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Do you know your NDA? The CCCCC is GCF Ready

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The Green Climate Fund (GCF) aims to multiply current actions and responses to climate change while deploying unprecedented levels of funding to invest in low-emission and climate-resilient development in the battle to save our Earth.  The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) was accredited as a regional implementing entity by to this key multilateral financing mechanism to support climate action in developing countries on July 09, 2015.

 

The Executive Director of the CCCCC, Dr. Kenrick Leslie says “It speaks to the high calibre of work being done in the region and the strength of our internal systems. We will now move forward with a set of ambitious and bankable projects that we have been developing under a directive from CARICOM Heads”.

The first GCF “Readiness Week” was  held from April 25 to 29th, 2016 to assist direct access entities in developing their project ideas. The event brought together the centre and 12 other accredited direct access entities and 27 developing countries to share project concepts and project proposals with each other.  Caribbean Countries represented at the session included Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados and Guyana.

The CCCCC was represented by Sharon Lindo, International & Regional Policy Advisor and Dr. Mark Bynoe, Senior Economist and the Head of Project Development Management Unit.

Dr. Mark Bynoe, Senior Economist and Head of the Project Development and management Unit, CCCCC

Dr. Mark Bynoe, Senior Economist and Head of the Project Development and management Unit, CCCCC

According to Dr. Bynoe “The recent workshop demonstrates the Green Climate Fund’s aspirations to fulfill its fit-for-purpose mantra. The workshop clearly demonstrates that the institution and its Board have been listening to the issues raised by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and is seeking to address these through its Enhanced Direct Access approach. This is a step in the right direction and one should be applauded and encouraged.”

Sharon Lindo, International & Regional Policy Advisor, CCCCC

Sharon Lindo, International & Regional Policy Advisor, CCCCC

At the close of the session, GCF’s Executive Director Héla Cheikhrouhou reiterated to participants that “GCF’s role is to provide you with the necessary support so that you can lead transformative changes in your countries and regions…You are a trusted GCF partner, and the Fund can only be successful if you deliver on bringing about significant projects or programmes.”

Looking forward from the Sodongo Readiness session, GCF Regional Advisers will schedule calls with focal points to check on work programmes and also to organize group webinars to bring entities together for briefings on specific issues.

As the first regionally accredited organization, the CCCCC is now the interface and conduit for GCF funding to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean. Applications for GCF funding takes place in consultation with country focal points (NDAs) and the CCCCC. 

For further information on GCF Funding, please contact your National Designated Authority listed below or the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre at http://www.caribbeanclimate.bz/ .

Antigua and Barbuda  

Environment Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands
Housing and the Environment
Her Excellency Ambassador Diann Black‐Layne
Environment Division
Chief Environment Officer and Ambassador for Climate Change
Botanical Gardens, Factory
Rd., St. John’s, Antigua
Tel.: +1 268 464 6410
E‐mail: dcblack11@gmail.com

Bahamas

The Ministry of the Environment Housing
Ms. Camille Johnson
Permanent Secretary
P.O. Box N 4849, Nassau, N.P. The Bahamas
Tel.: +242 322 6005; +242 322 6006
E‐mail: kenreddorsett@bahamas.gov.bs
E‐mail: camillejohnson@bahamas.gov.bs

Barbados

Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs
Dr. Louis Woodroffe
Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs
Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados
Tel.: +1 246 310 1302
Fax: +1 246 425 1100
E‐mail: Louis.woodroffe@barbados.gov.bb

Belize

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development 
Her Excellency Sharman Yvonne Hyde 
Chief Executive Officer
Ground Floor, Right Wing,
Sir Edney Cain Building
Belmopan City, Cayo District, Belize, Central America 
Tel.: +501 822 2626; +501 822 2527; +501 822 1495
E‐mail: ceo@med.gov.bz

Dominica

Ministry of Finance
Mr. Samuel Carrette
Chief Development Planner
5th Floor, Financial Centre
Kennedy Avenue, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica 
Tel.: +1 767 266 3221; +1 767 266 3561
Fax: +1 767 448 0054
E‐mail: carrettes@dominica.gov.dm
E‐mail: finsecfinance@gominica.gov.dm

Grenada

Ministry of Economic Development, Planning, Trade,
Cooperatives and International Business 
Mr. Timothy Antoine 
Permanent Secretary
Financial Complex, Carenage, St. George’s, Grenada
Tel.: +1 473 440 2928; +1 473 440 2731; +1 473 440 2732
Fax: +1 473 440 4115
E‐mail: psfinancegrenada@gmail.com

Guyana

Ministry of the Presidency
His Excellency Mr. Joseph Harmon, M.P. 
Minister of State
Vlissengen Road, Bourda, Georgetown
Co‐operative Republic of Guyana 
Tel.: +592 225 0582
E‐mail: ministerofstategy@gmail.com
E‐mail: presidentialadvisorenvirongy@gmail.com

Haiti

Ministry of Environment
Mr. Moise Jean‐Pierre
# 11 Rue , Pacot, Port‐au‐Prince, Haiti
Tel.: +509 3701 2694
E‐mail: Moisejp8@hotmail.com

Jamaica

Ministry of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change
Mr. Albert Daley
Principal Director, Climate Change Division
16A Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 5, Jamaica
Tel.: +876 906 0724; +876 633 7351; +876 633 7354
E‐mail: Albert.daley@mwlecc.gov.jm

Saint Lucia

Ministry of Finance,
Economic Affairs and Social
Dr. Reginald Darius
Permanent Secretary
Castries, Saint Lucia
Tel.: +1 758 468 5503; +1 758 285 0200
Fax: +1 768 452 6700
E‐mail: reginald.darius@govt.lc

Saint Kitts and Nevis 

Department of Physical Planning and Environment 
Ms. June Hughes
Senior Environment Officer
Bladen Commercial Development 
Wellington Road
Basseterre, St. Kitts
Tel.: +1 869 465 2277
Fax: +1 869 465 5842
E‐mail: ccodoe@sisterisles.kn

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning 
Ms. Laura Anthony‐Browne
Director of Planning
Administrative Centre, Bay Street, Kingstown
Sait Vincent and the Grenadines 
Tel.: +1 784 457 1746
E‐mail: cenplan@vincysurf.com

Suriname

Ministry of Finance
His Excellency
Mr. Gillmore Hoefdraad
Minister
Tamarindelaan 3
Tel. (597) 472610
E‐mail: ghoefdraad@finance.gov.sr
E‐mail: secmin@finance.gov.sr

Caribbean RoundUp

Caribbean

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

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

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

The estimated timeframe for the project is five years.

Antigua

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barbados

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bahamas

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

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

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

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

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

Grenada

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

The workshop will take place in July 2016.

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

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

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

Jamaica

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

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

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

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

St. Kitts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. Vincent

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

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

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

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

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

Trinidad

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

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

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

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

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

Credit: Caribbean Life News

CARICOM Secretary General visits 5Cs

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


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

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

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

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

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

The first CARICOM Biogas Laboratory

CARICOM Biogas Laboratory

CARICOM Biogas Laboratory

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

In its efforts, the CCCCC has been granted the support within the GIZ – REETA program to introduce a mobile biogas Laboratory at the University of Belize (UB) for use within CARICOM Members states and also by the private sector. The vision of the project meant that the CCCCC would purchase a facility to convert biomass into biogas by using locally supplied feedstock, consisting mostly of easy to harvest biomass, manure and organic waste.IMG_7833

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

Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC

Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC

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

biogas produced by the laboratory inside plastic bag

biogas produced by the laboratory inside plastic bag

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

5Cs Wins Energy Globe Award for Renewable Energy and Potable Water Project in Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines

St.Vincent_and_theGrenadines_banner2015

SVG Certificate

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) received the 2015 Energy Globe Award for its renewable energy and potable water work in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Energy Globe, an internationally recognized trademark for sustainability, is one of the most important environmental prizes today with 177 participating countries. The award, which is made from a cross-section of over 1, 500 entries annually, is given in recognition of outstanding performance in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource conservation.

The CCCCC won the 2015 Energy Globe National Award for the project “Special Programme for Adaptation to Climate Change”. The project was executed on the island of Bequia in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and focuses on the production and provision of clean drinking water for more than 1,000 people. This is being done through the acquisition and installation of a reverse osmosis desalination plant. The project is deemed highly sustainable as the water input is inexhaustible sea water and the energy used is solar, a renewable, carbon-free source.

 Learn more about the project!

The landmark project was also presented by Energy Globe as part of a global online campaign (www.energyglobe.info) on World Environment Day. The campaign ran under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP and received significant recognition.

“To be honoured with this award is a great recognition of our work for a better environment and motivates us to continue our endeavours in the future,” – Henrik Personn, Renewable Energy Expert, CCCCC

Since completing this key project, we have applied the lessons learned in Belize and on the Grenadian islands of Petite Martinique and Carriacou. Review the poster below to learn more about the progress we are making in Grenada:

Credit: CCCCC

Do you have an excellent project? Submit it for the Energy Globe Award 2016. Review the details on www.energyglobe.info.

Belize Fights to Save a Crucial Barrier Reef

The humble CREWS buoy hosts several instruments designed to measure conditions above and below the water, and keep track of these developing threats. Credit: Aaron Humes/IPS

The humble CREWS buoy hosts several instruments designed to measure conditions above and below the water, and keep track of these developing threats. Credit: Aaron Humes/IPS

Home to the second longest barrier reef in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere, which provides jobs in fishing, tourism and other industries which feed the lifeblood of the economy, Belize has long been acutely aware of the need to protect its marine resources from both human and natural activities.

However, there has been a recent decline in the production and export of marine products including conch, lobster, and fish, even as tourism figures continue to increase.

“What happens on the land will eventually reach the sea, via our rivers.” — Dr. Kenrick Leslie

The decline is not helped by overfishing and the harvest of immature conch and lobster outside of the standard fishing season. But the primary reason for less conch and lobster in Belize’s waters, according to local experts, is excess ocean acidity which is making it difficult for popular crustacean species such as conch and lobster, which depend on their hard, spiny shells to survive, to grow and mature.

According to the executive director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), Dr. Kenrick Leslie, acidification is as important and as detrimental to the sustainability of the Barrier Reef and the ocean generally as warming of the atmosphere and other factors generally associated with climate change.

Carbon dioxide which is emitted in the atmosphere from greenhouse gases is absorbed into the ocean as carbonic acid, which interacts with the calcium present in the shells of conch and lobster to form calcium carbonate, dissolving those shells and reducing their numbers. Belize also faces continuous difficulties with coral bleaching, which has attacked several key sections of the reef in recent years.

Dr. Leslie told IPS that activities on Belize’s terrestrial land mass are also contributing to the problems under Belize’s waters. “What happens on the land will eventually reach the sea, via our rivers,” he noted.

To fight these new problems, there is need for more research and accurate, up to the minute data.

Last month, the European Union (EU), as part of its Global Climate Change Alliance Caribbean Support Project handed over to the government of Belize and specifically the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development for its continued usage a Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) buoy based at South Water Caye off the Stann Creek District in southern Belize.

Developed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it has been adopted by the CCCCC as a centrepiece of the effort to obtain reliable data as a basis for strategies for fighting climate change.

Dr. Leslie says the CREWS system represents a leap forward in research technology on climate change. The humble buoy hosts several instruments designed to measure conditions above and below the water, and keep track of these developing threats. The data collected on atmospheric and oceanic conditions such as oceanic turbidity, levels of carbon dioxide and other harmful elements and others are monitored from the Centre’s office in Belmopan and the data sent along to international scientists who can more concretely analyse it.

The South Water Caye CREWS station is one of two in Belize; the other is located at the University of Belize’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) on Calabash Caye in the Turneffe Atoll range. Other stations are located in Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, with more planned in other key areas.

According to the CEO of the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI), Vincent Gillet, this is an example of the kind of work that needs to be done to keep the coastal zone healthy and safeguard resources for Belize’s future generations.

A report released at the start of Coastal Awareness Week in Belize City urges greater awareness of the effects of climate change and the participation of the local managers of the coastal zone in a policy to combat those effects. Several recommendations were made, including empowering the Authority with more legislative heft, revising the land distribution policy and bringing more people into the discussion.

The report was the work of over 30 local and international scientists who contributed to and prepared it.

In receiving the CREWS equipment, the Ministry’s CEO, Dr. Adele Catzim-Sanchez, sought to remind that the problem of climate change is real and unless it is addressed, Belizeans may be contributing to their own demise.

The European Union’s Ambassador to Belize, Paola Amadei, reported that the Union may soon be able to offer even more help with the planned negotiations in Paris, France, in 2015 for a global initiative on climate change, with emphasis on smaller states. Belize already benefits from separate but concurrent projects, the latter of which aims to give Belize a sustainable development plan and specific strategy to address climate change.

In addition, Dr. Leslie is pushing for even more monitoring equipment, including current metres to study the effect of terrestrial activity such as mining and construction material gathering as well as deforestation on the sea, where the residue of such activities inevitably ends up.

Credit: IPS News Agency

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