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When powerful storms tear through the islands of the Caribbean, it’s often fishing families and famers in coastal villages who bear the brunt of flooding and damage – and it’s those same people who can help lead climate change adaptation, say experts.
Across the region, decision makers are realising a top-down approach isn’t always the way forward, and often those who live and work in high-risk areas – whether they grow coffee, run small businesses or work as tour guides – best understand the particular issues they face, and have ideas about how to tackle them.
Those local insights can positively shape policy at a national level in the climate-vulnerable tropical island nations, a discussion hosted by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) heard this week.
“It’s saying ‘this is a two-way street, a two-way conversation’,” said Will Bugler, a senior consultant at Acclimatise, who gave a rundown of Caribbean climate change adaptation tools and research.
But local efforts alone are not enough, and communities need strong links with regional and national governments so they can draw on their expertise, influence and spending power.
The problem is that linking up groups with different levels of understanding – and sometimes competing interests – can make hammering out climate resilience strategies a long and frustrating process, according to a report published by CDKN.
Today, a raft of sophisticated new technologies harnessing high-quality data on climate and weather patterns are being used to develop community vulnerability assessments and help companies, governments and development banks inject climate change resilience into their plans.
Sharon Lindo, policy advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), said Grenada was one country now consulting CCORAL, an online tool highlighting climate change vulnerabilities, before making policy decisions. Some regional banks are using it as part of their risk assessment processes, she added.
“What that showed us was that just a small incremental cost makes the investment climate-resilient,” Lindo told the webinar.
While these tools can be used to track multiple scenarios – such as the chance of storm damage, drought or even dengue outbreaks – there are still gaps in the data, as some of the tiny islands scattered across the Caribbean lack comprehensive monitoring.
A planned project to install additional monitoring stations could start to fill in the picture, said Dr. Ulric Trotz, CCCCC’s Deputy Director and Science Advisor, who highlighted the need for well-documented environmental data to go with meteorological information.
“If we want to really target agriculture… and watershed management appropriately, we need to also have stations within areas on these smaller islands to really capture that data that can feed into the model and give a more robust analysis,” said Trotz.
And in climate-vulnerable countries, it seems you’re never too young to learn about the impact climate change may have on your future. A pilot project in Belize is trying to integrate climate change into the curriculum for schoolchildren, said Trotz.
“Individual countries could start initiatives in schools. We’re particularly keen on … introducing a system of school gardening right across the region,” he said.
With this, students could find out about new techniques like drip irrigation, greenhouse cultivation and aquaponics, he added.
Credit: Thomas Reuters Foundation News
Dr Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and science Advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), says calls for a transformation of Green Climate Fund resources that could optimize and efficiently direct private investment and limited public resources. Peruse his proposal below and listen to his exclusive interview on the inaugural edition of Caribbean Climate Podcast.
The inherent differences in the nature of Mitigation and Adaptation outcomes is consequential and should be a central feature of comprehensive climate change policy decisions, policies and programmes. While they both result in the production of a public good, that derived from mitigation (decreased carbon) is a global public good, and conversely, that derived from Adaptation is a local public good. Indeed, Adaptation is very country specific, hence the localized nature of the benefits derived therefrom. As a result, the product from Mitigation can be commoditised and traded on the local and/or global markets. This paves the way for international private sector entities, to identify profitable pro-environmental opportunities and invest in global action that facilitates Low Carbon Development (Mitigation). Mitigation’s ability to generate private sector opportunities distinguishes it from Adaptation. Even at the local level, Adaptation fails to attract private sector investment, because the local public good it produces is not a marketable commodity. By implication, Adaptation invariably warrants public sector intervention. Specifically, more robust public spending on infrastructure, healthier ecosystems, better health systems, etc. These crucial differences underscore the existence of a significantly more favourably global private sector investment environment for mitigation relative to Adaptation, the bulk of which will remain the responsibility of the public sector.
So significant and consequential is the divergent investment potential (public and private) of Adaptation and Mitigation, the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Climate finance called for a significant proportion of the US$100 billion per year to be mobilized for the Green Climate Fund to come from the private sector. This private sector engagement must operate both locally and globally given the considerable risks and high costs associated with Adaptation that could prove prohibitive for the private sector in the developing world. Some observers view this approach skeptically, often wondering, why would the private sector, say in the United Kingdom, be interested in providing funds for Adaptation in Belize? These are highly plausible concerns, but the case for Mitigation is totally different. Unlike Adaptation, both local and foreign private sector capital can be mobilized for investment in mitigative actions in any part of the world. Building low carbon economies is the business of the future and lends itself to global investment. With this in view, I propose a re-imagination of GCF resource allocation.
Considering the unlikely flow of the necessary resources from the private sector for Adaptation purposes and a clear pro-environmental incentive for global and local private sector engagement through mitigation, most of the GCF allocation should be used to support adaptation actions. GCF resources should not be used to “implement” actual mitigation actions, namely renewables, efficiency measures, among others. I strongly suggest that GCF resources be used to help countries prepare an environment for robust mitigation efforts, such as energy transformation – policy and legislative reform – and also to prepare sound investment portfolios with full-fledged, costed and ready to implement proposals for the transformation of the energy sector. I imagine GCF resources being used to incentivize investment in these actions. The approach I have articulated will create an enabling landscape marked by a favourable investment climate, an incentivizing environment, and a preponderance of credible and ready to go transformational programmes. One can anticipate such a landscape to yield heightened private sector interest and investment in Mitigation without GCF’s resources crowding out private funding, while leaving crucial adaptation efforts – which does not readily attract private funding – largely underfunded. Put simply, the GCF should be reengineered to support Adaptation directly, create the environment for private sector investment in Mitigation, and leave actual implementation of the latter to the private sector.
Dealing with Adaptation funding more broadly is a bit less straightforward, but, the “integration” of climate risks into national development planning and budgetary processes, as well as crafting a budgetary support modality as a mechanism for adaptation funding could result in some feasible solutions. How do we approach this integration when considering a reasonable modality for adaptation financing? I propose that countries should “integrate” climate risk into national development plans and national budgets to access adaptation funding. This integration should include quantification of both the impact and additional costs of mitigating those impacts (Adaptation costs).
We in the Caribbean already have a tool to facilitate this integration – the Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation TooL (CCORAL) – that is adaptable to other contexts. Using this approach, the normal envisaged expenditure in the budget (e.g. upgrading a coastal road) becomes the country baseline contribution to the “adaptation package” (i.e. what the country would have spent in any case on that action). The incremental costs identified by the risk management analysis (Adaptation costs) can then be accessed from the GCF. The capacity building issue here then becomes mainly one of how countries gain the capacity to “integrate climate risk” into their national development plans and yearly budgetary processes. This allows countries to clearly define their national adaptation resource needs across all sectors. Once this is done, it is a question of the modalities for accessing these funds from the GCF, implementing, monitoring and reporting under the national umbrella. The essential point here is that this approach provides an avenue for channeling adaptation funds to countries, through a “budgetary support” process (by implication through the Ministry of Finance), and precludes the need for setting up a parallel external process for accessing and utilizing Adaptation funds in our countries that are already confronting challenges associated with scarce human resources.
The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) says it is working towards ensuring that the region benefits significantly from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as well as the Adaptation Fund (AF) established to help countries worldwide deal with the impact of climate change.
Executive director Dr. Kenrick Leslie says the Centre, under a directive from CARICOM leaders, has been “working with national governments to put together programmes that would help them develop bankable projects that can be funded under the various mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“The Centre is putting maximum effort to ensure CARICOM Member States get their fair share of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and other funds to help them in their adaptation efforts. That is our primary thrust— to meet the mandate given to us by the regional heads,” he said,
He said the CCCCC has applied to be a regional implementing entity for the Adaptation Fund, and is strengthening its capacity by establishing a Monitoring and Evaluation Unit to better prepare it to function as an implementing agency with the requisite technical capacity to institute projects on par with international organizations operating in the region.
“The new Unit will also advance the Centre’s capacity to advise and help governments develop, monitor and evaluate programmes in accordance with its mandate as the region’s key node of information and action on climate change.”
The CCCCC board of governors held its annual meeting here on Sunday and according to a statement issued Monday, the meeting agreed to strengthen its fiduciary oversight through a Finance and Audit Sub-Committee of the Board of Governors, annual internal audits, and increased focus on data and plant security.
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Dr. Leonard Nurse, says these changes were necessary given the Centre’s shift from a project-based orientation to more programmatic activities in a bid to ensure its long-term sustainability.
He said the Centre, which is primarily funded through grants and not government subventions, is moving towards establishing a Trust Fund with Trinidad and Tobago providing one million US dollars in seed money.
Nurse said that the Fund will be an independent arrangement administrated by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) allowing the Centre to co-finance projects and fund project priorities over the long-term.
According to the communiqué, the CCCCC will work with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in developing “joint proposals aimed at reducing the region’s vulnerability and building resilience to the likely effects of climate change across a myriad of areas of mutual interest”.
The Board agreed that the Centre will deepen engagement with the private sector to ensure broad utilisation of the seminal Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL), as well as expand its youth focused public education work.
The CCCCC said that public-private partnerships (PPP) were essential to advance the Centre’s multipronged approach to building climate resilience in the region.
It said it had successfully used this approach to implement projects, such as the installation of reverse osmosis desalination facilities in Bequia, Petite Martinique and Carriacou, to improve access to potable water.
The Belize-based regional organisation said that in order to meet the emerging challenges and demonstrate its commitment towards a low carbon development pathway, it has reinforced its support for the construction of facilities to carry out the Centre’s operations.
“The Government of Belize has allocated 10 acres of land to the Centre, on which a custom-designed, ‘green’ facility will be constructed. The Centre is in the process of seeking financing to undertake this initiative. This development comes as the Centre prepares to celebrate its 10th Anniversary,” the communiqué added.
5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting: Expanded partnerships with CARPHA, Deeper Private Sector Partnerships, New Member and Heightened Outreach Announced
Placencia, Belize; June 29, 2015― The Board of Governors of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre concluded its annual meeting (June 25 -28) in Placencia, Belize yesterday. The Board agreed that the Centre will deepen engagement with the private sector to ensure broad utilisation of the seminal Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL), pursue closer collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA, which includes the former CEHI ), expand its youth focused public education work and welcome at least one new beneficiary country.
Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are essential to advance the Centre’s multipronged approach to building climate resilience in the region. The Centre successfully used this approach to implement projects, such as the installation of reverse osmosis desalination facilities in Bequia, Petite Martinique and Carriacou, to improve access to potable water. Leveraging this approach to improve the uptake of CCORAL will be a key feature of the Centre’s work in the coming year. CCORAL , which was launched by the Centre in July 2013, is an online support tool developed to strengthen climate resilient decision-making processes across various sectors in the Caribbean by embedding a risk ethic. It has been endorsed by regional and international partners, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Centre has been working with the Caribbean Development Bank, its long-standing partner and a permanent member of the 11 member Board of Governors, and other development partners to mobilise private sector support for the tool. The Board also notes that the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) is a natural partner for the success of the tool at the regional level.
Following a special presentation to the Board of Governors in 2014 by Dr C.J Hospedales, CARPHA’s Executive Director, the Centre is moving to deepen collaboration with the region’s premier health agency. The two entities are expected to collaborate to develop joint proposals aimed at reducing the region’s vulnerability and building resilience to the likely effects of climate change across a myriad of areas of mutual interest.
The success of the Centre’s new engagements will also offer an opportunity to advance its public education work. The Centre successfully piloted a network of school-based environmental clubs in Belmopan, Belize this year. This initiative includes 60 to 90 minute weekly meetings, experiential learning, highly interactive group exercises and discussions. This comprehensive youth focused outreach initiative, which also included the first Belize – Mexico Student Exchange on Climate Change, will be a key element of the Centre’s public engagement moving forward. The network of clubs will be rolled out across Belize and in three other CARICOM countries over the next 12 months.
To meet the emerging challenges and demonstrate its commitment towards a low carbon development pathway, the Board also reinforced its support for the construction of facilities to carry out the Centre’s operations. The Centre is currently housed in rented facilities provided by the Government of Belize. The Government of Belize has allocated 10 acres of land to the Centre, on which a custom-designed, ‘green’ facility will be constructed. The Centre is in the process of seeking financing to undertake this initiative. This development comes as the Centre prepares to celebrate its 10th Anniversary. The Board greatly appreciates the goodwill of the Centre’s host government in areas including and beyond the provision of property for the future facility and also welcomes similar offers from the University of Belize.
As the Centre expands and matures it is looking to welcome a new member. The Centre expects Martinique to become an Associate Member in the medium term, which would bring the total beneficiary countries to 15. The Board of Governors is aware that all countries in the region, whether English-, French- or Dutch-speaking are highly vulnerable to the risks posed by global climate change, as they are exposed to the same threats such as rising air and sea surface temperatures, changing rainfall patterns sea-level rise and changes in the behaviour of extreme weather and climate-related extreme events. It is against this background that the Board welcomed the application of Martinique for Associate Membership.
The Centre has expanded rapidly since it commenced operations in 2005, having developed the capacity to successfully execute a suite of regional climate change related programmes worth between US$40 and US$50 million over the last five years. The Centre continued the execution of eight medium to large projects/programmes over the last twelve months. The Centre’s most recent programme is a €12.8 million initiative to address ecosystems-based adaptation under an agreement with the German Development Bank (KfW). The KfW supported engagement seeks to protect the region’s extensive coastal resources through a combination of ecosystems-based adaptation and environmental engineering approaches that will also embed livelihood considerations as a core element of the programme. The comprehensive investment under the initiative developed by the Centre, in conjunction with the KfW, will focus on enhancing the resilience of the region’s coastal resources to the impacts of climate change and climate variability.
VIDEO: Climate Change Projects in the Caribbean:
Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie says the Centre, under a directive from CARICOM Heads, has been “working with national governments to put together programmes that would help them develop bankable projects that can be funded under the various mechanisms under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Centre is putting maximum effort to ensure CARICOM Member States get their fair share of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund (AF) and other funds to help them in their adaptation efforts. That is our primary thrust— to meet the mandate given to us by the regional Heads.”
Accordingly, the Centre has applied to be a regional implementing entity for the Adaptation Fund, and is strengthening its capacity by establishing a Monitoring and Evaluation Unit to better prepare it to function as an implementing agency with the requisite technical capacity to institute projects on par with international organizations operating in the region. The new Unit will also advance the Centre’s capacity to advise and help governments develop, monitor and evaluate programmes in accordance with its mandate as the region’s key node of information and action on climate change. Following decisions taken at last year’s Board of Governors meeting, the Board has strengthened its fiduciary oversight through a Finance and Audit Sub-Committee of the Board of Governors, annual internal audits, and increased focus on data and plant security.
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Dr. Leonard Nurse, says these changes are necessary given the Centre’s shift from a project-based orientation to more programmatic activities in a bid to ensure its long-term sustainability. He notes that the Centre, which is primarily funded through grants and not government subventions, is swiftly advancing efforts to set up a Trust Fund. The Fund, which has been seeded with US$1M from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, will be an independent arrangement administrated by the CDB that would allow the Centre to co-finance projects and fund project priorities over the long-term.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.
Caribbean Partners in Water and Wastewater to Launch New Tools and Resources to Benefit the Region’s Water Sector
A slate of recently developed Caribbean Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) knowledge products, which focus on tools geared toward building climate resilience in the Caribbean water sector, as well as, resources for the wastewater sector professionals, were launched at a two-day (April 29-30) Regional Meeting of Partners in the Water and Wastewater Sector in the Caribbean this week.
The products include those developed under the Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL)-Water initiative, a joint collaboration between GWP-C and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. The Session will also showcase wastewater videos and materials from the GEF CReW, an effluent discharge database and other resources.
The Global Water Partnership (GWP) technical focus paper on IWRM in the Caribbean: The challenges facing SIDS.
Over the course of the two-day Regional Meeting of Partners in the Water and Wastewater Sector in the Caribbean, the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), the United Nations Environment Programme, Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP-CAR/RCU) and the Global Environment Facility’s Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW) hosted a Knowledge Sharing Session on New Tools and Resources for IWRM in the Caribbean.
IWRM is an holistic approach to managing water that takes into consideration that different uses of water are interdependent. IWRM means that water allocations and management decisions consider the effects of each use on the other. The approach is grounded in the understanding that water resources are an integral component of the ecosystem, a natural resource, and a social and economic good.
Representatives from more than fifty (50) regional and national agencies in water and wastewater management are scheduled to attend the Session. Download Press Release here.
Credit: Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)