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A Challenge for the Caribbean: Nature and Tourism

Excerpt taken from the Inter-American Development Bank’s publication:

Integration & Trade Journal: Volume 21: No. 41: March, 2017

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, (CCCCC)

One of the greatest injustices of pollution is that its consequences are not limited to those who produce it. The Caribbean is one of the least polluting regions in the world but it is also one of the most exposed to global warming due to the importance of the tourism sector within its economy.

Carlos Fuller, an expert from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, explains the consequences of the region’s dependence on petroleum and analyzes the potential of public policy for supporting renewable energy.

How is climate change impacting the Caribbean?

The Caribbean’s greenhouse gas emissions are very small because we have a small population, we are not very industrialized, and we don’t do a lot of agriculture, so we don’t emit a lot. However, mitigation is important for us because of the high cost of fuel and energy. Most of our islands depend on petroleum as a source of energy, and when oil prices were above US$100 per barrel, we were spending more than 60% of our foreign exchange on importing petroleum products into the Caribbean. In that respect, we really want to transition to renewable energy sources as we have considerable amounts of solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy potential.

Has climate change started to affect tourism?

It has. Climate change is severely impacting our natural attractions, our tourist attractions. For example, we have a significant amount of erosion because of sea level rise, wave action, and storm surges, which is causing tremendous erosion and affecting our beaches. Our coral reefs, which are a big attraction, are also suffering a lot of bleaching which is impacting our fish stock. Those resources are being affected significantly. We do have significant protected areas; however, we need more resources to enforce the protection of these.

What role do public policies play in developing renewable energy?

In some countries, [we’re] doing reasonably well on this front. In Belize, for example, we now have independent coal producers and we have transitioned to an increased use of hydro, solar, and biomass, so more than 50% of our domestic electricity supply is from renewable energy sources. However, on many of the islands, we need to create an enabling environment to allow renewable energy to penetrate the market. We are going to need a lot of assistance from the international community to put in the regulatory framework that will allow us to develop renewable energy in these places. We then need to attract potential investors to provide sources of renewable energy in the region. Of course, the Caribbean’s tourism is an important sector of the economy, which is one of the reasons we need to protect our reserves and natural parks. We are also trying to make our buildings more resilient to the effects of extreme weather. That is the focus of our work.

How does the Green Climate Fund work? 

The Green Climate Fund is headquartered in South Korea and it has an independent board of management. However, various agencies can be accredited to access the fund directly. We have already applied for a project to preserve the barrier reef and another to promote biomass use in the Caribbean. So, we have two projects in the pipeline through the Green Climate Fund which are valued at around US$20 million.

Do you think that the Paris and Marrakesh summits brought concrete results for the region?

We were very pleased with the outcome in Paris. The objectives that the Caribbean Community wanted were achieved: the limit for warming was set at 2°C; adaptation was considered along with mitigation; finance, technology transfer, and capacity building were included; and a compliance system was put in place. All the things that we wanted out of Paris, we achieved, and so we are very happy with that.

Peruse the complete Integration & Trade Journal: Volume 21

ACS and CCCCC discuss collaboration

(L-R) Keith Nichols, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC; Alexander Girvan, Caribbean Sea Commission Coordinator; Tricia Barrow, Political Advisor; Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC; Dr. June Soomer, Secretary General, ACS; Dr. Donneil Cain, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC; Vincent Peter, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC; Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, CCCCC.

Belmopan, BELIZE: May 31, 2017 – Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and Dr. June Soomer, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) discussed collaborations on a range of issues when they met at the Centre’s office here on Monday, May 29, 2017.

Dr. Soomer, and her team paid a courtesy call on Dr. Leslie and his team, and took the opportunity to discuss areas of future cooperation and dialogue. In reviewing the scope of work and responsibilities of both organisations, both Drs. Leslie and Soomer agreed that the region could benefit if both organisations coordinate for the advancement of areas such as eco-systems based management, the development of scientific tools and data to aid climate change adaptation measures and on programmes that would help regional leaders to make more informed decisions.

Dr Soomer pointed to the organisation’s recent signing of a US$4 million grant from South Korea to assess and control the impact of coastal erosion and sea level rise in some member states. The grant is being used to do work in countries like Jamaica where CCCCC is also doing coastal protection work with KfW, the German Development Bank.

Other areas identified for parallel coordination efforts include fisheries, communication, disaster risk response and climate financing.  Pointing to the Centre’s recent accreditation by the Greed Climate Fund (GCF), Dr. Leslie said:

“The Centre along with the Caribbean Development Bank are now able to access financing to help the countries of the region prepare for the effects of climate change”.

The Centres’ work, Dr. Soomer told the meeting, aligns itself to the ACS’ goal to take the achievements of the region to the rest of the world. Caribbean also has a lot to teach the world, she said, noting that in the case of small organisations like the CCCCC and ACS, “pooling the resources, can do a lot for the region”.

Dr. June Soomer, Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States and her team meeting with Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

Dr Soomer’s team also included Ms. Tricia Barrow, Political Advisor and Alexander Girvan, the Caribbean Sea Commission Coordinator.  Dr.’s Leslie’s team included Mr. Keith Kichols, Dr. Donneil Cain, Mr Vincent Peter, project development specialists, and Mr. Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer.

The ACS is a grouping of countries of the sharing the Caribbean Sea. The organization provides a framework for cooperation and dialogue to further the economic integration, intra-regional trade and investments to improve competitiveness of its membership.

CCCCC Supports Jamaica in Climate Change Dialogue

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz (centre), displays a signed copy of the Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change during a seminar at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St Andrew on April 11. Others sharing the moment (from left) are Deputy Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Elsie Laurence Chounoune; and Principal Director, Climate Change Division, Una-May Gordon. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at the Climate Change Summit in Paris in December 2015, signals the commitment of the international community to combat climate change and its wide-ranging effects. (Photo: JIS)

The Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation of Jamaica is undertaking a public outreach entitled “Uncut Conversations on Climate Change: Dialogue for the Future” at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica from 11 to 13 April 2017. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has been invited to participate in the event. Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, was the lead conversationalist on the opening day on the theme “Come on People, COP is the Conference of the Parties”. He explained the international climate change negotiation process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Executive Director of the CCCCC, Dr Kenrick Leslie, will participate on Day 2 of the event as the lead conversationalist for “What did Small Island Developing States Give Up or Gain by Signing and Ratifying the Paris Agreement”.

In his opening address, the Honourable Daryl Vaz announced that the Government of Jamaica had ratified the Paris Agreement. This was greeted with applause by the audience which consisted on students and representatives of the media, government agencies, the private sector and the NGO community. Among the subjects being covered in the Conversations are: the Paris Agreement, adaption, mitigation, capacity building, finance, and technology.

Minister Vaz urged everyone to become advocates for ‘Mother Earth’ and work hard to preserve and protect her for the next generation. He urged Jamaicans to take proactive steps such as practising proper disposal of garbage, carpooling to reduce the carbon footprint, and conserving and recycling water, as well as incorporating climate-smart agriculture, to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“In all we do, we need to enable and empower the poorest and most vulnerable among us, including our women and children, to adapt to and cope with some of the intense and often devastating weather conditions associated with climate change,” he said.

The private sector and the NGO community also lead conversations. The event will culminate with the measures Jamaica is undertaking to respond to climate change.

The National Water Commission, Forestry Department, National Environment and Planning Agency, Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism, Meteorological Services Division, Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Climate Change Division mounted exhibits at the event.

CCCCC Participates in an Energy of Nature vs Nature of Energy Conference

Photo Courtesy of: WWF

Photo Courtesy of: WWF

 

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre delivered a presentation on Belize and the International Response to Climate Change at the Second Part of the Energy of nature vs the Nature of Energy Conference Series which was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City, Belize on 27 July 2016. Fuller’s presentation focused on Belize’s vulnerability to climate change, the international response to climate change and Belize’s contribution to the Paris Agreement. Carolyn-Trench Sandiford spoke about the importance of planning to adapt to climate change. Roberto Pott delivered a presentation on the impacts of climate change on Belize’s coastal and marine resources while Ansel Dubon spoke about Belize’s efforts to transition to renewable energy. The guest speaker was Dr. Patricia Majluf, Vice President of Oceana Peru, who provided reflections on the impacts of climate change on Peru’s fishing industry.

Photo Courtesy of: WWF

Photo Courtesy of: WWF

The conference was opened by the Honourable Omar Figueroa, the Minister of Sate in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development in Belize. The conference was organized by Oceana Belize and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

CARICOM Negotiators Playing Major Role in Bonn Climate Change Talks

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer (CCCCC) and Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Photo courtesy Ann Gordon

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer (CCCCC) and Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Photo courtesy of Ann Gordon

Countries are now in their second week of negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) presently taking place in Bonn, Germany. Draft conclusions have already been adopted for some items under two of the subsidiary bodies of the Convention, the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Under the SBSTA, countries concluded their consideration under the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) on adaptation, the Technology framework, metrics to calculate the carbon dioxide equivalence of greenhouse gases, emissions from international aviation and shipping, the training programme for review experts, forests in exhaustion, market and non-market mechanisms under the Convention and the Paris Agreement, modalities for accounting of financial resources mobilized for climate change, and the next review of the long term goal until 2018.

CARICOM negotiators are facilitating the consultations on several of the agenda items under the SBI and SBSTA. They include: Ann Gordon of Belize on Research and Systematic Observations, Hugh Sealy of Grenada market and non-market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, Gerald Lindo of Jamaica on joint implementation, Kishan Kumarsingh of Trinidad and Tobago on Technology, Crispin d’Auvergne of Saint Lucia on capacity building, and Leon Charles of Grenada on the long term review of the global goal. Carlos Fuller, the Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, is the Chair of the SBSTA.

Pre-sessional Meetings Being Held Prior to Bonn Climate Change Talks

Bonn Climate Change Conference  Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

Bonn Climate Change Conference
Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

 

Major groups of countries are engaged in preparatory talks among themselves prior to the opening of the Meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Monday, May 16. These groups include the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Group of 77 (G77) and China. The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are Members of these two groups. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre is being represented at the meetings by Carlos Fuller, the International and Regional Liaison Officer who is the Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Mr. Fuller has met with several of the negotiating groups over the past three days to advise them on how he proposes to conduct the SBSTA session. These include the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the African Group, AOSIS, and the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs). He also met with the Chairman of the G77. On Saturday, May 14th, he met with Members of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) and the Arab States. The pre-sessional meetings will continued on Sunday.

CCCCC Represented at Bonn Climate Change Talks

Bonn Climate Change Conference Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

Bonn Climate Change Conference
Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

 

Mr Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer, is representing the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) at the meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Bonn, Germany from 16 to 26 May 2016.

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer (CCCCC)

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer (CCCCC)

 

Mr. Fuller was elected as the Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) held in Paris, France this past December. He will hold the post for one year. The other two subsidiary bodies which will be meeting in Bonn are the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA). On Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 Mr. Fuller met with the delegations representing the Least Developed Countries (LDC) to brief them on how he proposed to conduct the work of the SBSTA at the session. He will provide similar briefings to the other negotiating groups on Friday, Saturday and Sunday prior to the opening of the negotiating sessions on Monday.

 

Longstanding CARICOM Negotiator on Climate Change Reflects on the UNFCCC’s 20th Anniversary

Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller

Today, Friday, 21 March 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As we celebrate the landmark Convention and the investment in its implementation over the last two decades, Caribbean Climate, the region’s premier climate change focused blog, asked Carlos Fuller, a long-standing Caribbean negotiator who now functions as the International and Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, to reflect on this milestone. His comments are featured below.

Having been involved in the climate change negotiation process since its inception, I look back at the past 20 years with mixed emotions. I have witnessed first-hand the assimilation of vague ideas on the elements of a climate change agreement which were crafted into a Convention with perhaps too rigid elements that have hindered the actions required to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases instead of facilitating a process which would have produced the change in productive and consumption patterns to address the causes of climate change. Nevertheless, a series of decisions including the development and adoption of the Kyoto Protocol provided the impetus for a small group of countries to reduce their emissions and have raised the awareness among a significant segment of the population that the world must take action to cope with a changing climate.

The Caribbean has certainly benefited from the process. All CARICOM States are now aware of the threat climate change poses to the region. Institutional processes have been established in the region in response to the threat including the establishment of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre which is mandated to coordinate the region’s response to climate change, the development of a Master of Science programme in climate change in CEREMES at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies and the creation of the Climate Change Impacts Group at the Moina Campus of UWI among others. The region has attracted over US$100 million in funding to enhance its capacity to address climate change, to assess the impacts of climate change on the region, to asses the region’s vulnerability and to undertake action to reduce that vulnerability. Unfortunately, the region has emulated the example of the international community and has not undertaken the transformational changes that will make the region resilient to climate change.

The region and the international community have another chance to get it right. The global community has embarked on a process to develop a new climate change agreement which should be finalized in Paris in December 2015 and which will come into effect in 2020. That agreement must stimulate all countries to contribute to an international effort to drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and provide the financial and technical support to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The next two years  will be especially crucial as the international community seeks to craft a global agreement that involves all actors (developed, developing, LDC’s etc.) in a massive effort to keep global temperature increase below the 2 deg. C mark and for the capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund at a level that ensures adequate resources are available to allow significant implementation of Adaptation measures in CARICOM and other developing countries.

5Cs Participates in First Meeting of the GFCS Africa/ACP Task Team

Carlos Meeting

Carlos Fuller (2nd Left) at the First Meeting of the GFCS Africa/ACP Task Team

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre participated in the recently concluded (December 2-4, 2013) First Meeting of the GFCS Africa/ACP Task Team at the EUMETSAT Headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

The meeting contemplated the way forward for implementation of the Addis Ababa Declaration in Support of the Implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) in Africa, and possibly in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Participants at the meeting included representatives of the Regional Economic Communities, Regional Climate Centres, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat, the European Community, the World Meteorological Organization and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). The participants, including Carlos Fuller, the Centre’s International and Regional Liaison Officer, explained the activities in their regions related to the preparation and delivery of climate services.

Outcomes:
  • A project concept note on an inter-regional GFCS for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific will be prepared and be ready for submission to the European Union for funding under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

The project is expected to strengthen the capacity of regional and national agencies in the preparation and delivery of climate services to their Member States.

  • The Terms of the Reference of the Task Team was finalized and adopted.

The next meeting would be held in the second quarter of 2014.

Regional Workshop on Climate Change Impacts in Mountainous Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean

Credit: Google

Credit: Google

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre delivered a presentation on the Caribbean’s regional approach to address the issues of climate change, highlighting the Centre’s initiative in Dominica’s Morne Diablotin National Park and Morne Trois Pitons National Park World Heritage Site at the Regional Workshop on Climate Change Impacts in Mountainous Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The workshop was held in San Jose, Costa Rica August 21 to 23. It was the second in a series of three regional workshops being organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The first workshop was held earlier this year in Nepal for the Asia region. The third will be held next month in Nairobi, Kenya for the African region. A synthesis workshop will be convened in Paris in January 2014.

The workshops are a part of UNESCO’s Programme on Climate Change in Mountainous Regions and are providing inputs into a Global Overview Paper commissioned by UNESCO as well as a Policy Brief to be drafted for policy advisors and decision makers. The main purposes of the documents are to:

  • Define mountain resources  in the context of ecosystem services
  • Define key regional differences and similarities
  • Review potential climate change threats to mountain ecosystems, particularly water resources
  • Examine adaptation strategies utilizing ecosystem services.

Ms Shermaine Clauzel of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) also did a presentation, which looked at “Protecting and Valuing Watershed Services and Developing Management Initiatives in the Ford D’Or Watershed Area of Saint Lucia”. Ms Judy Clarke of CaribSave was the other Caribbean participant at the workshop, which drew representation from international and regional agencies from North, Central and South America. The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Alliance for Mountains and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also assisted in the organization of the workshop.

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