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A total of US$7.2 million will be made available to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism and agricultural sectors, to finance climate change adaptation initiatives islandwide.
The money, which will be in the form of loans and grants, is being provided under the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism Project, a component of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) in Jamaica.
The Project is a five-year initiative which aims to increase Jamaica’s resilience to climate change, through enhancing adaptive capacity across priority sectors.
This component of the PPCR is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The initiative was formalised during a signing ceremony at Jamaica House in St. Andrew, on July 28.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell; Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica, Milverton Reynolds; General Manager, JN Small Business Loans, Gillian Hyde; and Programme Manager, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), Allison Rangolan McFarlane.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the Government intends to increase its efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable, climate-resilient economic growth.
“As a Government, we have pledged to protect the environment while creating jobs to drive the engine of economic growth, and we cannot allow climate change and other environmental impacts to impede us,” he said.
The Minister thanked all the partners involved in the initiative, noting that it represents an excellent opportunity to build on the work that has already begun in fostering sustainable development through partnership.
For her part, Ms. Hyde said the new loan facility will be open to qualified MSME beneficiaries who will be eligible for a loan amount between $200,000 and $5 million.
She pointed out that the loan will be available at a maximum interest rate of four per cent per annum.
For her part, Ms. Rangolan McFarlane said the money will be accessible to community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, other civil-society groups and selected public-sector agencies, for clearly defined high-priority activities.
She added that these should be related to building the resilience of the natural environment and contributing to livelihood protection and poverty reduction.
General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Therese Turner Jones, said the initiative is another in a series of partnerships to assist in the development of the country.
“We are looking to see how this pilot is going to work, so we can think about replicating this elsewhere in the region,” she said, adding that the initiative is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
The project involves a Climate Change Adaptation Line of Credit and a special Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
The Line of Credit will provide loan financing to help MSMEs in the tourism and agricultural sectors to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The loans will be administered by the JN Small Business Loans Limited. The sum of US$2.5 million is being provided for this.
The Adaptation Fund will provide grants to adaptation and disaster risk reduction projects and finance the associated programme management costs.
Grants will be provided using the successful EFJ grant-making model. The EFJ will be the Fund Administrator for the US$4.7 million being provided.
Credit: Jamaica Information Service
Eight Caribbean countries will benefit from Japanese and United Nations financial assistance to help build their resilience to climate change.
On Thursday, the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership was launched at the Radisson Aquatica Resort. It is a partnership between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP). Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Vincent, St Lucia and Suriname are the countries benefiting from the project.
Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad, Masatoshi Sato, said his government envisaged that the project will assist the eight regional countries in developing and implementing climate change policies and promoting the adopting of selected adaptation and mitigating technologies through various island projects.
He added that the US$15 million project to the eight countries was the forerunner to Japan fulfilling its COP 21 France pledge of approximately US$8.4 billion in public and private finance to developing countries.
“As such, Japan expects the project will enable the Caribbean countries to enhance their capacity to cope with climate change and natural disasters, thus assisting them in overcoming vulnerabilities particular to small island states,” the ambassador said.
He later told the Nation Japan had invited all CARICOM countries and the eight countries were the ones which had expressed an interest in the project.
“They are interested in making their countries more resilient to the impact of climate change,” he added.
Meanwhile, UNDP’s Resident Representative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Stephen O’Malley, told the audience the project aimed to ensure that barriers to the implementation of climate resilient technologies were addressed and overcome in a participatory and efficient manner.
“There are many lessons we can learn from Japan and from each other and this project provides ample opportunity for the region to take advantage of Japanese experiences and knowledge, particularly as it relates to energy,” he said.
Also speaking was Director of the UNDP regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Hub, Rebeca Arias, who said December’s Paris agreement must be the starting point of a new era of climate action.
“It must permanently shift the global development trajectory towards one that is zero carbon and risk-informed,” she said.
Arias added that the project will facilitate climate mitigation and adaptation activities in the eight countries and will help them move towards “a green, no emission development pathway”.
Credit: Nation News
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is partnering with a number of governments as it strives to help boost the resilience of member states to climate change.
The CARICOM region, with its 15 islands, is considered one of the world’s most important areas of biodiversity. The region is now moving fast towards the sustainable management of both marine areas and coastal resources.
A new partnership between CARICOM and the German government involves the protection of these precious resources from the impacts of climate change.
“Our story is about how we were able to set the boundaries in terms of the fisheries reserve. You realise now as ecotourism, as the product developed, we have more users of the area. We need to protect the reef. We need to protect the fisheries industry,” says Anthony Charles, representative of the Soufriere Marine Management Agency. That body is responsible for protecting over 12 kilometres of rich biodiversity, including mountains, rivers, active volcanoes and coral reefs.
Charles says partnerships with friendly governments are crucial in continuing efforts to combat the challenges posed to these resources, particularly diminishing fish stocks.
“The generation of fisher(s) that we had 15 years ago is completely different to what we have today and clearly education, advocacy is very important because we realise it’s not just the matter of the fishing industry, it’s the protection and the sustainable use of our resources,” he said.
Representative of the German government Michael Freudenberg says the partnership with CARICOM is based on a commitment to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“The Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to the observed and projected impacts of climate change because of its geographic location and reliance on natural resources for economic activities and livelihoods … Germany supports regional cooperation as a tool to combine our efforts for the countries affected by climate change and under-development. Saint Lucia can bear witness, I think, to climate-related disasters and the effects of national resilience and national solidarity,” he said.
The experts say climate change is negatively impacting on the sustainability and resilience of the marine ecosystem, diminishing erosion protection and natural barriers that protect against storm surges and rising sea levels. This is impacting sectors like tourism and fisheries, which directly depend upon the quality of the marine environment.
The coastal and marine ecosystems of the Caribbean are among the most threatened in the world. CARICOM is hoping that by strengthening relations with friendly governments, it can ensure the prudent management and use of those resources.
With only about one-sixth of the original coral cover left, most Caribbean coral reefs may disappear in the next 20 years, primarily due to the loss of grazers in the region, according to the latest report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The report, Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012, is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date – the result of the work of 90 experts over the course of three years. It contains the analysis of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at 90 Caribbean locations since 1970, including studies of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins and fish.
The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s. But according to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies, such as protection from overfishing and excessive coastal pollution, could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to future climate change impacts.
“The rate at which the Caribbean corals have been declining is truly alarming,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. “But this study brings some very encouraging news: the fate of Caribbean corals is not beyond our control and there are some very concrete steps that we can take to help them recover.”
Climate change has long been thought to be the main culprit in coral degradation. While it does pose a serious threat by making oceans more acidic and causing coral bleaching, the report shows that the loss of parrotfish and sea urchin – the area’s two main grazers – has, in fact, been the key driver of coral decline in the region. An unidentified disease led to a mass mortality of the sea urchin in 1983 and extreme fishing throughout the 20th century has brought the parrotfish population to the brink of extinction in some regions. The loss of these species breaks the delicate balance of coral ecosystems and allows algae, on which they feed, to smother the reefs.
Reefs protected from overfishing, as well as other threats such as excessive coastal pollution, tourism and coastal development, are more resilient to pressures from climate change, according to the authors.
“Even if we could somehow make climate change disappear tomorrow, these reefs would continue their decline,” says Jeremy Jackson, lead author of the report and IUCN’s senior advisor on coral reefs. “We must immediately address the grazing problem for the reefs to stand any chance of surviving future climate shifts.”
The report also shows that some of the healthiest Caribbean coral reefs are those that harbour vigorous populations of grazing parrotfish. These include the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda and Bonaire, all of which have restricted or banned fishing practices that harm parrotfish, such as fish traps and spearfishing. Other countries are following suit.
“Barbuda is about to ban all catches of parrotfish and grazing sea urchins, and set aside one-third of its coastal waters as marine reserves,” says Ayana Johnson of the Waitt Institute’s Blue Halo Initiative which is collaborating with Barbuda in the development of its new management plan. “This is the kind of aggressive management that needs to be replicated regionally if we are going to increase the resilience of Caribbean reefs.”
Reefs where parrotfish are not protected have suffered tragic declines, including Jamaica, the entire Florida Reef Tract from Miami to Key West, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Caribbean is home to 9% of the world’s coral reefs, which are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Caribbean reefs, spanning a total of 38 countries, are vital to the region’s economy. They generate more than US$ 3 billion annually from tourism and fisheries and over a hundred times more in other goods and services, on which more than 43 million people depend.
This video, featuring the report’s lead author Jeremy Jackson, explains the significance of the report:
Peruse the full report.
Credit: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
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.
Dr Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, and a senior strategic advisor to Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), outlines the tremendous opportunities for climate compatible development in the region in a featured Op-Ed published by CDKN Global.
The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean have made significant strides in responding to a changing and variable climate. However, the dissonance between climate change time horizons and immediate development needs and priorities as articulated by public policy-makers pose a primary challenge to the region’s efforts to achieve low emissions, build resilience and promote development simultaneously. Specifically, climate change projections are often expressed in timeframes ( 5 years, 50 years, 100 years) that have little or no relation to the routine development planning timeframes (5 years, 10 years, 30 years) used by the public policy-makers and the expectations of the general public.
This challenge exists alongside the peculiarities associated with multi-country policy-making, hazards of our small size, geography, and limited resources that often impedes ambitious and decisive action. Given this mix of challenges, it’s crucial that the region frames climate change responses such that they’re viewed as urgent and integral for development imperatives such as poverty reduction, debt-servicing, and growth.
The efficacy of this approach is typified by Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ strong commitment to make climate change a priority during his chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) immediately after the unprecedented weather event that ravaged the Eastern Caribbean in December 2013. In declaring climate change as a key focus of his six month chairmanship of the regional block, Dr Gonsalves noted “we are having systems affecting us outside of the normal rainy season and the normal hurricane season,” which underscores the importance of showing the link between existing weather events and climate projections across time-horizons. Dr Gonsalves’s realisation of this link will allow him to bring a sense of urgency to the XXV Intersessional Meeting of the Heads of Government where climate change will feature prominently in the discussions.
In our quest to forge a climate resilient development pathway, the Caribbean has been tackling the primary challenge of aligning the comparatively distant time horizons of climate projections with more immediate development objectives and political considerations in a multi-country policy-making context. The Heads of Government of CARICOM endorsed the Liliendaal Declaration on Climate Change and Development in 2009, which defines the positions of Member States, and approved “A Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change”. The Regional Framework and its associated Implementation Plan (approved in March 2012), both of which were prepared by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with support from CDKN, specifies actions and timeframes that complements some of the political time horizons and specific development objectives.
The development of the Caribbean Climate Risk Management Framework and its associated Caribbean Climate Online Risk Assessment TooL (CCORAL) is a direct response to one of the actions defined in the Regional Framework. Climate risk management tools like CCORAL with cross-sectorial applicability are crucial elements of the region’s emerging strong early action framework for building climate resilience and advancing our development objectives.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre kicked off its risk management workshop in Suriname where it has been begun its four Country Consultation tour in Suriname