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In March this year, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) began installation of five new data buoys to expand the Caribbean Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) Network to enhance the regions ability to monitor and study the effects of warming seas.
The installation is being carried out in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and with the assistance of the governments of
the recipient countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The purchase and installation of the buoys were funded under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Climate Change Adaptation Program (CCAP) which is being implemented by the Center. The expansion of the CREWS Network is aimed at enhancing the collection and availability of critical data from across the Eastern Caribbean by increasing the data points, and improving the region’s ability to track changes in a range of environmental variables including sea temperature and water quality.
The Center’s partnership with NOAA is part of a global coral reef monitoring network. The new CREWS stations have already begun to provide additional information to Caribbean scientists and researchers to monitor reef health, sea temperature changes, winds (speed and gusts), barometric pressure, precipitation, photo-synthetically active/available radiation (PAR, light), air temperature, and salinity. Other instruments may be added through arrangement with the host countries.
Under a previous sponsorship arrangement, CREWS stations were installed in Belize, Trinidad & Tobago, the Dominican Republic, and Barbados.
Credit: Environmental Monitor; Summer 2018 Peruse full magazine here.
- Challenge 1: Water sector infrastructure exposed to damage and disruption from water-related hazards;
- Challenge 2: Increasing demand, inefficient water use and leakage exacerbating the vulnerability of existing water supply systems and sources;
- Challenge 3: Effectiveness of community and urban water supply systems exposed to increasing climate variability;
- Challenge 4: Agricultural production vulnerable to seasonal rainfall and drought;
- Challenge 5: Effective management of water resource quantity and quality threatened by a changing climate; and
- Challenge 6: Escalating costs of flood-related damage and losses
“In the 1970’s most of the cattle population was wiped out because there was no water for the cattle to drink; no feed….in 1961 there was a drought where the school had to be closed for weeks, because there was no water for the children to drink. …In the 1950s, 60s and 70s water had to be transported from Grenada to Petit Martinique…and in during distribution of water there were fights and quarrels,” said Mr. Logan.
Belmopan, Belize; August 26, 2016 –
According to Belize policy targets, the country aims at increasing its share of renewable energy. Till now Bioenergy, especially Biogas, is not utilized on industrial scales in Belize. To help achieve this goal and build capacity in this sector, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in cooperation with GIZ REETA had offered a free of charge BIOENERGY Course at its training Centre in the country’s capital, Belmopan and at the Bio Energy Laboratory which is housed at the University of Belize.
Bioenergy as a renewable energy resource offers many advantages: It can be converted into various forms of secondary and final energy. Biomass, the primary energy source, can be transformed into solid, liquid and gaseous energy carriers. The combustion of these energy carriers can produce heat, cold, electricity, mechanical power or a combination of these. Even better than this, bioenergy is storable, so it can be converted right at the time when energy is needed to balance the differences between energy supply and demand.
Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Director of the CCCCC and Dr. Ulric Trotz , Deputy Director of the CCCCC both welcomed the participants and thanked GIZ for their contribution. They also thanked Henrik Personn, the integrated expert from CIM/GIZ, for his efforts especially in the Capacity Building and Waste to Energy Sector in Belize. The course was directed by Tobias Sengfelder of GoGreen Ltd.
Participation came from the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority, BELTRAIDE, Belmopan Comprehensive High School, the University of Belize, ITVET and the Spanish Lookout Power Plant. Participants successfully completed the course and received a certificate that demonstrated their ability to plan, prepare and conduct Bioenergy training seminars and implement bioenergy projects to high standards. These seminars provided an excellent opportunity for professional development in the renewable energy field, while ensuring the sustainable use of knowledge.
Alton Daly, an intern at the CCCCC said “The course was very informative. We learned to make use of different biomass resources such as sugar cane and corn. I think it is something we can use throughout the Caribbean and not only here in Belize. It seems to be very useful. It is something we should continue to look into.”
The head of the Belmopan Comprehensive High School Science Department, Jeneva Jones, felt that “It was very informative about how to create electricity from different biomass that is readily available to us. We need to put more people in the science field to ensure that the use of bioenergy becomes viable.”
Ryan Zuniga, a lecturer at the University of Belize also had high hopes after completing the course. He said “Seeing the output of such a system will garner far more support for science and research. It will assist us in developing ways to curb our energy cost and mitigate against climate change. I think it is something that would be very useful at UB and at the lower levels of the education system.”
These seminars provided an excellent opportunity for professional development in the renewable energy field, while also ensuring the sustainable use of knowledge. Participants who successfully completed the course, in addition to receiving a certificate, are now able to plan, prepare and conduct Bioenergy training and implement bioenergy projects to high standards.
The successful participants included:
Ryan Zuniga, UB Lecturer
Jeneva Jones, Head of Science Dept., Belmopan Comprehensive High School
Ana Hernandez, Agricultural Science Teacher, Belmopan Comprehensive School
Jorge Chuck, ITVET Manager, Belize City
Gilroy Lewis General Manager, Belize Solid Waste Management Authority
Jomo Myles, Student and Sugar Industry Stakeholder
Jake Letkeman, General Manager, Farmers’ Light Plant Corporation, Spanish Lookout
Shahera Mckoy, Manager, Beltraide
Nicole Zetina, Project Manager, Beltraide
Photos of the seminar can be downloaded at the Centre’s Flickr page.
For the month of July 2016, a total of 33,665 documents were retrieved from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s (CCCCC) Regional Clearinghouse. A list of the top 20 documents are listed in the table below. If you would like to research and read other documents from CARICOM member states visit the CCCCC’s Clearinghouse.
The Regional Clearinghouse is an extensive repository of Caribbean specific information on climate change and information exchange system for climate resilient decision-making.
It helps users to:
- search, access, request and contribute digital documents, project reports and scholarly articles related to climate change in the Caribbean
- View climate projections by country
- Search the CCCCC hardcopy and CD library
- Access the 2011 Regional Project Stock Take
- Learn more
By using the Clearinghouse Search, decision makers and practitioners will be able to retrieve, request, contribute and exchange information and data on climate change in the region.
Contribute to the Database
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s (CCCCC) Regional Clearinghouse Database is the region’s premier repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region. This dedicated climate change resource was first explored over a decade ago during the course of the Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change (CPACC) project (1997 to 2001), but the current iteration was spurred by a CDB project grant (2010) and the GIZ / CIM Integrated Expert Programme (2010 – 2015). The Clearinghouse has grown steadily since its launch in 2010, from a few dozen documents to over 5, 368 digital documents as of July 2016. The rapid expansion of the database will continue as the Centre adds many new documents every month, including books, videos, national/regional strategy documents, project reports, studies and scholarly articles, among others. The expansion of the database is complemented by broad use of the facility by target audiences from across the region and internationally— namely the press, the public, project teams, consultants, experts, researchers, students, focal points, governments and partner organizations. This wide usage is evidenced by average monthly downloads of 21,600 documents between January and July, 2016.
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.
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).
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) provides climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States through the CARICOM Secretariat. The staff and management of the CCCCC wish you a happy CARICOM Day. CARICOM Day is observed annually on 4 July, the anniversary of the signing, by the founding Member States, of the original Treaty of Chaguaramas.
According to Belize’s policy targets, the country intends to increase its share of renewable energy. Bioenergy, especially Biogas, is not being utilized on industrial levels. To help achieve this goal and build capacity in this sector, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in cooperation with GIZ REETA is offering a free of charge BIOENERGY Course at its training Centre in the country’s capital, Belmopan on the 15 – 25 August, 2016.
Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate that demonstrates their ability to plan, prepare and conduct Bioenergy training seminars and implement bioenergy projects to high standards. These seminars provide an excellent opportunity for professional development in the renewable energy field, while ensuring the sustainable use of the knowledge.
The course at the Centre will be held for 15 persons, so early application/registration is vital for participation please send a curriculum vitae (CV) and note explaining why the bioenergy course is significant to your development. Email your CV to Henrik Personn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please review the schedule for details.
Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre is in Bonn, Germany at the Headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He is part of a team of technical experts participating in the fifth round of technical analyses of developing countries biennial reports (BURs). This is part of the international consultation and analysis (ICA) which consists of the technical analysis followed by a workshop for facilitating sharing of views under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). At COP 17 in Cancun, Mexico in 2010, developing countries agreed to prepare BURs which updates their greenhouse gas inventories and provides information such as the support they have received to undertake climate change actions in their countries and identifies additional support they will require. Small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs) may submit BURs at their own discretion.
According to a recent publication, by 2100 Belize’s population is projected to reach 1 million, but at the same time, substantial portions of the country could be under water due to sea level rise, exacerbating demand for natural resources. Global warming is said to be the culprit, and the novel energy financing is intended to help scale back some of its effects.
In March, research published by the Nature journal and featured in the Washington Post indicates that sea levels are rising twice as fast as had been previously estimated, and the projection says that it will rise more than 6 feet by the end of the century.
An online model shows that over time Belize gradually disappears under rising water levels over the centuries, with the last refuge being the Maya Mountain Massif in Central Belize—where the highest lands are located. Belize appears to be one of the most vulnerable Central American countries to sea level rise.
Amandala spoke with Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), a CARICOM agency based in Belize, who explained that most of Central America is much more mountainous than Belize, which has a very flat coastline with much of its land mass in the north and coast being at or slightly below sea level.
As a consequence, sea level rise would impact Belize much more than places like Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
“The entire northern half of Belize and the entire coastal area all the way down to PG would also be under water,” Leslie said, pointing to the not too distant future.
Dr. Leslie told us that currently, the sea is rising about 3 millimeters (mm) per year.
“That might sound very small, but 3 millimeters in a year, in 10 years that’s 30 millimeters,” said Leslie.
He explained that every millimeter rise, translates to a meter of land being submerged. This, he noted, could have implications for places such as airports, as well as infrastructure on the cayes.
“So by the end of this century, you would have quite a bit of rise and coastal areas would be well under water,” said Leslie.
This could have serious implications for the country’s water supply, he said. Inland waters would become more saline. He noted that currently, the national water network feeds from Mile 16 in the Belize River area, but the network would have to find a source point far more inland.
Leslie said that the rate he quoted does not take into account the doubling recently reported in the Washington Post and Nature articles.
By the end of the century, most of Belize City would be under water; and that does not take into account the tides or a storm surge, he added.
“There are other factors that would make the matter much more complicated. All our offshore cayes, all those cayes at best are 3 feet above sea level; if you go up a foot of water, all the infrastructure would be severely impacted, including all the hotels,” he said.
“In terms of municipal airports; that would be under water…” Leslie told us. “Placencia would be under water,” he added.
The problem is that as a country, Belize has no control over sea level and the phenomenon that is driving it. According to the researchers who recently doubled the estimates for sea level rise, the ice caps in Antarctica are melting faster than had been thought due to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
“The world took too long to start to address the climate change seriously,” Dr. Leslie said. “The water does not rise uniformly; it rises in some places faster than others.”
“We are in 2016, but in 2025, the water would have come up at least 3 more inches; and by 2050, which is not too far away and assuming the same 3mm rise per year (we are talking another 34 years), that would be affecting almost the whole of Belize City already – even at the current rate – and most of our cayes,” Leslie told us.
Other Caribbean countries, even those that are more mountainous than Belize, are also vulnerable, because of their size and the location of key national assets, such as their airports. In Jamaica, two of their international airports are along the coast. The cost to the economy of countries in our region could be huge, but awareness of the future impacts of climate change and sea level rise on our region could help countries prepare for the changes that lie ahead, such as retrofitting infrastructure.
Leslie indicated that the Green Climate Fund is just coming online and countries have to make sure that they submit proposals for financing efforts to build resilience to climate change.
“The onus is on the countries like Belize to start to understand how to write projects that can be funded under the Green Climate Fund,” Leslie said.
He told us that the Climate Change Centre is the only centre in our region, and one of the few in the world, accredited by the Green Climate Fund as an implementing entity. The Center can access (on behalf of CARICOM countries) monies for projects that can address climate change, in the range of US$10 million to US$50 million.
“The countries have to be proactive. We can submit on their behalf but they have to take the initiative,” he said.
Currently the Centre is working along with Belize on renewable energy projects that would cut cost, Leslie informed.
All CARICOM countries, including Belize, recently signed the Paris Agreement at the special ceremony held in the US in April. The agreement is aimed at checking global warming and consequently containing sea level rise; but there are doubts as to whether the target set in the agreement can be met.
When CARICOM leaders met in Belize this February, James Fletcher, chairman of both the CARICOM Task Force of Sustainable Development and the Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change, told our newspaper that, “There is a point to which the money can’t help, so if you’re going to have a climate that by the end of the century would have warmed up by 4 degrees Celsius, I don’t know that there is any amount of money that you can give to a country like the Maldives… or maybe some other island in the Bahamas, because these islands will disappear.”
Fletcher said that while countries have committed to “intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs),” the aggregate effect, even with those in place, suggests a 2.7 degree rise in temperature by end of the century.
“That’s not good enough [because] for SIDs [small island developing states], anything above 1.5 will be catastrophic…” he said. “Anything above that… becomes a vicious cycle that we can’t win.”
Dr. Leslie notes that the Paris Agreement only kicks in after a minimum number of countries ratify it—and those countries must include key ones such as the USA and China.
Back in Belize, where the country’s vulnerability to climate change and sea level rise is little understood, there is also the need to address the problem of deforestation, which could exacerbate the situation on the ground.
According to Jaume Ruscalleda, Sustainable Land Use Officer at Ya’axché Conservation Trust, since Independence, Belize’s forest cover has declined from 74% to 60%, and by the end of the century, the country will only have 26% forest cover, mostly in the Maya Mountain range—which, we note, is incidentally the last refuge from sea level rise.
Ruscalleda cited maps shared by Emil Cherrington, a Belizean who does remote monitoring of Belize’s forest cover and by the University of Belize, which also documents the disappearance of the country’s forest cover.
Dr. Leslie urges “proper land use planning,” adding that this should have been done with or without climate change.
“It comes back to the border problem. There are a lot of the prime areas which have been designated by our country which are not to be used for clearing and agriculture, but [Guatemalans] are coming across the border and doing just that. This should be addressed,” Leslie urged.
Every year on June 5th, World Environment Day (WED) which is run by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is celebrated to to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire people across earth to adapt healthy lifestyles and safe practices to keep our planet healthy. WED is revered in over 100 nations, and it is also celebrated in Belize, the host country for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
Protecting nature and earth, one of the focuses of WED is a priority that complements the work of the CCCCC. This weekend, Centre liaised with teachers and students and teachers from Belmopan Comprehensive High School, Belmopan Methodist High School and Belmopan Active Youths (BAY) for an excursion in honor of WED. On Saturday June 4th, 40 teachers and students went to the Toledo District to learn about agro-farming and the lifestyle of the people of Trio Village who truly live on the land.
The students learned of the collaboration between the CCCCC, the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association and Ya’axché Conservation Trust. The CCCCC utilized $250,000 US from UK-DFID to sponsor over 28,0000 cacao seedlings to the farming association. The three groups collaborated and received a unique concession from the Forestry Department to receive a substantial concession to develop 926 acres within the Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve.
On this visit the farmers showed them the additional 28,000 seedlings that were in the nursery which they would be planting as soon as they reach the right height. The students asked farmers like Isabel Rash how they watered the seedlings which was trek into the reserve. The questions also addressed drought and how the techniques utilized by agro-farming were different from the ones they used before.
As they trekked deeper into the reserve, they found the crops such as beans and plantains that were also being grown by the farmers as a faster cash crop while the first set of cacao plants still needed more time to mature before the fruit would be ready for harvesting.
One student commented that the soil seemed rich since there was no burning and also commented how it must had been harder for the crops to grow without using pesticides and chemicals to fertilize the soil.The Ya’axché officer on site, Julio Chub explained that the farmers used sawdust and decayed forest material to enrich the soil. He further stated that the conditions set by the Forest Department ensured that the soil and the forest would continue to be healthy.
Isabel Rash, one of the leaders of the group explained that it continues to be hard work, but the benefit is there for their families and they will have an income to sustain them all year round, rather than with seasonal work in the banana industry which was his primary means of earning an income.
There are at least 9 women in the Trio Farmers Cacao Growers Association and the students had an opportunity to meet 3 of them near the honey harvesting operation. Their trainer Isodoro Sho explained that not all the villagers had an opportunity to pursue education beyond primary school, and learning about bee keeping was one way they could earn money to put themselves back in the classroom or grow into a self-employed women. The students were particularly quiet when they met young women, their peers in age, being responsible citizens.
The head of the Belmopan Active Youths, Anna Guy felt the experience was a good one and to have met some of the Trio villagers. After seeing the bee keepers in action, the students laughed and ran as the first bees flew out of the hives.
But their running took them to the homes of the bee keepers who had fresh batches of honey on hand to sell. And while the transactions were ongoing, Mr. Sho informed the students that the association was developing a brand for the honey so that people would know whose honey they were buying and that the bees would also be used as part of the pollination process in the concession area.
The final stop in the village was to the house of Victor Tut. Tut had just completed a ceremony for his son who graduated from high school and hoped to enroll in the National Resource Management Program at the University of Belize. With the bus parked outside the home, the students and teachers were welcome inside to a bowl of freshly cooked food and a smooth cup of cacao juice. The day that started at 6:30 a.m. in Belmopan and stretched into the Humming Bird and Southern Highways had suddenly turned into a hungry and heavy 5 p.m. inside Tut’s home. At dusk, boarding the bus, the students gave a hearty goodbye as they returned with new friends from the group interactions, photos and lessons learned about Trio Village for World Environment Day.
The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD) under the “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change” project which was funded by the European Union gave the initial support that started the Caribbean Community Climate Change Clubs.