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Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre at LAC Climate Week

Dr Elon Cadogan and Mr Carlos Fuller of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre attended the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Climate Week in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil from 19 to 23 August 2019.

On Monday, Regional and International Liaison Officer, Carlos Fuller introduced the Integrated Global Greenhouse Gas System (IG3IS) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) at a side event on “Science-Based Greenhouse Gas Emission Estimates in Support of National and Sub-National Climate Change Mitigation”. This was followed by presentations on two pilot projects utilizing the system in Recifre, Brazil and Mexico City, Mexico. He then spoke on the need for enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) at a Regional Dialogue on NDCs.

On Wednesday, he was a panelist at the opening of the Climate Week and then moderated a panel discussion which included Ms Lisa Morris Julian, the Mayor of Arima, Trinidad and Tobago, on “Mitigation and Vulnerability Hotspots” as part of  a session on “Pathways to a Low-Carbon and Resilient Future in Latin America and the Caribbean Urban Areas and Settlements”.  He then delivered a presentation on adaptation on the coastal zone of Belize and facilitated a panel discussion which followed.

Dr Elon Cadogan, the National Project Coordinator for the GCF-funded “Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados Project” delivered a presentation on the project at the Technical Expert Meeting – Mitigation (TEM-M) on “Circular Economy Solutions and Innovations in Water and Energy Management for the Agri-Food Chain”.

The Centre’s team utilized the opportunity to engage with CARICOM representatives attending the LAC Climate Week including officials from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago and other regional experts.

The 2020 Lac Climate Week will be held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Caribbean “debt service payments should go to a resilience fund,” says top ECLCAC official!

alicia barcena

Caribbean leaders appear to be giving serious consideration to making a proposal requesting the gradual write-off of billions of dollars in external debt.

The issue was raised by Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena at a high-level meeting this morning that preceded yesterday’s official opening of the 36th regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.

She pointed out that 40 per cent of the Caribbean’s US$46 billion debt is to multinational agencies, with 14 per cent being bilateral.

Of that amount, she said, US$30 billion was accumulated between 1990 and 2014 as a result of natural disasters.

She described the situation facing regional states are serious, explaining that five Caribbean countries are among the most indebted in the world.

Bárcena said the problems are compounded by the vulnerabilities of Caribbean economies that are already facing a decline in foreign direct investment.

“Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis are the top five in the Caribbean,” she said. “Nobody talks about them. We all hear about Belize. Of course it represents one per cent of the global debt so we are not a systematic problem.”

The ECLAC official said “the time is ripe” for CARICOM states, along with the Caribbean Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to hammer out an agreement on a proposal for debt relief.

“The debt service payments should go to a resilience fund that can probably be managed by the Caribbean Development Bank. The resilience fund should be used . . . for infrastructure adaptation, sea defence.

“Another fund that should be very important is  . . . an external micro economic fund. That fund is for external shocks. Who should support that external micro economic fund is the larger economies of Latin America, the Brazil and Columbia,” she said.

In his intervention, President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr. Warren Smith said Caribbean leaders need to show they are serious about change by making hard decisions.

“Even as we make a case for that debt relief we need to demonstrate to those with whom we are negotiating that we are prepared to take the tough decisions to do the right thing,” he told the meeting.

“We need to change the structure of our economies. We can’t continue to do what we have done in the past and expect different results.”

The discussion was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States Luis Almagro Lemes, and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma, among other officials.

Credit: Caribbean 360

Climate Change, Transportation and Belize’s economic prospects

Belize Road

Credit: Bishwa Pandey/World Bank

Dr David J. Keeling, Distinguished University Professor of Geography at Western Kentucky University, says “Climate change impacts, both long-term and short-term, are likely to have serious repercussions for Belizean communities without a detailed and comprehensive management plan for accessibility and mobility”. Peruse his exclusive contribution to Caribbean Climate.

Links between climate change and transportation may not seem obvious at first glance, especially when considering the broader social and economic impacts of weather shifts over time and space.  The short-term effects of climate events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal surges, or flash floods capture the attention of the media, emergency personnel, and these populations affected primarily because of the immediate humanitarian considerations.  People need rescuing, emergency shelters must be provided, potable water and food are needed, and emergency services are charged with helping the devastated communities to recover. Without transportation infrastructure, and without the means to provide accessibility to, and mobility within, the affected areas, tragedy would be compounded. Roads especially are critical to this recovery effort, particularly in poorer regions of a country or in more isolated rural areas, because often this is the only basic infrastructure available to connect people to the outside world.

A longer view of climate change impacts on people  and places requires governments and societies to think about transportation in different ways. Of course, we understand intuitively that transport improvements are critical to socio-economic growth and wellbeing, but this does not necessarily translate into concrete policy in many parts of the world, especially Latin America. In Brazil, for example, Latin America’s most robust economy and most populated country, less than 10 percent of the country’s roads are paved, compared to nearly 60 percent in China or 99 percent in Thailand. In smaller countries such as Belize that have fewer available resources, the transportation challenges are more critical and immediate. Climate change impacts, both long-term and short-term, are likely to have serious repercussions for Belizean communities without a detailed and comprehensive management plan for accessibility and mobility.

IMG_0475

Credit: Jason Polk

Less than 20 percent of Belize’s roads are paved, many are two-laned only, some are washboard-dirt in composition, and often patched with gravel or sand.  Many Belizean communities are located quite far from major highway access points, and could be viewed as much more susceptible or vulnerable to coastal changes than larger towns and cities. Regional plans for infrastructural improvements under the auspices of the Plan Puebla-Panamá include the Guatemala-Yucatán Axis that aims to improve economic integration and mobility along the Caribbean coast. However, little progress has been made to date, in part because of regional geopolitical differences. Yet local planning for long-term climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels, more intense rainfall, or other climatic shifts, needs to be harmonized with transportation infrastructure challenges in mind. Belize needs to have a comprehensive, forward-looking management plan that anticipates the relationship between climate change, accessibility, and mobility. This is especially critical for the tourism industry and for agriculture, forestry, and other primary economic activities.

As climates change, so too do economic opportunities and potentials. In short, Belize is vulnerable to the long-term impacts of climate change in myriad ways. It needs, therefore, a proactive, integrative set of management goals that recognize how transportation infrastructure is inextricably intertwined with socio-economic goals and strategies. Even a small country like Belize can have big ideas and policies that can set the standard for how to manage future climate change.

Food Security, Small-scale Women Farmers and Climate Change in Caribbean SIDS

Today's featured post is Food Security, Small-scale Women Farmers and Climate Change in Caribbean SIDS by Nidhi Tandon, Consultant, UN Women Director Networked Intelligence for Development. 

Also read Working Paper No. 114 – Opportunities for Advancing Women’s Sustainable and Green Livelihoods Food Security, Small-scale Women Farmers and Climate Change in Caribbean SIDS by Ms Tandon. The paper was published by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, which is jointly supported by the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Brazil.

Both long-term climate change and immediate-term economic crises are bringing the issue of food security into sharper relief, particularly in those Caribbean countries where food security is already volatile and faces a series of risks and challenges. Climate change, in particular, adds urgency to the call for renewed focus, prioritisation and integrated adaptation approaches to natural resource management, land use policies and long-term macro-economic frameworks and where these intersect.

Through participatory research and interviews with women in farming communities in Dominica and Antigua, Tandon (2013) argues for small-scale, ecologically sensitive farming and fishing as a critical way to anchor local food security of rural populations, shelter domestic food markets and secure the natural bio-diversity of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Women play a core role in articulating what food security looks like to them—and have a keen appetite for peer-to-peer networks of training, technical knowledge sharing and distribution of information to support sustainable livelihoods and the long-term viability of their communities.

Women involved in farming and fishing alike are important contributors to both national and household food security, though unrecognised, unvalued and undervalued in a sector that is still one of the most depressed sectors in society. Representatives of both these constituencies expressed consistent concerns about their food security, defined less by consumer considerations and more by production capacity and maximised nutritional content.

When asked about climate change in the context of their local environments, women shared their personal experiences and perspectives based on daily and seasonal activities. They framed the issue around timescales of immediate needs and seasonal harvest cycles. In interviews and conversations it is apparent that their understanding and articulation of the phenomenon of climate change is inexact, one common observation being the unprecedented seasonal changes and the difficulty of relying on weather patterns. However, none of the farmers interviewed drew a link between climate change, rises in sea level, increases in sea surface temperatures, coral bleaching or coastal erosion. Unlike the Pacific islands, where the rise in sea level is visible and immediate, in the Caribbean islands this change is not yet recognised as such—what is most salient is the recurrence of climate induced storms. The human and social dimensions of climate change are yet to be fully developed and understood in this Caribbean context.

In the country studies, challenges facing agriculture remain: finance, land availability, local or regional marketing infrastructure and labour costs. The societal stigma attached to farming is changing—and there is now a generation of young professionals (women and men) returning to the primary sector as the new income security. What is not quite clear is whether these e security. orung professiona security concerns and/or whether there is a genuine desire to learn about farming and a less resource-consumptive approach.

The economic crisis and its lingering effects have forced a transition to alternatives and a return to multi-source income approach to livelihoods. This opportunity for more positive investment and attitudinal shifts towards farming and fishing clearly exists but needs additional support for adaptation to, and management of, climate change. Survey participants in Dominica identified concurrent action to combat climate change on three fronts (Table). Furthermore, gender concerns are still peripheral to discussions on livelihoods and climate change. The mix of climate change, livelihoods and cyclical crises has largely had negative effects on livelihoods and well-being. Calls for consistent attention to the needs of both men and women, particularly in vulnerable rural communities, are an obvious part of the solution. Political will and leadership to ensure that each country’s economic development is inter-locked with environmental and gender issues is needed more than ever.

In 2013, agricultural thinking in the region still continues to be dominated by preserving a commodity-based agriculture value-chain framed by trade preferences. “While various attempts have been undertaken to harness the capacity for domestic consumption or to turn crops or agricultural waste into bio-ethanol, as yet none of this is about creating regional food security” (Jessop, D. (2009).

Concurrent Action on Three Fronts
(a) Restoration and Regeneration Plans

Halting degradation through unlearning destructive processes and relearning restorative processes: “we have to stop raping the soil” by over‐exploiting it, over‐fertilising it and using bad rotation practices (Hans Herren quoted in IFAD 2009)

b) Sustainability and Viability Plans

Adapting cultivation and harvesting methods to local contexts in ways that enhance the diversity of the local gene pool and local food and water sources

(c) Contingency and Strategic Plans

Protection for the future and for future generations, includes:

  • conservation of forests and watersheds;
  • preservation of seed varieties;
  • fishing methods that promote long‐term fish stocks; and
  •  sequestering soil carbon to enhance future productivity.

It combines risk reduction with the creation of safety nets and contingency plans for smallholder farmers.

Reference:
Jessop, D. (2009).‘The View From Europe: Caribbean Agriculture & Food Security’, Shridath Ramphal Centre website, 11 May 2009,

Note:
IFAD 2009 Proceedings of the Governing Council Round Tables in Conjunction with the Thirty-second Session of IFAD’s Governing Council, February 2009.

Global biodiversity awareness tops 75% for the first time

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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 info@ethicalbiotrade.org
*** From the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

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