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Forging a climate resilient development pathway in the Caribbean

Dr. TrotzDr 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.

Caribbean Green Tech Incubator Launched

CCIC Image

Credit: World Bank/infoDev

The Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) was launched today (Monday, January 27, 2014) at the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) in Trinidad and Tobago. The World Bank/infoDev initiative, which is being administered by the Jamaica-based Scientific Research Council and Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), will function as an incubator for businesses solving climate change problems and promote investment in green technology in the region. The Centre is one of eight globally, as others are located in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa and Vietnam.

The Centre will provide grant funding of up to US$50,000.00 to MSMEs/ entities to assist them in developing prototypes for commercialization.

The Centre’s five focus areas are:
  • Solar Energy – e.g. Residential and commercial self generation, residential and commercial water heating, solar powered air conditioning
  • Resource Use Efficiency – e.g. waste-to energy, materials recovery, reuse and recycling
  • Sustainable Agribusiness – e.g. water/ energy efficient irrigation systems; waste management; high value agribusiness; sustainable land use practices; waste to energy; wind and solar energy for farms
  • Energy Efficiency – e.g. Lighting, household appliances, air conditioning, commercial cooling and ventilation systems, consumer behavior, building and energy management systems, building design and materials
  • Water Management – e.g. Potable water, rain water harvesting, efficient irrigation, wastewater treatment and recycling, water use efficiency, desalination
CCIC Image 2

Credit: World Bank/infoDev/Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre

Dr Ulric Trotz, Chairperson of the CCIC, and Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, says the CCIC  comes to fruition at a point when unsustainable and inefficient energy consumption exacerbates the enormous socio-economic constraints faced by Member States of the Caribbean Community.

The region, which is among the most vulnerable places to climate change and climate variability, imports in excess of 170 million barrels of petroleum products annually, with 30 million barrels used in the electric sector alone, at a cost of up to 40% of  already scarce foreign exchange earnings.  This dependence on ever more expensive imported fossil fuels increases our economic vulnerability and reduces our ability to invest in climate compatible development. Therefore, it’s crucial that we support initiatives that can make the region’s energy sector more efficient through increased use of renewable energy, which will in turn reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This comes at a time when economies around the world are re-orientating towards low-carbon, green growth pathways, which have the potential to make some of our established industries, including tourism, more attractive to discerning travellers who are willing to spend more for environmentally sensitive travel packages.

The Centre offers this region a unique opportunity to leverage technological innovation in its bid to adapt and mitigate challenges brought forth by climate change, with particular focus on energy efficiency, resource use, agriculture and water management, as the regional technology space is rapidly evolving and seems poised to take-off with the advent of events and groups like DigiJam 3.0, Caribbean Startup Week, Slashroots, among others. This is encouraging as the development, deployment and diffusion of technology are key factors in any effort to mitigate and adapt to the current and future impacts of climate change.  So the Centre is uniquely positioned to capitalize on these developments and focus them to achieve essential technological advancement.

~Dr Ulric Trotz, Chairperson of the CCIC, and Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre

Please view the CCIC website at www.caribbeancic.org for further information.

CDKN’s Annual Report Features CCORAL

The United Kingdom-based Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) Annual Report is now available. The report features the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s development of CCORAL, a seminal online risk assessment tool, with support from both CDKN and UKaid.

Read: CCORAL Is Here! Endorsed by the IPCC Chair

The report notes:

In only three years, CDKN has grown to become a programme spanning the globe and forging new partnerships among researchers, planners, knowledge brokers, and policy-makers. Today, we work globally, and in 74 countries, delivering real change through our research, policy advice to governments, and support for negotiators.

At the heart of our vision is ‘climate compatible development’: helping developing countries to mitigate and manage climate change, while simultaneously achieving their objectives of poverty reduction and human development. This is no easy task. The world economy will be transformed by climate change and by the measures taken to deal with it: poor countries and poor people already face many new vulnerabilities, but also new opportunities to innovate and grow.

CDKN has established itself as a leading global climate and development alliance. We provide:

  • a trusted global network of leading institutions and practitioners responding to developing countries’ needs
  • cutting-edge research that is focused on poverty, growth and climate change, and is applied directly to policy-making and development practice
  • a proven, scaled and flexible delivery system involving public-private partnership.

The Annual Report 2013 outlines CDKN’s core programmatic themes: climate compatible development policies and planning;  developing countries’ access to climate finance; strengthened resilience through disaster risk management; and support for climate negotiators from the least developed and most climate-vulnerable countries. Diverse and inspiring examples show how, through partnerships, our work is creating new opportunities and benefits for developing countries in all of these areas.

Download the CDKN Annual Report 2013

Still wondering what is CCORAL? Here’s the official Infographic

Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation TooL (CCORAL) Infographic

Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation TooL (CCORAL) Infographic

Also peruse the CCORAL Brochure and CCORAL Fact Sheet.

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