres in area and extends around the entire island of Saint Eustatius, from the high water line to 30 metre depth contour. It protects a variety of habitats, including pristine coral reefs and 18th century shipwrecks. It includes two no-take zones (reserves) as well as general use zones and designated anchoring zones for large commercial ships.  There is high biodiversity in its coral reefs and a wide variety of tropical reef creatures resides in and around these reefs as well, including the commercially important lobster and conch, key predators such as sharks and the endangered Sea Horses.  Three species of sea turtles (all of them are endangered or critically endangered species) nest regularly on the island’s Zeelandia Beach – the leatherback, the greenand the hawksbill. Dolphins and large whales regularly visit and can often be heard as they migrate through the Marine Park between January and April.   A number of birds live almost exclusively in the open ocean environment, using St Eustatius as a breeding ground or migratory stop over, such as the Audubon’s Shearwater Puffins and Red Billed Tropicbirds.

St Eustatius is also site of Statia Terminals, an oil transhipment facility, including one of the deepest mooring stations for super tankers in the world, located immediately south of the northern marine reserve on the West coast and which has been in operation since 1982 and expanded in 1993. It employs 10 per cent of the island’s population.  During the 18th century, this was one of the busiest ports in the world, hence the presence of shipwrecks within the marine park up to today.

In contrast, the Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR), established in 2000, in Belize is 405 square kilometres in area and has three adjacent and nearby human settlements: Monkey River, Punta Negra and Punta Gorda.  It is unique along the coast of Central America in lagoon system size and the number of in-shore mangrove islands. It is in relatively pristine condition and includes coastal and tidal wetlands, marine lagoons, and mangrove islands with associated shallow banks and fringing coral reefs. Almost all of the coastal and island vegetation, including mangroves, is intact.  Maintaining coastal ecosystem functions and natural resource values, including water quality and nursery habitats of the area, is important in order to protect biodiversity and traditional fishers’ livelihoods.  It is a major breeding and nursery area for juveniles of many species. Threats are expected to increase as the area is attracting more visitors for fly-fishing and sailing.

The SPAW Protocol and the listing of Marine Protected Areas is driven by the need to first recognize sites of great regional and international ecological and socio-economic value and then put measures in place to protect and conserve these areas.  The Caribbean’s rich and beautiful natural heritage deserves our best efforts while also protecting the sustainable livelihoods of coastal communities.

To find out more about the SPAW Protocol and the work of the Caribbean Environment Programme see: www.cep.unep.org and www.car-spaw-rac.org

For further information: 
 Alejandro Laguna - Comunication and Information Officer
 United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
 Clayton, Ciudad del Saber - Alberto Tejada, Building 103; Ancon - Panama City, Panama.
 Phone.: 305 3100
 alex.laguna@unep.org

Credit: UNEP Environment for Development

Caribbean Energy Security Summit Commits to Energy Transition

Twenty-six countries, together with seven regional and international organizations, have released a joint statement in support of the transformation of the energy systems of Caribbean countries. The signatories of the statement, signed during the Caribbean Energy Security Summit, commit to pursuing comprehensive approaches to an energy transition toward “clean sustainable energy for all” and reforms that support the creation of favourable policy and regulatory environments for sustainable energy.

The Summit, which was co-hosted by the US Department of State, the Council of the Americas and the Atlantic Council, brought together finance and private sector leaders from the US and the Caribbean, and representatives of the international community. The event showcased the initiatives under the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) in the areas of improved governance, access to finance and donor coordination, and featured discussions by partner countries on comprehensive energy diversification strategies.

During the event, the US Government announced enhanced support for technical assistance and capacity-building programs in the Caribbean, through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) initiative, among others, with the aim of promoting a cleaner and more secure energy future in the region. Caribbean leaders agreed to pursue comprehensive energy diversification programs and facilitate the deployment of clean energy.

Furthermore, presentations and updates were provided by, inter alia: Caribbean leaders on energy sector goals; the World Bank on a proposed Caribbean Energy Investment Network for improved coordination and communication among partners; and the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) on a new focus on clean energy project development in the Caribbean, which includes US$43 million in financing for a 34 MW wind energy project in Jamaica.

Highlighting the role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in supporting the transition to sustainable energy in the Caribbean, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said the past five years had seen an “unprecedented push” in the Caribbean toward the development of the region’s renewable energy sources, noting this was “doubly impressive” “in a time of low oil prices.”

The Summit, which took place on 26 January 2015, in Washington, DC, US, is part of CESI, launched by US Vice President Joseph Biden in June 2014. The regional and international organizations signing the statement were the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank, the EU, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the OAS and the World Bank.

The joint statement was also signed by the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Credit: SIDS Policy & Practice IISD

CCIC Extends Application Period for Proof of Concept Grant Scheme to April 20, 2014

Credit: Caribbean360.com

Credit: Caribbean360.com

The Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), Mr Everton Hanson, says the application deadline for the Proof of Concept (POC) Grant Funding Scheme has been extended to April 20, 2014.

Grant funding of up to US$50,000 is currently being provided to entrepreneurs within the Caribbean region under our POC Grant Funding Scheme.The scheme seeks to support projects or prototypes in five (5) thematic areas, namely:

(a) Resource Use Efficiency/Recycling 
(b) Water Management 
(c) Sustainable Agribusiness 
(d) Solar Energy 
(e) Energy Efficiency

The CCIC was officially launched on January 27, 2014. The Center is a World Bank financed Caribbean initiative being executed by a consortium comprising the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) of Trinidad and Tobago and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) in Jamaica.

The CCIC is headquartered in Jamaica and delivers its services in 14 CARICOM countries. These are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St.Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The main objective of the CCIC is to support Caribbean entrepreneurs in developing appropriate technologies suitable for the mitigation or adaptation to climate change. This is expected to be achieved through the offering of services such as, among other things, technology commercialization, market development, and access to financing, mentoring and training, incubation and CAD Lab services to such entrepreneurs.

Learn more about the POC Grant Funding Scheme http://gallery.mailchimp.com/1d8dc7083e/files/POC_Flyer_March_17.pdf

Indoor Mini-Farms to Beat Climate Change

Industrial engineer Ancel Bhagwandeen says growing your food indoor is a great way to protect crops from the stresses of climate change. So he developed a hydroponic system that “leverages the nanoclimates in houses so that the house effectively protects the produce the same way it protects us,” he says.

Bhagwandeen told IPS that his hydroponic project was also developed “to leverage the growth of the urban landscape and high-density housing, so that by growing your own food at home, you mitigate the cost of food prices.”

The hydroponic unit can also run on solar energy. Credit: Jewel Fraser/IPS

The hydroponic unit can also run on solar energy. Credit: Jewel Fraser/IPS

Hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrients in water, is increasingly considered a viable means to ensure food security in light of climate change.

His project is one of several being considered for further development by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), headquartered in Jamaica.

The newly launched CCIC, which is funded mainly by the World Bank and the government of Canada, seeks to  fund innovative projects that will “change the way we live, work and build to suit a changing climate,” said Everton Hanson, the CCIC’s CEO.

Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, 
chairs the CCIC's Management Committee.

A first step to developing such projects is through Proof of Concept (POC) funding, which makes available grants from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars to successful applicants to “help the entrepreneur to finance those costs that are related to proving that the idea can work,” said Hanson.

Among the items that POC funding will cover are prototype development such as design, testing, and field trials; market testing; raw materials and consumables necessary to achieve proof of concept; and costs related to applications for intellectual property rights in the Caribbean.

A POC competition is now open that will run until the end of March. “After that date the applications will be evaluated. We are looking for ideas that can be commercialised and the plan is to select the best ideas,” Hanson said.

The CCIC, which is jointly managed by the Scientific Research Council in Jamaica and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute in Trinidad and Tobago, is seeking projects that focus on water management, resource use efficiency, energy efficiency, solar energy, and sustainable agribusiness.

Bhagwandeen entered the POC competition in hopes of securing a grant, because “this POC funding would help in terms of market testing,” he explained.

The 48-year-old engineer says he wishes to build dozens of model units and “distribute them in various areas, then monitor the operations and take feedback from users.” He said he would be testing for usability and reliability, as well as looking for feedback on just how much light is needed and the best locations in a house or building for situating his model.

“I would then take the feedback, and any issues that come up I can refine before going into mass marketing,” he said.

Bhagwandeen’s model would enable homeowners to grow leafy vegetables, including herbs, lettuce and tomatoes, inside their home or apartment, with minimal expense and time.

The model uses smart electronics, meaning that 100 units can run on the same energy as a 60-watt light bulb, he said. So it differs from typical hydroponics systems that consume a great deal of energy, he added. His model can also run on the energy provided by its own small solar panel and can work both indoors and outdoors.

Bhagawandeen said his model’s design is premised on the fact that “our future as a people is based more and more on city living and in order for that to be sustainable, we need to have city farming at a family level.”

U.N. report says that “the population living in urban areas is projected to gain 2.6 billion, passing from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050.” Most of that urban growth will be concentrated in the cities and towns of the world’s less developed regions.

To meet the challenges of climate change adaptation, the CCIC “will support Caribbean entrepreneurs involved in developing locally appropriate solutions to climate change.”

Bhagwandeen said that support from organisations like the CCIC is critical for climate change entrepreneurs. “From the Caribbean perspective, especially Trinidad and Tobago, we are a heavily consumer-focused society. One of the negatives of Trinidad’s oil wealth is that we are not accustomed to developing technology for ourselves. We buy it.”

“We are a society of traders and distributors and there is very little support for innovators and entrepreneurs.”

He said access to markets and investors poses a serious challenge for regional innovators like himself, who typically have to rely on bootstrapping to get their business off the ground.

Typically, he said, regional innovators have to make small quantities of an item, sell those items, and then use the funds to make incrementally larger quantities. “So that if you get an order for 500 units, you cannot fulfill that order,” he said.

Fourteen Caribbean states are involved in CCIC: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Caribbean CCIC is one of eight being developed across the world.

Credit: Inter Press Services News Agency

Caribbean urged to brace for impact of climate change

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill (left), I discussions with CCCCC Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie (right) (JIS PHOTO)

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill (left), I discussions with CCCCC Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie (right) (JIS PHOTO)

A two-week regional training workshop on climate change has started here with a warning that the Caribbean could suffer billions of dollars in losses over the next few years as a result of climate change.

“As a region, we have to assist each other in every conceivable way imaginable,” said Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill at the start of the workshop that is being organised by the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in partnership with several regional governments and the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

It is being held under the theme “The use of sector-specific biophysical models in impact and vulnerability assessment in the Caribbean”.

Pickersgill said that Caribbean countries needed to work together to boost technical expertise and infrastructure in order to address the effects of the challenge.

He said global climate change was one of the most important challenges to sustainable development in the Caribbean.

Citing a recent report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he noted that while the contribution of Caribbean countries to greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant, the projected impacts of global climate change on the Caribbean region are expected to be devastating.

Pickersgill said that according to experts, by the year 2050, the loss to the mainstay tourism industry in the Caribbean as a result of climate change-related impacts could be in the region of US$900 million.

In addition, climate change could cumulatively cost the region up to US$2 billion by 2053, with the fishing industry projected to lose some US$140 million as at 2015.

He said the weather activity in sections of the Eastern Caribbean over the Christmas holiday season was a prime example of this kind of devastation.

The low level trough resulted in floods and landslides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica. At least 15 people were killed and four others missing. The governments said they would need “hundreds of millions of dollars” to rebuild the battered infrastructures.

“For a country the size of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, this loss is significant and could result in their having to revise their GDP (gross domestic product) projections. (Therefore), while one cannot place a monetary value on the loss of lives, the consequences in terms of dollar value to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is also important,” Pickersgill said.

“It only takes one event to remind us of the need to become climate resilient in a region projected to be at the forefront of climate change impacts in the future,” Pickersgill said, adding that he hoped the regional training workshop would, in some meaningful way, advance the Caribbean’s technical capabilities to meet the future projections head-on and be successful.

He said the workshop has particular relevance to Jamaica as one of the SIDS that is most vulnerable to climate change.

The two-week programme forms part of the European Union (EU)-funded Global Climate Change Alliance Caribbean Support Project, which is geared towards the creation and financing of policies that can reduce the effects of climate change as well as improved climate monitoring within the region.

The Global Climate Change Alliance project is to be implemented over 42 months and will benefit Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

CCCCC Programme Manager, Joseph McGann, said the project would include several activities including: enhancing national and regional institutional capacity in areas such as climate monitoring; data retrieval and the application of space-based tools for disaster risk reduction; development of climate scenarios and conducting climate impact studies using Ensemble modeling techniques; vulnerability assessments that can assist with the identification of local/national adaptation; and mitigation interventions.

CMC/id/ir/2014

Credit: CMC

5Cs’ Bosses Discuss Sea Level Rise in the Caribbean with NPR affiliate

Members of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s  management team, namely Executive Director Dr Kenrick Leslie, CBE, and Deputy Director and Science Advisor Dr Ulric Trotz, were recently interviewed by Tim Padgett, Americas Editor at WRLN, NPR’s Miami affiliate, for a wide-ranging feature on sea level rise and the likely impact on South Florida and the Caribbean. Below is a transcript of the interview.

Read the full report in Miami Herald and WRLN (includes audio clip).

Tim Paget-

From the WLRN Miami Herald Studio I’m Tim Paget with the Latin America Report made possible by Espirito Santo Bank. Today, as part of WLRN’s weeklong series, Elevation Zero, about the impacts of sea level rise, we look at the threat to South Florida’s neighbours in the Caribbean. The Caribbean basin is important, not just for white sands and blue surf but, as strategic hemispheric crossroads and its Sea Level scenario is more troubling than what we face here. From the Bahamas to Belize, from Grenada to Guyana, experts say rising sea waters could do more than ruin the crucial tourism industry. They could leave some islands virtually uninhabitable if major preventative measures aren’t taken soon. Ulric Trotz is Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize.

Dr. Ulric Trotz-

In 50 years, if the projections that we are seeing from our models are correct then the entire landscape will be changed. Our beaches would have disappeared, our coastal areas eroded, our infrastructure degraded. Certainly, that will wreak havoc on the way we live.

Tim Paget-

Experts project the Caribbean face a Sea Level Rise 3- 6 feet or more by the end of this century. If it goes unchecked, they fear as much as 1200 s-m of coastal land could be lost. A recent Inter-American development Bank report that Trotz co-authored estimates half the Caribbean Community’s major tourist resorts could be damaged or destroyed by sea rise, surge or erosion. Not to mention scores of sea turtle nesting beaches.

Dr. Ulric Trotz-

All of the physical plant supporting the tourism industry, hotels, airports, would be in what we call the inundation zone.

Tim Paget-

The Caribbean Community or CARICOM started sounding the sea level rise alarm in the 1990’s. Today it is recommended that the basin nations begin erecting more than 200 miles of levees and sea walls at a cost of almost 6 billion dollars. The problem is the Caribbean doesn’t have that kind of cash in the best of times and these aren’t the best of times. In fact, the Caribbean is currently home to 5 of the world’s 12 most indebted countries. Kenrick Leslie is the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s Director.

Dr. Kenrick Leslie-

It would be extremely difficult for us to put in place the type of adaptation measures that we have recognized would be necessary.

Tim Paget-

The Caribbean islands and the 40 million people who live on them produces less than 1 percent of the greenhouse gases that many scientists blame for the global warming that’s causing rising sea levels. As a result, the basin’s leader say developed nations should help finance the Caribbean’s mitigation tab.

Dr. Kenrick Leslie-

We’re not looking for hands-out. We’re looking for concessional loans when we go to the international meetings. We try to make it very clear, we need to have programs supported by the larger industrialised countries.

Tim Paget-

Coastal tourism isn’t the only concern. Further inland, agriculture and fresh water supplies are also threatened by more intense storms and tidal surges.

Brian Soden-

Some islands, you know some of the smaller low lying islands may actually have to be evacuated.

Tim Paget-

Brian Soden is a Professor of Meteorology and Oceanography at the University of Miami. And like other Scientists, he believes the Bahamas Islands, just off South Florida, are some of the most vulnerable. Many of the Caribbean’s Eastern Islands were formed volcanically and have a bit more elevated breathing room but Western Isles like the Bahamas chain are just downright flat.

Brian Soden-

A vast amount of their acreage is literally within 2 or 3 feet of Sea Level. That’s well within the range of projected Sea Level Rise over the next century.

Tim Paget-

But whether it’s the Bahamas or Barbados, Caribbean Sea Level Rise may well result in a spike in immigration, especially to South Florida. And none of that seems fair to region that stands to suffer the most from a phenomenon that it has done the least to provoke. I’m Tim Paget in Miami. You can read more of our Latin American coverage at www.wlrn.org

–          The Latin American coverage is made possible by Espirito Santo Bank.

This article has been updated to include the transcript of the interview.
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