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Caribbean focuses on youth unemployment

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Gladstone.

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Gladstone.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday that the 9th Meeting of Caribbean Labor Ministers has concluded with a commitment to strengthen social dialogue further both at the national and regional levels.

The ILO also said the meeting in Port-of-Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital, ended with renewed impetus to focus on creative solutions to the problem of youth unemployment and the greening of the economy.

The meeting, themed “Decent Work for Sustainable Development,” was attended by 21 delegations headed by 14 ministers with responsibility for labor issues.

The presidents and other representatives of the Caribbean Congress of Labor (CCL) and Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) were also present, along with representatives from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), and U.N. Agencies (ECLAC, UNESCO,PAHO/WHO and U.N. RC Office Jamaica), as well as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, attended the meeting and held bilateral meetings with chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Prime Minister of Bahamas Perry Christie; and the Governor-General of the Bahamas, Dame Marguerite Pindling.

The ILO said Caribbean Labour Ministers at the Meeting called for the systemic institutionalization of national social dialogue processes and culture, which embrace policy areas.

They agreed to support the capacity of social partners to ensure that their interventions to tripartite forums and consultations will add substantive value to the processes, the ILO said.

Given the impact of climate change on the world of work, the ministers called for long-term policy development, so that countries are sufficiently resilient to meet the related challenges.

It was agreed that new business opportunities, as well as education and skills-training policies, would be implemented in response to the anticipated impact of climate on the workers, the ILO said.

The ministers called for closer collaboration between the ILO and CARICOM, particularly on youth employment, technical, vocational education and training (TVET), labor market information systems and environmental sustainability.

The ministers said that those countries not-yet signatory to the regional “Free of Child Labor” initiative, should be provided with information to consider becoming a party to it, according to the ILO.

It said that it officially informed the Ministers of Labor about a new regional project with CEC and CCL, with funding from the European Union (EU), aimed at strengthening the capacity of workers’ and employers’ organizations in the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Delegates examined the state of youth unemployment in the Caribbean region, together with public and private partners and institutions such as the government of the Republic of China, Canada, Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, and the ACS.

In this session, it was proposed that anticipating skills requirements could contribute to reduce skills mismatches, the ILO said.

It was also suggested that colleges and training institutions work closely with social partners in developing work-based learning opportunities, beyond apprenticeships and internship programs and closer to labor market demand.

The ILO said session highlighted the need for strong corporate social responsibilities to link youth to the world of work.

Regional certification to ensure consistency of qualifications and opportunities for free movement of youth, by developing fair and sound immigration policies, were also discussed.

Ryder emphasized the importance of reducing carbon emissions for sustainable economic growth, generating new jobs and skills.

With sessions led by representatives from CCCCC in Belize, and the ILO Green Jobs Program in Geneva, climate change and its impact on the work place was discussed.

With higher temperatures, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity threatening lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region, the need for increased technical and financial support for the development of renewable energy in the Caribbean was raised, the ILO said.

Ryder said that the Caribbean has strong traditions of tripartite social dialogue, and mentioned the good practices and innovative solutions which the Caribbean countries are able to implement and share.

Credit: Caribbean Life News

UNEP ‘Our Planet’ 2015 Focuses on SDGs

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Credit: UNEP

An integrated, universal approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda is essential, according to the 2015 issue of ‘Our Planet,’ a publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner discusses the importance of integration, universality, climate change mitigation, governance and accountability, and financing. He writes that linking the SDGs with climate change mitigation will help countries build energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructure and achieve sustainable development.

In an article by Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President, Palau, he explains that healthy, productive, resilient oceans are critical to preserving and restoring the balance between humans and nature, and ensuring economic prosperity, food security, health and culture, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Remengesau advocates for a stand-alone SDG on oceans, and says Palau’s national conservation efforts must be “amplified and augmented by work at the international level” in order to make a difference.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights should guide the elaboration of the SDGs, writes Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He stresses that human rights, such as the rights to education, food, health and water, are about empowerment, not charity, and underscores the importance of empowering citizens to be involved in crafting and implementing the SDGs. He adds that “universality applies not just to universal application, but also to universal participation and ownership of the goals.”

UK Environmental Audit Select Committee Chair Joan Walley cautions that reducing the number of SDGs “risks relegating environmental sustainability to a side issue,” and could shatter “the carefully negotiated consensus.” She also argues for communicating the goals to the public, particularly youth.

Other articles address: the European Commission’s (EC) energy and climate framework, which will promote a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy; the UN Environment Assembly’s (UNEA) role in moving towards an integrated, universal approach to the SDGs; the role of central banks in shifting towards inclusive, environmentally sustainable development; a carbon pricing system; national accounting systems and inequalities; and chemicals and hazardous substances, among other issues.

The issue also highlights the Montreal Protocol as an “ozone success” and a model for achieving a green economy and the SDGs, achievements by UNEP’s Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), and the UNEP Finance Initiative’s work to align the financial system with a low-carbon, carbon resilient green economy. [Publication: Our Planet: Time for Global Action]

Credit: SIDS Policy & Practice

Tackling climate change as a single SDG could backfire

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Image credit: Christian Als / Panos

The best way to deal with climate change is by integrating it into other development goals, says Ilan Kelman.
Climate change is a major challenge — and it sits among many other major challenges targeted by the post-2015 development goals.Biodiversity, health, education, energy and others influence and are influenced by climate change. So goals about them will also mean action on climate change.

Development goals that focus on the root causes of sustainability challenges bring people together; they also minimise the risk that goals will interfere with each other. But highlighting a single environmental driving factor such as climate change can be counter-productive.

Climate change action is usually separated into two categories, despite continual calls for merging them. The first is mitigation, which refers to reducing emissions and increasing the removal of greenhouse gases. The second is adaptation, which means reducing climate changes adverse impacts and exploiting its positive impacts.Several of the currently proposed Sustainable Development Goals, outside of Goal 13 on climate change, already address both mitigation and adaptation.
Mitigation connections
By design, mitigation is addressed through Goals 7 on energy, 12 and 14 on resources, and 15 on land use, among others. Achieving sustainable resource management and preventing pollution necessarily means reducing fossil fuel dependency while increasing energy efficiency. And a goal to reduce all pollution, by definition, tackles greenhouse gases.Within pollution-prevention goals (such as 6 and 14), quantitative targets could be developed for a long list of specific emissions, including those associated with climate change. Having a goal that selects only one, such as carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent, excludes many persistent organic pollutants and smog contributors.Similarly, growing and protecting trees is important for mitigation. Butconsidering all ecosystems together — as done by the goals on water, resources and land use — is more effective because it gives people sustainable livelihoods based on using natural resources without harming ecosystems. That addresses the root causes of sustainability problems and must necessarily achieve mitigation without excluding people or sacrificing other ecosystems for forests.
Adaptation predates climate concern
Adaptation involves actions such as managing waterways to avoid extreme floods and droughts, protecting built heritage sites against freezethaw cycles and helping people who cannot afford temperature control inside their homes to survive hot and cold spells. Such actions are needed irrespective of climate change.

“If development goals aim for adaptation only, without aiming for disaster risk reduction across all hazards, then resilience cannot be achieved.”

IIan Kelman 

And such actions were indeed being implemented — as part of disaster risk reduction for all hazards — long before climate change became a major concern. If goals seek reduced disaster risk across all hazards, including climate-related ones, then adaptation is incorporated by definition.

For instance, rather than proposed Goal 13.1 being to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate induced hazards and natural disasters in all countries, it could say strengthen disaster risk reduction in all countries. If development goals aim for adaptation only, without aiming for disaster risk reduction across all hazards, then resilience cannot be achieved.

What does this mean in practical terms? Hospitals ought to be built outside floodplains that are likely to expand due to climate change. But they could still collapse in the next earthquake — so they should be multi-hazard resilient, not just adapted to climate change. That requires goals encompassing, but extending beyond, adaptation.

Failing in Haiti

Are these concerns visible in reality? In a forthcoming paper, GodfreyBaldacchino and I use Haiti as an example of a climate change focus nationally and internationally failing to address underlying sustainability concerns. [1]

Before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti had prepared a National Adaptation Programme of Action for the UN and created a climate change division within the Ministry of the Environment. We can never know whether this focus on climate change distracted from preparedness for other hazards such as earthquakes.

But we do know that Haitis underdevelopment, and the exploitation of its people and natural resources by external powers, led to systemic, engrained disaster risk — including from climate-related hazards and hazard drivers. Poor governance, poverty, inequity and lack of livelihood choices contributed to that risk. We also know that solving chronic political problems of resource sharing, power relations and corruption could support disaster risk reduction, including adaptation.

How does this happen? When people have the power and resources to collaborate within their community, become involved in political and decision-making processes, and make their own life and livelihood choices, they often start calling for and implementing disaster risk reduction measures. Haiti has never been given that chance.

Conversely, mitigation and adaptation can contribute to development and sustainability, but never give the complete picture. They do not have to address the full range of drivers that fuel poverty, such as power relations and inequity. It would be just as counterproductive to aim to make Haiti entirely earthquake-resistant without considering climate change.

Integration not isolation

We could write development goals for every hazard and hazard driver. But that detracts from goals supporting sustainability irrespective of any hazard or hazard driver.

Isolating climate change, making it a field unto itself with goals unto itself, can backfire by neglecting wider sustainability topics.

Placing climate change within the wider contexts of disaster, development and sustainability will tackle both adaptation and mitigation, but not at the expense of other concerns. No sector should neglect climate change and no sector should be dominated by climate change.

Ilan Kelman is a reader in risk, resilience and global health at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and the Institute for Global Health, University College London, United Kingdom. He can be contacted viahttp://www.ilankelman.org/contact.html and @IlanKelman

Credit: SciDev.net

FAO Hosts GHG Emissions Statistics Workshop in Trinidad

Roundtable 1The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre participated in the recently concluded  (June 3-4, 2013) Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Statistics Workshop in Port of Spain. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) event was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Resources for Latin American countries. This was the second of a series of regional workshops being undertaken by the FAO to raise awareness of the importance of agricultural statistics for the preparation of GHG inventories and the development of national mitigation strategies to improve agricultural productivity, food security and environmental sustainability.

Representatives of the FAO delivered presentations on agriculture and climate change, emissions from the agriculture sector and the data required for estimating these emissions. They also presented the FAO project, Monitoring and Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Potential in Agriculture (MAGHG). The activities of the project include the development of an online agriculture, forestry and land use emissions database (FAOSTAT). The database contains the emissions from all FAO Members in these sectors from 1990 to 2010 using the IPCC 2006 methodology. Further developments in FAOSTAT will include emission projections to 2050.  Representatives of the IPCC Task Force on Inventories (TFI) presented on the use of the IPCC 2006 GHG Inventories software. Representatives of Brazil, and Ecuador presented on their national experiences in developing national  GHG inventory processes.

The workshop included interactive roundtables on climate change, mitigation and adaptation, the requirements of countries to develop inventories in the agriculture sector, and the resolution of problems to improve national GHG Inventory systems especially in light of the UNFCCC decision on biennial update reports (BUR). In Doha, COP 18 decided that countries should provide biennial update reports of their GHG inventories to supplement the inventories in their National Communications.

The representatives of the FAO and the IPCC agreed that a similar workshop could be delivered to the Members of CARICOM upon their request. The Centre will undertake consultations with the climate change authorities in these countries..

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