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– In one of Belize’s forest reserves in the Maya Golden Landscape, a group of farmers is working with non-governmental organisations to mitigate and build resilience to climate change with a unique agroforestry project.
The Ya’axché Conservation Trust helps farmers to establish traditional tree crops, like the cacao, that would provide them with long-term income opportunities through restoring the forest, protecting the natural environment, while building their livelihoods and opportunities. Experts say the farmers are building resilience to climate change in the eight rural communities they represent.
The agroforestry concession is situated in the Maya Mountain Reserve and is one of two agroforestry projects undertaken by the 5Cs, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), in its efforts to implement adaptation and mitigation strategies in communities across the Caribbean.
Close to 6,000 people both directly and indirectly benefit from the project which Dr. Ulric Trotz, science advisor and deputy executive director of the 5Cs, noted was established with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UK DFID).
“It is easily one of our most successful and during my most recent visit this year, I’ve seen enough to believe that the concept can be successfully transferred to any community in Belize as well as to other parts of the Caribbean,” he told IPS.
The Trio Cacao Farmers Association and the Ya’axché Conservation Trust have been working together since 2015 to acquire and establish an agroforestry concession on 379 hectares of disturbed forest. The agroforestry project was given a much-need boost with USD250,000 in funding through the 5Cs.
According to Christina Garcia, Ya’axché’s executive director, the project provides extension services. It also provides training and public awareness to prepare the farmers on how to reduce deforestation, prevent degradation of their water supplies and reduce the occurrence of wildfires in the beneficiary communities and the concession area.
Since the start, more than 50,000 cacao trees have been planted on 67 hectares and many are already producing the white cacao, a traditional crop in this area. To supplement the farmers’ incomes approximately 41 hectares of ‘cash’ crops, including bananas, plantains, vegetable, corn and peppers, were also established along with grow-houses and composting heaps that would support the crops.
This unique project is on track to become one of the exemplary demonstrations of ecosystems-based adaptation in the region.
The 35 farming families here are native Maya. They live and work in an area that is part of what has been dubbed the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, which connects the forests of the Maya Mountains to that of the coastal lowlands and is managed by Ya’axché.
Farmers here believe they are reclaiming their traditional ways of life on the four hectares which they each have been allocated. Many say they’ve improved their incomes while restoring the disturbed forests, and are doing this through using techniques that are protecting and preserving the remaining forests, the wildlife and water.
Other members of the communities, including school-age teenagers, were given the opportunity to start their own businesses through the provision of training and hives to start bee-keeping projects. Many of the women now involved in bee-keeping were given one box when they started their businesses.
The men and women who work the concession do not use chemicals and can, therefore, market their crops as chemical free, or organic products. They, however, say they need additional help to seek and establish those lucrative markets. In addition to the no-chemicals rule, the plots are cultivated by hand, using traditional tools. But farmer Magnus Tut said that this is used in conjunction with new techniques, adding that it has improved native farming methods.
“We are going back to the old ways, which my father told me about before chemicals were introduced to make things grow faster. The hardest part is maintaining the plot. It is challenging and hard work but it is good work, and there are health benefits,” Tut told IPS.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) supports the farmers’ beliefs, reporting that up to 11 percent of greenhouse gases are caused by deforestation and “between 24 and 30 percent of total mitigation potential” can be provided by halting and reversing deforestation in the tropics.
“The hardest part of the work is getting some people to understand how/what they do impacts the climate, but each has their own story and they are experiencing the changes which make it easier for them to make the transition,” said Julio Chun, a farmer and the community liaison for the concession. He told IPS that in the past, the farmers frequently used fires to clear the land.
Chun explained that farmers are already seeing the return of wildlife, such as the jaguar, and are excited by the possibilities.
“We would like to develop eco-tourism and the value-added products that can support the industry. Some visitors are already coming for the organic products and the honey,” he said.
Ya’axché co-manages the Bladen Nature Reserve and the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve, a combined 311,607 hectares of public and privately owned forest. Its name, pronounced yash-cheh, is the Mopan Maya word for the Kapoc or Ceiba tree (scientific name: Ceiba pentandra), which is sacred to the Maya peoples.
Of the project’s future, Garcia said: “My wish is to see the project address the economic needs of the farmers, to get them to recognise the value of what they are doing in the concession and that the decision-makers can use the model as an example to make decisions on how forest reserves can be made available to communities across Belize and the region to balance nature and livelihoods.”
Scientists believe that well-managed ecosystems can help countries adapt to both current climate hazards and future climate change through the provision of ecosystem services, so the 5Cs has implemented a similar project in Saint Lucia under a 42-month project funded by the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EU-GCCA+) to promote sustainable farming practices.
The cacao-based agroforestry project in Saint Lucia uses a mix-plantation model where farmers are allowed to continue using chemicals, but were taught to protect the environment. Like the Ya’axché project, Saint Lucia’s was designed to improve environmental conditions in the beneficiary areas; enhance livelihoods and build the community’s resilience to climate change.
In the next chapter, the Ya’axché farmers project is hoping that, among other things, a good samaritan will help them to add facilities for value-added products; acquire eco-friendly all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to move produce to access points; and replace a wooden bridge that leads to the main access road.
Tut and Chun both support the views of the group’s chair Isabel Rash, that farmers are already living through climate change, but that the hard work in manually “clearing and maintaining their plots and in chemical-free food production, saves them money”, supports a healthy working and living environment and should protect them against the impacts of climate change.
Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency
The following is an address from Gary Allen, president of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), delivered at the opening ceremony of the CBU Annual General Assembly on Monday.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), the CBU’s Assembly will take place under the theme:“Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology and Content Options for Caribbean Media.”
This theme resonates in our land of wood and water; which is often hit by drought, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes.
The CBU expresses thanks to our partner, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), with whom we have designed sessions in which we hope you will participate tomorrow.
The catastrophic hurricane season of September 2017 was an unwelcomed reminder of our vulnerabilities. The public interest media who are members of our Union have always recognised and shouldered our responsibility to provide life-saving information to mitigate and assist with recovery from natural and other hazards which may result in disaster.
But little attention has been paid to the media’s own vulnerability to the added risks of climate change. And as we believe you will be convinced during tomorrow’s session, climate-proofing our media must be a priority for the region.
I submit to you that, in the absence of indigenous media – which we as broadcasters are, committed to our peoples’ interest, if we fail, the region will suffer serious consequences without us.
We only have to think back to the fact that leaders of their countries had to turn to us/broadcasters to speak to their people and keep them calm before and after catastrophic events.
When it was social to be making fun of people’s adversity and confusing populations in distress, with incredulous content pulled from elsewhere in the World and labelled as being from one of our Caribbean territories in distress, with the shoe on our foot, we knew it was not funny.
We only have to recall that it was the indigenous, the credible and the reliable public interest broadcasters that were relied upon to restore credibility.
That is why we at the CBU were pleased last year to work with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC in delivering broadcasting equipment to those affected in Anguilla, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos Islands in the wake of their hurricane impact – to restore reliable broadcasting.
Strengthen crucial institutions like CaribVision
Over the past year, the challenges of our industry have affected all of us who are dependent on declining broadcast and print advertising revenues. However, I must take time to note our ongoing concern for the challenges of CaribVision- the regional and Diaspora channel operated by our partially owned subsidiary company, the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
The channel continues to struggle, in spite of it having a strong contribution of regional content and being accessed in more than 30 territories in the region as well as in global Diaspora communities.
After a decade and a half of intensive efforts, it has not been able to find a viable and sustainable business model, largely we believe, because it has been treated as separate from the other regional integration institutions.
In spite of its reach and the value of the North American, the Diaspora and the regional tourism markets, Caribvision still does not get even the rounding errors in the tens of millions of US Tourism dollars spent by our governments, to woo prospective visitors to our region…choosing instead to spend heavily with foreign media, ONLY.
It is our view that together we have to strengthen our crucial institutions, if as a region we are to be stronger.
We take note that our leaders of the Caribbean Community have again recommitted themselves to a more progressive and deliberate integration movement.
We remind our leaders, represented here by none other than the current Chairman of CARICOM, PM Andrew Holness that the disconnect and the challenges between policy determination, implementation and acceptance, in the integration movement, often have to do with little or no consistent communication being in place and the lack of information on which one has a basis to make proper decisions.
CaribVision is the closest we have to a regional public service broadcaster and it deserves better support.
We daresay Prime Minister, that without a healthy, reliable and credible media environment in the region, there is insufficient information, on which our people need to base their decisions and understanding of regional business, education, disaster management, national security, justice and other imperatives for the region.
Chairman, you all know that we are at a time of tremendous change for our industry from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting. Some of our members have started the process while others are struggling to start.
This will certainly be a matter discussed again in our Assembly. We again call on our regulators and policy makers to collaborate where we can in the region and to take deliberate steps to ensure that indigenous broadcasters are allowed to transition in a manner that retains their viability and competitiveness – one that allows them to enter the full range of media and communications services that the new broadcast technologies allow. Traditional broadcasters must be allowed to be licensed to use digital formats that will make them players in the Internet, cable, telephony and television services.
While that is done, we appeal for the authorities to ensure that all countries in our region take steps for the prevention of analogue television waste material being dumped on our markets and that our people are sufficiently informed and educated about the various aspects of this significant set of changes.
If you permit me, Chairman, we must also draw attention to the concern we have had in Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago with draft legislation aimed at putting necessary laws in place for Data Protection.
We will deliberate upon some of these issues in our conference, but must make it clear that (we) will not yield our editorial independence; we will not reveal sources to any source and we will not accept a law that will fine or imprison publishers for not meeting Data Protection Laws that breach the fundamentals of a free media and the right of the people to hold authorities accountable.
Credit: The Gleaner
Governments across the region must use the media to disseminate information on climate change initiatives, according to Dr Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Adviser at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
He made the call during yesterday’s third day of the 49th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
“The media has been reporting basically the big events, the big hurricanes and the massive damage as a result of these,” said Trotz. “But they have not been privy to the information about how countries right across the region have been putting in place the institutional arrangements to address climate change, by building capacity and the interventions that have been made to address the problem.”
He told The Gleaner that while there have been plenty of talk in the media about climate change and its impact on regional states, there remained a plethora of additional things that the media could do to further spread the message.
NEW DIALOGUE NEEDED
Trotz noted that the climate change centre had done some work in the past with regional media, but bemoaned the lack of what he called “structured dialogue” on the matter that has been brought even more to the fore after the many recent weather events.
“A few years ago, we actually did something on climate change for the media, which basically was to get them familiar with the terminology. But we have had so many events in the region since, and a different argument is now needed to drive home the importance of the phenomena,” he argued.
“Apart from that, the media certainly has a very important role to play in getting people sensitised to what their vulnerability is, and why they need to do certain things that the government has asked them to do in safeguarding themselves in relation to this fact,” Trotz added.
He said that the earlier interface with the media had only been with reporters and not the owners, reasoning that policy in the boardroom belongs to a different set of players.
“Now, however, we are hoping that through the CBU we will be able to reach into the boardrooms of the media houses in the Caribbean and basically get a commitment for us to work together, as this is important,” said Trotz.
Meanwhile, Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid said that he was confident that there existed among the peoples of the region the will and the technical capacity to chant a new way forward in becoming climate-change resilient.
Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner
(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), University of Florida, and the government of St Lucia (Department of fisheries) formed an alliance to undertake a Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation Project.
According to Albert Jones, CCCCC Representative, “The project encompasses adaptation measures in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.”
The installation of a Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) Network took place in the Soufriere Marine Reserve on Monday, May 14th, 2018. The CREWS network will provide information to Caribbean scientists and researchers to monitor reef health, sea temperature changes, winds (speed and gusts), barometric pressure and much needed data.
“The CREWS Network will include five new countries in the Eastern Caribbean- Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Grenada” Jones further added.
The Department of fisheries is thankful for the initiative. Fisheries Extension Officer, Rita Straughn stated “The installation of the CREWS will help improve the monitoring of the various parameters which affect the coral reefs.”
With an increase in climate change, the CREWS network will be even more beneficial to the island with the impending start of the hurricane season as of June 1st.
Credit: St. Lucia News Online
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and representatives from the Governments of Italy and Saint Lucia held a series of meetings this week, to discuss the development of an early warning system (EWS) for the island.
The Project is being funded by the Government of Italy through its Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea. Using geographic information, the system is expected to forecast the potential effects of national disasters, provide flood mapping and other sector- relevant and necessary information to aid decision-making during events. As the primary stakeholder, the Government of Saint Lucia would be responsible for the operation and management of the system, thereby allowing the country to adequately prepare for major events and conduct comprehensive post-disaster assessments.
Speaking at the meeting Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development the Hon Dr. Gail Rigobert, emphasised the Government’s commitment to the initiative and reiterated the necessity of the system for development planning within the challenges presented by climate change.
Ms. Emmanuela Vignola represented the Ministry’s Director General, Francesco de la Camera. Representatives from the National Emergency Management Office, Meteorology Department, Water and Hydrology and the Ministry of Budget and Planning represented the Government of Saint Lucia. The Centre was represented by its Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Ms. Sharon Lindo, Policy Adviser and Mr. Albert Jones, Instrumentation Specialist.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) 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.
Belmopan, May 10, 2018 – A three-day National Capacity Building on Climate Change Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) workshop aimed at enhancing Belize’s ability to measure climate risks, ended today. It was held at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan.
The objectives of the workshop are intended to enhance Belize’s national capacity for climate change vulnerability assessments, identify and utilize relevant national, regional and international data resources, tools and models that will provide guidance and information for the VCA. Organisers hoped that the workshop would also help participants to get practical experience in conducting VCAs, identify realistic adaptation activities and actions to address the country’s vulnerabilities and support the national development processes, establish a national network and build communication linkages between practitioners and stakeholders to promote public awareness about climate variability and change, sustainable and economic development, and resilience.
The workshop was organsied by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) with funding from The National Climate Change Office (NCCO) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration (MAFFESDI) in collaboration with the Global Environmental Facility(GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Experts from the Cuban Meteorological Institute (INSMET Cuba) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) presented on concepts and tools used in developing vulnerability and adaptation assessments as well as the various aspects of the Vulnerability Capacity and Adaptation Measures process. Twenty technical experts from various ministries across the government of Belize participated in the various discussions and presented on their conclusions.
In his opening speech on May 8, 2018, Dr. Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer of Ministry of AFFESDI, noted: “In order to address and reduce vulnerabilities we face as a nation and develop appropriate adaptation strategies, these assessments need to be updated periodically. Therefore, it is critical that our national technical experts build their capacity.”
PRESS RELEASE – Belmopan, Belize; November 24, 2017 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC/5Cs) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration through the National Climate Change Office (NCCO) is hosting a national training on the Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) Portal and Climate Change Impacts Tools. This training workshop is being funded by the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) project. The training will be held over a period of 9 days; the first segment of the training is scheduled for the week of November 27th to December 1st, 2017, while the second segment will be held from January 15th to 18th, 2018 at the George Price Center, Belmopan City, Belize.
The Weather Generator (WG), the Tropical Storm Model / Simple Model for the Advection of Storms and Hurricanes (TSM/SMASH), the Caribbean Drought Assessment Tool (CARiDRO) and accompanying web portal and data sets are specific climate change impacts tools aimed at assisting in the generation of scientific information and analysis to help in making informed decisions along with policy formulation and implementation.
The tools are open source online resources to provide locally relevant and unbiased climate change information that is specific to the Caribbean and relevant to the region’s development. Case studies focused on areas such as drought, agriculture, water resources, coastal zone structures, health (dengue fever), and urban development and flooding were also done to test these tools and information related to these case studies will be shared during the Training along with many other interactive sessions. The integration of the tools into national policy agendas across the region is being spearheaded through regional and country workshops, which are crucial to ensuring effective decision-making and improving climate knowledge and action.
Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) Tools and Portal
- A weather generator has been developed and tested on present day meteorological station observations in the region and found to produce reasonable simulations of both average and extreme weather properties. This tool provides the basis for weather generator based downscaling, required to generate locally relevant bias corrected weather scenarios for impact studies.
- A new tropical storm model has been developed to provide spatial 15-minute scenarios of rainfall and wind speed over Caribbean islands under various scenarios of track, category, movement speed and historic notable storm. Managers may consider such scenarios as part of hazard management. Case study results suggest that hurricane speed, an under-reported metric, is actually of key importance, and that near-misses may be more hazardous than previously supposed.
- The CARiDRO tool has been developed to assist the evaluation of meteorological and hydrological drought for the Caribbean and Central American regions, for both present day and future climate projections. This tool greatly simplifies standard but complex analyses and automatically generates a number of graphical outputs (e.g. time series plots and maps). This tool will support the agriculture and water resource sectors in their assessment and adaptation to drought hazard. A case study verified the CARiDRO tool identification of a region-wide historic drought, and found that future projections indicated increasing regional drought frequency.
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.
The Ministry of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities announces the hosting of Belize’s Energy Week 2017 during the week of November 19 -25 under the observance of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)’s Energy Month 2017. The Energy Unit within the Ministry of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities is hosting its 2017 Energy Awareness Fair today, November 23, at the Best Western Biltmore Plaza from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has been invited to participate in the Energy Awareness Fair being celebrated under the theme “RE-Thinking Energy: Shaping a Resilient Community“.
Belize’s Energy Awareness Fair aims to foster stakeholder engagement and the exchange of ideas for appropriate energy related issues in Belize and sensitize the public about Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and access to clean and alternative modern forms of energy.
The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) has embarked on a new initiative under its Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) called “Climate-Proofing Water Investment in the Caribbean” which is being executed in partnership with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
The initiative includes the development of a Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Framework and Financing Plan (CReWSIP) which aims to provide a coordinated and programmatic approach to identifying, prioritising and sourcing finance for actions to enhance the climate resilience of the Caribbean through improved water resources management. The project is being funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and falls within one of the key components of the GWP-C WACDEP which recognises the need to prioritise water investments which perform well under a full range of climate scenarios. Get more details on the initiative by downloading a Stakeholder Briefing Note here.
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