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Climate-health security in the Caribbean: an analysis

With a diverse topography and vulnerability to natural and human-made shocks, Editor John Kirton discusses how the Caribbean is exploring options to establish climate-health security with Dr C James Hospedales

Dr C JamesHospedales, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). Photo Credit: St. Lucia News Online

Q - How do the Caribbean’s distinctive features make it vulnerable to climate change?

A – With 30 diverse countries and territories and more than 40 million people, the Caribbean comprises most of the world’s small island developing states (SIDS), places of extraordinary beauty and vulnerability to natural and human-made shocks, none more so than climate change. With more than 50 million arrivals per year, by air and cruise, it is the most tourism-dependent region in the world. But the industry is vulnerable to damage by climate change. The Caribbean oceanic basin is trapping warming and increasingly acidic waters, with unprecedented coral reef bleaching and die-offs and impacts on food and economic security. It is experiencing increasingly intense and frequent extreme weather events. Floods from heavy rainfall combined with rising sea levels create immediate emergency health relief needs, damage health centres and hospitals, and increase the risk of epidemics. Climate-sensitive disease vectors such as Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry dengue and Zika. As temperatures rise, they are increasing in density and their ability to spread disease. Zika shows the intergenerational and cross-border costs this can bring: there is now local transmission of the virus in southern Florida. The Caribbean’s largely middle-income countries are ineligible for many of the development and climate change control funding available only to low-income countries. Yet their capacity to respond is low because of their very small size.

Q - How have these vulnerabilities inspired the Caribbean to pioneer solutions?

A – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) was established in 2005. The Pan American Health Organization’s ‘SMART Hospitals’ programme to build resilience to the effects of climate change is a good contribution. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) recently launched the Expert Panel on Climate and Health with Tulane University to analyse, control and prevent the impact on human health and the environment. The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) was created in 2007 to help countries manage the economic risks of increasingly frequent hurricanes. Its work was endorsed by the G7 leaders at their summit in 2015. Discussions are under way to expand the coverage to include associated health effects of extreme weather events. Greening the CARPHA campus is another initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy costs.

Q - What more could the Caribbean do?

A The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association could work with regional institutions to rank how tourism facilities perform on integrated environmental and health standards. Cities of the Caribbean could be encouraged to join the C40 and ask it to address health effects and economic impacts in a broader and more integrated way. The Expert Panel calls for promoting alternative transport such as biking and walking, with links to the tourism industry, with triple bottom line returns. The Caribbean could create an integrated annual state-of-the environment-and-health report. This need for a joined-up set of information is a key recommendation of the Caribbean Development Bank on water as a strategic regional resource. Caribbean institutions could work more closely with the International Seabed Authority and UN Environment’s Caribbean Office – both headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica – to increase bidirectional learning about the health effects of climate change.

Q - How can the G7 leaders at their Taormina Summit best help?

A – G7 leaders could recognise the unique shared interests of the G7 and the G20 in the Caribbean – given the region’s location between North and South America, closely connecting independent countries with territories dependent on the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and parts of France through travel and trade. They could work with the region’s institutions to implement a G7/G20- CARICOM project to address health, climate and the environment in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. They could recognise the Caribbean’s contributions beyond the CCRIF, and create a global risk insurance facility based on a more comprehensive and integrated concept of climate-associated risks that incorporate their many health effects. They could invite Caribbean leaders to attend the next G7 summit, in Canada in 2018, as was done for Jamaica and Haiti when Canada last hosted in 2010. They could institutionalise a regular dialogue between the G7 and Caribbean institutions responsible for health and climate change, starting with regular preand post-summit briefings. They could create an emergency response and surge capacity fund that can be drawn on by regional institutions such as CARPHA to address the health effects of climate change.

Peruse the complete G7 publication here.

Caribbean environmental experts explore climate change and public health responses

Flooding in Cuba *Photo credits: IPS News

Flooding in Cuba *Photo credits: IPS News

The Caribbean, mainly comprised of small island nations, is the world’s most tourist-dependent region, and one of the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.

Within recent times, the Region has experienced more frequent and severe storms and hurricanes, increases in mosquito-borne diseases, rises in sea level, prolonged periods of drought and salt water intrusion of coastal groundwater sources, which pose a significant threat to human health.

Recognizing the critical need to be more climate change resilient, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), UNEP-Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP CAR-RCU), and the Government of Saint Lucia, will host a Conference to address issues related to climate change and health.

Dr.-James-Hospedales-1024x682

CARPHA Executive Director Dr. James Hospedales said that because Climate Change threatens traditional public health infrastructure, the focus will be on environmental health services.

Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales explained that “climate change threatens traditional public health infrastructure. It will stress environmental health services, such as efforts to respond to severe weather events and disease outbreaks, provide assurance of drinking water safety, and implement vector control measures.

At the same time measures like alternative transport such as biking and walking and rapid mass transport can improve population health, mitigate climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and reduce the import bill for oil.”  He added that the Conference “will bring together government representatives, and regional and international organizations to address issues of public health, environment and socio-economic well-being.”

The meeting, which will be held at the Golden Palm Conference Centre in Saint Lucia, runs from November 18 – 20 November, 2015, and will serve as a platform for information-sharing, and also as a “think tank” for developing innovative, Caribbean-specific solutions to our environmental health and sustainable development challenges.

Agenda items include discussions on preparations for Zika Virus and recent experiences with Chikungunya; food and water security; achievements of the Caribbean Cooperation for Health III; and a Caribbean Environmental Health Officers and Partners Planning Session.

Credit: St. Lucia News Online

Caribbean Water Ministers Will Address Water and Climate Issues to Help Shape the Development Agenda

In September, the United Nations will finalise a Post-2015 Development Agenda known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire at the end of the year and will be “the global community’s plan of action” for all dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) for the next fifteen (15) years.

On the heels of establishing this new universal Agenda; Caribbean Ministers with responsibility for water resources management from more than ten (10) countries, will meet on August 27th and 28th, 2015 at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Florida to discuss critical regional water and climate issues. Both water and climate change are reflected as priorities in the soon to be confirmed SDGs, with Goal 6 being: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and Goal 13 being: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”

This Ministerial Meeting is the 11th Annual High Level Forum (HLF) which is being organised by the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) and the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility – funded Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW) Project. The 11th HLF which takes place under the theme “Connecting Water to Climate, Economic Growth and Development within the Post-2015 Development Agenda” forms part of the CWWA’s 24th Annual Conference and Exhibition which is being held in partnership with the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

The 11th HLF takes place at an appropriate time to allow for discussion and collaboration on water and climate matters to help shape the sustainable development agenda of the region. This year’s Forum is forward-looking with a goal of producing concrete outcomes and harmonised recommendations to guide national and regional efforts in operationalising water, wastewater and climate goals and targets for sustainable development. Some outcomes of the Forum are likely to feed into the contribution to be made by Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December to play a pivotal part of global processes for advancing sustainable development.

According to Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General of Human and Social Development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), who will be a keynote speaker at the 11th HLF “Climate change will continue to have serious implications for water resources in the region,” linking the two critical issues. He has also stated that partnership remains one of the means of implementation needed to achieve sustainable water development goals. In addition to CARICOM and the Caribbean Ministers with responsibility for water and their senior government officials, representatives from regional and international agencies such as the United Nations Environment Programme Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP), the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association Inc. (CAWASA), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Pan America Health Organisation (PAHO), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are expected to attend. Professor John Agard who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, will moderate a Ministerial panel discussion at the Forum.

 Credit: WINN FM 98.9

Regional environment group wants Caribbean to benefit from global funds

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.

Also see 5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting
Credit: CMC

5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting: Expanded partnerships with CARPHA, Deeper Private Sector Partnerships, New Member and Heightened Outreach Announced

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

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.

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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.

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Caribbean and International Water and Funding Agencies Meet on a New Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment Initiative

Over thirty (30) representatives from key regional and international water and finance institutions will meet in Barbados on April 9th and 10th, 2015 to help steer a new Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment initiative spearheaded by the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) under its Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) executed in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

The two-day Consultation will provide the stakeholders with a thorough overview of the new initiative which includes the development of a Regional Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan (CReWSIP). This plan is aimed at providing a coordinated and programmatic approach to identifying, prioritising and sourcing finance for the work of regional agencies in enhancing the climate resilience of the Caribbean water sector.

The upcoming Stakeholder Consultation is a crucial step in the process to ensure that the CReWSIP responds to regional needs and will help regional institutions deliver their respective roles and mandates as they relate to water security. It provides the opportunity for regional institutions to elaborate on how the Investment Plan can support their work and to guide the process in the right direction. Additionally, it will allow development partners to define how CReWSIP could be used as a vehicle to channel resources into regional water security issues.

According to Dr. Natalie Boodram, Programme Manager of the GWP-C WACDEP, “Collaboration and coordination between regional stakeholders is essential for the Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan to deliver benefits on the ground.”

The Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment Initiative is being funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and while GWP-C and the CCCCC are coordinating the development of the CCReWSIP, the resulting programmes and projects are anticipated to be implemented through regional institutions, with the support of development partners.

Some of the organisations that will be represented at the upcoming Meeting in Barbados include: the GWP-C, the CCCCC, the CDKN, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Union (EU), the Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and other agencies.Download media release here.

Credit: Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)

5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

5Cs Concludes Annual Board of Governors Meeting:

Expanded partnerships with CARPHA and CDB, new facility and enhanced institutional capacity announced

Belmopan, Belize July 26, 2014― The Board of Governors of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre concluded its annual meeting (July 24 -26) in Belize City today.  Among the key decisions taken, the Centre has been charged to deepen a range of partnerships, including the expansion of its collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA, which includes the former CEHI ), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and other agencies. The Board also approved plans for institutional strengthening, including pursuing a not-for-profit status to enable greater resource mobilization to address climate variability and change; entering bilateral discussions for the establishment of a new multi-purpose facility, strengthening coordination among regional negotiators and revising the management mechanism for an independent Trust Fund.

Following a special presentation to the Board of Governors by Dr. C.J Hospedales, CARPHA’s Executive Director, the Centre committed to deepen collaboration with the region’s premier health agency. The two entities are expected to collaborate immediately after the Board of Governors Meeting to develop joint proposals aimed at reducing the region’s vulnerability and  building  resilience to the likely effects of climate change. Further, the Board noted that the Centre has been working with CARPHA to broaden the regional  focus on climate change and health, as a vital element of the Caribbean’s sustainable development thrust.

The Board notes that  Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are essential to advance the Centre’s multi-pronged approach to building climate resilience in the region. Citing the success of the Centre’s PPP oriented pilot projects, including  the installation of  reverse osmosis desalination facilities  in Bequia, Petit Martinique and Cariacou to improve access to potable water, which is being replicated across the region and resulting in increased demand for the Centre’s services, Chairman of the Board, Dr. Leonard Nurse says the Centre will pursue a similar approach for the continued rollout of the  Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL). CCORAL, which was launched by the Centre in July 2013, is an online support tool developed to support climate resilient decision-making processes across sectors in the Caribbean by embedding a risk ethic, has been endorsed by regional and international partners – including the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. The Centre will therefore work with the CDB, its longstanding partner and a permanent member of the 11 member Board of Governors, to mobilise private sector support for the tool.

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. Accordingly, the Centre will implement a €12.8 million project later this year 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.

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, an internal auditor for the Centre and increased focus on data and plant security.

Dr. 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 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.

To meet the emerging challenges and demonstrate its commitment towards a low carbon development pathway, the Board also approved plans to pursue the construction of its own facilities to carry out is operations. The Centre is currently housed in rented facilities provided by the Government of  Belize. The Government of Belize has already 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.

_______________________________________________________________________

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.

It’s Caribbean Public Health Day!

CARPHA

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has declared today July 2nd, Caribbean Public Health Day.

Watch the Caribbean Public Health Day message from the Executive Director, CARPHA, Dr. C. James Hospedales.

The celebration of Caribbean Public Health Day on July 2 coincides with the anniversary of the legal establishment of CARPHA, which makes it an opportune time to highlight the work of the Agency, sensitize Caribbean people about the importance of public health and the contribution it can make to the socio-economic development of the Region.  For this reason, CARPHA has decided to mark July 2nd, with effect from this year, Caribbean Public Health Day.

We encourage you to listen to the Message and also to share it with persons in your networks as we celebrate the inaugural Caribbean Public Health Day!

Caribbean countries led the world to the historic UN High Level meeting in New York in 2011 resulting in a Declaration to prevent and control NCDs.  It is expected that this leadership will again be shown at the Meeting to address the global threat of NCDs from July 10 -11, 2014.

PUBLIC HEALTH DAY MESSAGE OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CARPHA, DR. C. JAMES HOSPEDALES 

“ADD LIFE TO YOUR LIFE” ON CARIBBEAN PUBLIC HEALTH DAY  
Follow CARPHA at #addLife
Like CARPHA on Facebook
Message: Text

Good day.

As Executive Director of the newest international public health agency of the 21st century – CARPHA – the importance of public health is succinctly summed up in the words of our slogan – Preventing disease, promoting and protecting health.  Indeed, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA, is committed to promoting a healthier, more productive Caribbean population in cleaner and greener environments. The work of CARPHA advances the public health of the Region in several ways, including monitoring health and disease spread and responding to emergencies, laboratory services, nutrition and food security, health research, environmental health and pharmaceutical quality.

However, within recent times, the scourge of non-communicable diseases, also known as NCDs, such as obesity, stroke, cancers, heart disease and diabetes, along with risks such as tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, and poor diet and physical inactivity, has presented a clear and present danger to our health and economies, right here in the Region.

The sobering reality is, that NCDs are now the leading cause of premature deaths, accounting for nearly half the deaths of persons under 70 years, and two out of three deaths overall in the Caribbean.

In addition, this Region has one of the highest rates of obesity in children and adults in the world.

Recent studies throughout the Caribbean show over 25 per cent of adolescents as being overweight or obese.  This is mainly due to poor diets and lack of physical activity, driven by profound changes in the way we live and play, with massive marketing of foods high in sugar, fats and salt; as well as several hours per day spent watching TV and playing video games.

In fact, the vast majority of the people do not get five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which protect against high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Despite the alarming nature of all this evidence, there is also a positive side to NCDs: most of them are caused by modifiable risk factors.  In other words, if we control the risk factors leading to NCDs, we can prevent some 80 per cent of all heart attacks, strokes and Type II diabetes, as well as 40 per cent of cancers.  This will greatly benefit the economy also.

The modifiable risk factors are mostly known to all of us.  They include tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol. Other intermediate risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and obesity.

To address this health scourge and to promote healthy living, CARPHA declares, today, July 2nd, Caribbean Public Health Day.

Please allow me to take the opportunity today, to publicly thank our public health nurses, environmental health officers, dieticians and nutritionists, health educators and other public health professionals who work tirelessly in the communities educating and assisting persons to adopt a healthy lifestyle, so that they can successfully reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases.

On this day, Caribbean Public Health Day, we urge you to Add Life to Your Life and reverse the NCD trend.  Start today, by making at least one lifestyle change.  Add life by:

  • Walking 30 minutes a day; it can halve your risk of heart attack
  • Reduce your salt intake to reduce your risk of hypertension
  • Eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day to reduce your risk of hypertension, heart disease and cancer
  • Don’t smoke to reduce your risk of cancer and wrinkles and save money
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption 
  • If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, stay on your medications to avoid complications like heart attacks, stroke, and kidney failure

Recognizing that “The Health of the Region is the Wealth of the Region”, CARPHA encourages you to join with us in demonstrating your firm commitment to improving the quality of your own life and that of our families, so we move towards more healthy people in healthy spaces, and reduce the preventable health costs to families, businesses and governments.

I thank you.

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