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Incoming Chair of CARICOM prioritises benefits for people in 2016

Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

Incoming Chairman of CARICOM, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize

“People of the Caribbean Community, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to. Let us strive to make 2016 one to remember as a landmark year for our integration movement.” – The Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize and Incoming Chairman of CARICOM

With the firm resolution to strengthen the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to provide greater benefits for its peoples, the Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize assumes the six-month chairmanship of the Community from 1 January 2016.

He succeeds the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados.

In a message to usher in the New Year, Prime Minister Barrow pointed out that there was a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to.

Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community. We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim,” he said.

Making a commitment to build on past successes and to become more efficient in the face of the “sternest economic test that Member States have had to face in recent memory,” the incoming-Chair looked forward to increasing the pace both of the CARICOM Reform process and the implementation of the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019.

The Plan, which is designed to build CARICOM’s economic, environmental, social and technological resilience, has the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as an important vehicle in that drive for greater resilience. Therefore, Prime Minister Barrow signalled CARICOM’s commitment to vigorously pursue the consolidation of the Single Market.

“We will be making our governance arrangements more flexible and dynamic.  We will be continuing efforts in the coming year to revise those arrangements for our integration movement to become more effective and relevant to the needs of our people.”

A significant element of his resolution as the New Year dawns is encouraging more Member States to join the Belize, Barbados, Dominica, and Guyana in making the Caribbean Court of Justice their final court.

In my view, another relevant factor in the lives of our people is the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).  The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community.  During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more Member States joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ,” Prime Minister Barrow said.

He emphasised the strength in unity in achieving CARICOM’s plans, exemplifying the manner in which it rallied to attain the objectives of the three major international conferences in the past year, most recently at COP 21 in Paris.

“The binding decisions taken on Financing for Development, the 2030 Development Goals and Climate Change have great potential to boost our growth and development and bolster our resilience.  It is therefore in our interest to use our coordinated foreign policy to advocate at every opportunity for urgent implementation of those decisions.  In so doing we will be seeking the support of our International Development Partners as well as other Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States (SIDS),” the Incoming-Chairman stated.

“I assume the chairmanship of our Community, following the incisive and decisive leadership of the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Honourable Freundel Stuart.  His guidance during the past six months has been highly appreciated by his colleague Heads of Government,” he added.

Credit: CARICOM Today

5Cs Wins Energy Globe Award for Renewable Energy and Potable Water Project in Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines

St.Vincent_and_theGrenadines_banner2015

SVG Certificate

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) received the 2015 Energy Globe Award for its renewable energy and potable water work in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Energy Globe, an internationally recognized trademark for sustainability, is one of the most important environmental prizes today with 177 participating countries. The award, which is made from a cross-section of over 1, 500 entries annually, is given in recognition of outstanding performance in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource conservation.

The CCCCC won the 2015 Energy Globe National Award for the project “Special Programme for Adaptation to Climate Change”. The project was executed on the island of Bequia in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and focuses on the production and provision of clean drinking water for more than 1,000 people. This is being done through the acquisition and installation of a reverse osmosis desalination plant. The project is deemed highly sustainable as the water input is inexhaustible sea water and the energy used is solar, a renewable, carbon-free source.

 Learn more about the project!

The landmark project was also presented by Energy Globe as part of a global online campaign (www.energyglobe.info) on World Environment Day. The campaign ran under the patronage of UNESCO and in cooperation with UNEP and received significant recognition.

“To be honoured with this award is a great recognition of our work for a better environment and motivates us to continue our endeavours in the future,” – Henrik Personn, Renewable Energy Expert, CCCCC

Since completing this key project, we have applied the lessons learned in Belize and on the Grenadian islands of Petite Martinique and Carriacou. Review the poster below to learn more about the progress we are making in Grenada:

Credit: CCCCC

Do you have an excellent project? Submit it for the Energy Globe Award 2016. Review the details on www.energyglobe.info.

The Green Climate Fund Accredits the 5Cs!

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

5Cs Accredited As Regional Implementing Entity by the Green Climate Fund:

Other accredited institutions include Conservation International, the World Bank and IDB

Songdo, Republic of Korea| July 09, 2015― The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre has been accredited as a regional implementing entity by the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a key multilateral financing mechanism to support climate action in developing countries. The announcement made today at the tenth meeting of the GCF Board means the CCCCC will act as a channel through which the Fund will deploy resources to the Caribbean.

This is a key achievement for the small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean. Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie says:

“This is the first such accreditation for the Caribbean region. It speaks to the high calibre of work being done in the region and the strength of our internal systems. We will now move forward with a set of ambitious and bankable projects that we have been developing under a directive from CARICOM Heads”.

The CCCCC is one of 13 institutions accredited by the GCF today, including Conservation International, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and others. The GCF notes that the expansion in accreditation is demand driven.

 We are building a vibrant network of partners – which is evidence of a rising demand for an active GCF,” said Ms. Héla Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund. “Seven months ago we invited institutions for the first time to become partners with us. Today, close to 100 well-established institutions from around the world are working towards becoming GCF accredited entities,” she said. “We have added to this momentum by boosting our number of accredited entities to 20.

Accreditation to GCF is open to sub-national, national, regional and international, public, private and non-governmental institutions which are eligible to apply through the Fund’s Online Accreditation System (OAS). Applicants are assessed on their abilities to meet fiduciary, environmental, social, and gender requirements set out by the Fund.

 The 13 institutions accredited today are:

  1. Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a public-private institution that provides support for sustainable development of infrastructure in Africa, based in Nigeria;
  2. Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a development finance institute, headquartered in France;
  3. Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), a public organization that coordinate’s the Caribbean’s response to climate change, headquartered in Belize;
  4. Conservation International Foundation (CI), a non-profit environmental organization based in the United States;
  5. Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), a regional development bank, headquartered in Venezuela;
  6. Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft (Deutsche Bank AG), an international investment bank based in Germany;
  7. Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF), which supports projects that ensure sustainable use of natural resources;
  8. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral development bank, headquartered in the United Kingdom;
  9. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a multilateral development bank, headquartered in the United States;
  10. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), together known as the World Bank, headquartered in the United States;
  11. Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda (MINIRENA), which focuses on environment, climate change, and natural resources management at the national and local levels;
  12. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), a national financial institution based in India; and the
  13. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered in Kenya.

Do you know how climate change affects the Caribbean? Peruse this video of Five Things You Should Know.

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The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.

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UNU-EHS and UPEACE Online Course on Climate Change, International Law and Human Security

The University for Peace (UPEACE) and UNU-EHS are pleased to invite applications for a new certificate online training course on the topic of “Climate Change, International Law and Human Security”. This six weeks online course will be co-taught by experts from both institutions and will take place from April 8th to May 19th, 2015.

The course is intended for staff members of the United Nations and its agencies; staff members of other inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, and government agencies; academics; practitioners; and students, who are working or researching in fields related to climate change and environmental, human rights, international law, development, and migration, amongst others. UPEACE and UNU-EHS aim to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.

The course has a limited number of seats available. Qualified participants will be admitted on the combined basis of first-come-first served, gender equality and regional representation.

To apply, please click here.

Credit: UNU-EHS

Environmental Psychologist: Uncertainty Drives Inaction on Climate Adaptation

Environmental Psychologist and Geographer Dr. Stefanie Baasch says uncertainties about climate change impacts, especially at the local and regional level, could drive inaction. Read more in her exclusive contribution to Caribbean Climate.

Adaptation to climate change is a new and challenging task on the political agendas. Developing strategies and measures for

Environmental Psychologist and Geographer Dr. Stefanie Baasch

Environmental Psychologist and Geographer Dr. Stefanie Baasch

adaptation are not easy to find because adaptation takes place under conditions of uncertainty, complexity and dynamic developments. On the scientific level there are still deep uncertainties in predicting climate change impacts especially at the local and regional scale.

Also, climate change impacts may interact with each other and may furthermore have a greater adverse effect when acting together compared to when they’re acting in isolation. But even if this data would be available in the future, adaptation still remains challenging because of its high complexity and its dependence on dynamic and interacting societal and natural framework conditions. For example, adaptation capacities are highly dependent on economic and demographic developments.

Simultaneously, adaptation is closely linked to local adaptation needs which are based on locally diverse vulnerabilities. This means that adaptation not only calls for strategies which are focusing on changing natural conditions, but also for integrative strategies that takes both societal and natural conditions into account. Adaptation to climate change is a cross cutting issue that interacts with and influences many policy fields, including nature protection, biodiversity and societal development.

From a psychological perspective, dealing with uncertainties is difficult because people in general feel much more comfortable in decision-making based on certainties, as such uncertainty could lead to justifying inaction. Therefore, dealing with these uncertainties is a crucial task for adaptation to climate change. This includes methodological developments and implementation of flexible approaches which enables stakeholders and decision makers to find solutions and strategies towards adaptation.

Effective and efficient adaptation is calling for governance approaches that involves both public and private actors in the process. The integration of regional and local knowledge and the high local responsibility for supporting and implementing adaptation measures  will foster cooperation needs between a variety of actors. Adaptation to climate change is a policy challenge which consists of balancing multi scale, short- mid- and long-term and conflict-ridden (e.g. water and land use) factors.

In general, adaptation is much more a continuous social learning process in which a wide range of actors (policy makers, sectoral stakeholders, citizens, NGOs, researchers etc.) define options for adaptation and negotiate their priorities. That means, adaptation needs methods which are addressing or enabling such social learning processes between diverse actors and therefore have to be participatory and inclusive.

Dr. Baasch is a senior researcher at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Department of Environmental Politics currently conducting research in Belize on how NGOs and other key actors, including community based organizations integrate adaptation to climate change in their programs, as well as  how they are producing and integrating different kinds of knowledge about local adaptation needs. This study is supported by a travel grant from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in Germany. 

Tell us what you think of Dr. Baasch’s commentary in the comment box below. To contribute to Caribbean Climate email: Tyrone Hall at thall@caribbeanclimate.bz.

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