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August 13, 2019; Belmopan, Belize. – On Tuesday, August 12, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) hosted representatives from the Tropical Agricultural Research And Higher Education Center (CATIE) for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both institutions at its offices in Belmopan.
Dr Muhammad Ibrahim, the Director-General of CATIE, accompanied by one member of its Board, Mrs Gale Miller-Garnett, joined a small team from the CCCCC led by the Executive Director, Dr Kenrick Leslie to sign the MOU.
The agreement formalises a partnership to address:
• The development of joint proposals to secure resources to enhance collaborative possibilities through donors and partners;
• Assistance in the implementation of research and development programs; and
• The delivery of training programs and activities for professionals, officials, producers, and other appropriate clients.
Dr Ibrahim outlined CATIE’s areas of interests noting: “We are particularly interested in collaborating on Climate Change Adaptation initiatives that focus on the scaling up of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation by building on knowledge within Central America and reporting on the status of Biodiversity and Climate Change. We acknowledge that the Sustainable Development Goals are all linked to the Climate Change agenda and we want to build on achieving those”, Dr Ibrahim said.
In his response, Dr Leslie spoke of the willingness to work with counterpart agencies in achieving the Centre’s prime objectives: “There are many things that we as a community can do to prove beneficial to this work. The Centre has developed a model for partnership that has attributed to much of our success. The Centre welcomes the invitation to explore this partnership as both institutions share their expertise to further these initiatives,” he said.
In his remarks, Deputy Director and Science Advisor of the CCCCC Dr Ulric Trotz highlighted the areas that were most in need of resources.
“Two areas calling for significant resources to address them are the mangrove restoration and coral reef restoration. Between our institutions, we have enough information that we can use to scale up and focus our energy on a major intervention”.
The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) is a regional body dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture, and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Its members include Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the State of Acre in Brazil.
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This achievement should be celebrated, especially by Small Island Development States (SIDS), a 41-nation group—nearly half of them in the Caribbean—that has been advocating for increased ambition on climate change for nearly a quarter century.
SIDS are even more vulnerable to climate change impacts — and risk losing more. Global warming has very high associated damages and costs to families, communities and entire countries, including their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
What does this mean for the Caribbean? Climate change is recognized as one of the most serious challenges to the Caribbean. With the likelihood that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and intensity of the yearly hurricane season, comprehensive measures are needed to protect at-risk communities.
Moreover, scenarios based on moderate curbing of greenhouse gas emissions reveal that surface temperature would increase between 1.2 and 2.3 °C across the Caribbean in this century. In turn, rainfall is expected to decrease about 5 to 6 per cent. As a result, it will be the only insular region in the world to experience a decrease in water availability in the future.
The combined impact of higher temperatures and less water would likely result in longer dry periods and increased frequency of droughts, which threaten agriculture, livelihoods, sanitation and ecosystems.
Perhaps the most dangerous hazard is sea level rise. The sea level may rise up to 0.6 meters in the Caribbean by the end of the century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This could actually flood low-lying areas, posing huge threats, particularly to the smallest islands, and impacting human settlements and infrastructure in coastal zones. It also poses serious threats to tourism, a crucial sector for Caribbean economies: up to 60 per cent of current resorts lie around the coast and these would be greatly damaged by sea level increase.
Sea level rise also risks saline water penetrating into freshwater aquifers, threatening crucial water resources for agriculture, tourism and human consumption, unless expensive treatments operations are put into place.
In light of these prospects, adapting to climate change becomes an urgent necessity for SIDS—including in the Caribbean. It is therefore not surprising that all Caribbean countries have submitted a section on adaptation within their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are the voluntary commitments that pave the way for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In their INDCs, Caribbean countries overwhelmingly highlight the conservation of water resources and the protection of coastal areas as their main worries. Most of them also consider adaptation initiatives in the economic and productive sectors, mainly agriculture, fisheries, tourism and forestry.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been supporting Caribbean countries in their adaptation efforts for many years now, through environmental, energy-related and risk reduction projects, among others.
This week we launched a new partnership with the Government of Japan, the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP), in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The initiative will be implemented in eight Caribbean countries: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, benefitting an estimated 200,000 women and men in 50 communities.
It will set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies, helping put in practice Caribbean countries’ actions and policies to reduce greenhouse as emissions and adapt to climate change. It will also boost access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel imports and dependence, setting the region on a low-emission development path, while addressing critical balance of payments constraints.
When considering adaptation measures to the different impacts of climate change there are multiple options. Some rely on infrastructure, such as dikes to control sea level rise, but this can be particularly expensive for SIDS, where the ratio of coastal area to land mass is very high.
In this context, ecosystem-based adaptation activities are much more cost-effective, and, in countries with diverse developmental priorities and where financial resources are limited, they become an attractive alternative. This means healthy, well-functioning ecosystems to boost natural resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change, reducing people’s vulnerabilities as well.
UNDP, in partnership with national and local governments in the Caribbean, has been championing ecosystem-based adaptation and risk reduction with very rewarding results.
For example, the Government of Cuba partnered with UNDP, scientific institutes and forestry enterprises to restore mangrove forests along 84 km of the country’s southern shore to slow down saline intrusion from the sea level rise and reduce disaster risks, as the mangrove acts as a protective barrier against hurricanes.
In Grenada, in coordination with the Government and the German International Cooperation Agency, we supported the establishment of a Community Climate Change Adaptation Fund, a small grants mechanism, to provide opportunities to communities to cope with the effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions. We have engaged with local stakeholders to develop climate smart agricultural projects, and climate resilient fisheries, among other activities in the tourism and water resources sectors.
UNDP’s support is directed to balance social and economic development with environmental protection, directly benefitting communities. Our approach is necessarily aligned with the recently approved 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its associated Sustainable Development Goals, delivering on protecting ecosystems and natural resources, promoting food security and sanitation, while also helping reduce poverty and promoting sustainable economic growth.
While there is significant potential for climate change adaptation in SIDS, it will require additional external resources, technologies and strengthening of local capacities. In UNDP we are ideally placed to continue working hand-in-hand with Caribbean countries as they implement their INDCs and find their own solutions to climate-change adaptation, while also sharing knowledge and experiences within the region and beyond.
Jessica Faieta is United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Credit: Caribbean 360
International Meeting of the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation Community of Practice
26-27 February 2015 – Lima, Peru
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) REGATTA and Practical Action Latin America are pleased to invite the members of the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EbA) Community of Practice to apply for participating on an international meeting to be held on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 February 2015 in the city of Lima, Peru.
The international meeting aims to strengthen the EbA community members’ network. For this, their participants will present and discuss different aspects of their experiences in EbA and will identify initiatives of mutual collaboration.
We are looking for the participation of members that have implemented EbA measures, of practitioners with possibilities of influence in relevant government and technical cooperation projects or programmes, and of those members that have contributed or participated in modules and/or webinars.
The first day of the international meeting the main challenges of EbA measures implementation will be discussed through the presentation of community members’ experiences in parallel sessions. The second day will be centered mainly in the discussion of joint initiatives, sustainable mechanisms for the community and fellowship activities.
The international meeting is open to all participants of the community of practice, but it will be possible to fund the participation of around 30 people. For those interested, please fill the application format and send it to email@example.com by Friday 19 December 2014 (5 pm Panamá EST) with the subject “EbA Meeting Application”. Early applications will have better chances. Participants receiving funding will be paid transport, accommodation and food costs.
Candidates will be assessed based on the EbA experience they present, on their possibility to influence government and technical cooperation projects or programmes, and on their contribution to the EbA community so far. Any application received after 19 December 2014 will not be considered.
Those interested in participating in the meeting self-financing their costs should send the participation form completed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 16 January 2014 (5 pm Panamá EST) with the subject “EbA Meeting Participation”.
Call : Friday 5 September 2014
Applications deadline : Friday 19 December 2014
Results : Friday 9 January 2015
EbA International Meeting : Thursday 26 and Friday 27 February 2015
The role of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) networks in improving marine ecosystem resilience in the Caribbean region was at the core of discussions at the recently concluded workshop on “MPA and resilience to climate change” in St Martin.
The workshop, which sought to build MPA local and national capacities to increase the resilience of the coastal marine environments to climate change and strengthen regional cooperation and action, attracted many MPA managers and relevant stakeholders of the EU overseas territories across the Caribbean.
Resources from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Managers (CaMPAM) and the Regional Activity Centre for specially protected areas and wildlife in the Caribbean region (SPAW-RAC) supported event are now available, including a keynote presentation by Dr Owen Day, Director of Ecosystem Based Adaptation, CARIBSAVE and Director of the Caribbean Fish Sanctuary Partnership (C-FISH). Dr Day’s presentation is titled “Impacts and Costs of Sea Level Rise in the Caribbean and Role of Ecosystem-Based Adaptation”.
C-FISH is a project being implemented as part of the the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s regional Implementation Plan for climate resilience.
Peruse the resources here.