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Belize to Make its Energy Sector More Climate Resilient

 

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photo credit: Jose Sanchez

Belize will strengthen the climate resilience of its energy sector as a result of a US$8 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors.

“A major concern we often grapple with is extreme weather,” said Frank Mena, Belize’s Minister of State for Finance, Public Service, Energy & Public Utilities. “The impact of such events often leads to major set-backs to our development progress,” he added.

Belize is often in the direct path of tropical storms and hurricanes, which are expected to intensify due to climate change. This has caused many human casualties and widespread damages, resulting in costly disruptions of vital public services. The impact of Hurricane Dean in 2007 resulted in US$80-100 million in damages, equivalent to 6-8 percent of GDP, and a near countrywide power blackout. Likewise, Hurricane Earl left another wave of disruptions last month.

“Building climate resilience is a key priority for Belize. This project aims to support the government’s continued efforts to make energy and power systems better prepared and more resilient to storms, hurricanes and natural hazards,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.

Among the concrete results to be achieved by the Energy Resilience for Climate Adaptation Project in Belize are:

  • Improved capacity for long-term energy planning, taking into account the impact of climate change;
  • Better monitoring of weather and localized impacts of climate change through the installation of meteorological and hydro-meteorological stations across the country;
  • Enhanced electricity supply security despite weather events, by strengthening the transmission network and reducing the likelihood of service disruptions;
  • Improved preparedness through the design and implementation of an Emergency Response and Recovery Plan for the power sector;
  • Revitalized communication network of the power company, ensuring better command and control coordination during response and recovery operations.

This four year project is financed by a US$8 million grant from the Global Environment Facility’s Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and US$3.9 million counterpart financing from the Government of Belize and the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) company.

Credit: World Bank

UN Secretary-General Announces “Climate Action 2016” Partnership

The Secretary-General said: “I am heartened by the significant and growing coalitions that are emerging to tackle the challenges of climate change and realize new opportunities. I am pleased to be joined by so many key partners to scale climate action efforts and make them sustainable.”

The Secretary-General, joined by the World Bank; the Global Environment Facility; the Compact of Mayors and Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; We Mean Business; and the University of Maryland, will co-sponsor a “Climate Action 2016” summit of leaders from government, business, cities and localities, civil society and academia on May 5–6 in Washington, D.C.

This high-level gathering will complement ongoing implementation efforts and catalyze actionable, concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas, including: cities; land use; resilience; energy; transport; tools for decision makers; and finance.

Source:  UNFCC Newsroom

5Cs funded climate-smart facility opened in Saint Lucia

Renovated and retrofitted Marchand Community Centre; Credit: Earl Green

Renovated and retrofitted Marchand Community Centre; Credit: Earl Green

A team from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre led by Executive Director Dr Kenrick Leslie was present yesterday for the official opening of the Marchand Community Centre, a climate-smart facility near Castries, Saint Lucia. The Marchand  Community Centre was renovated and retrofitted as a pilot adaptation project under the Special Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change ( SPACC): Implementation of Adaptation Measures in Coastal Zones Project— a multi component initiative executed by the Centre with co-financing from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) through the World Bank and the Government of Saint Lucia.

Other participating countries included Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and The Commonwealth of Dominica.
Dr Kenrick Leslie, CBE; Credit: Earl Green

Dr Kenrick Leslie, CBE; Credit: Earl Green

The community centre was renovated and retrofitted to demonstrate the design and implementation of appropriate interventions to reinforce critical infrastructure that can withstand the effects of intensified wind speeds from category three and above hurricanes. Dr Leslie told the gathering of community members, government officials and media that the US$300, 000 facility, 60% of which was financed through the Centre, incorporates new wind speed engineering design and is an energy efficiency success story. He noted that the facility features a US$36, 000 photovoltaic (PV) component funded by the 5Cs, Government of Saint Lucia and Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP) that will ensure the provision of power during outages, which will prove essential in the event of a storm.

Reinforced critical infrastructure such as the Marchand Community Centre, a multipurpose facility slated to also function as a hurricane shelter, is a key part of efforts to make the Caribbean more climate resilient, especially as scientists predict an average of three to four Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year by 2025 in the Atlantic Basin.

This successful pilot project has already yielded significant systemic changes that will benefit Saint Lucia and the wider region. These changes include:

  • Incorporation of the Marchand  Community Centre into Saint Lucia’s National Emergency Management Plan (NEMP)-Cabinet Conclusion 1159/2009 of September 24, 2009
  • Incorporation of design wind speed standards into Saint Lucia’s Development Control Authority (DCA) process for commercial and public buildings
  • Incorporation of improved engineering standards into Saint Lucia’s Building Codes 
  • Strengthening of the Caribbean Unified Building Code
  • Training, promulgation of standards
The multipurpose facility will be used for a myriad of activities, including:
  1. National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) storage facility (One section of the ground floor)
  2. Weekly Feeding Programme (One section of the ground floor)
  3. Daily Boxing Programme (Top floor)
  4. Meetings/community events (Top floor)
  5. Shelter during natural disasters, including mudslides (for example the Black Mallet community) and hurricanes (First floor)
Marchand Community Centre Before Renovation; Credit: Earl Green

Marchand Community Centre Before Renovation; Credit: Earl Green

Improvements made to the Marchand Community Centre
    • Redesign and replace of roof
    • Hurricane strapped roof structure
    • Natural ventilation via dormers
    • Impact resistant windows
    • Energy-efficient lighting and appliance
    • Generation of electricity using photovoltaic (PV) technology, including battery backup
    • Ramp
    • Strengthened stairways
    • Balcony (sustainability) facing field
    • Water storage
           - Potable water
           - Rainwater harvesting  
    • Water conservation, through the use of low-flush toilets, basins etc.

5Cs launches first CARICOM-wide energy efficiency project

eNERGY EFFICIENCY

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre launched a four year (2013- 2017) multi-million dollar regional energy efficiency project on August 13, 2013. The US$12,484,500 Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Caribbean Buildings Project, which is jointly funded by a grant (US$4,859,000) from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and co-financing in the sum of US$7,625,500 from the Centre and five Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% in the near-term and make the region’s energy sectors more efficient through increased use of renewable energy.

Approximately 30 key stakeholders involved in the project, including representatives from the five participating countries (Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) were in attendance for the launch event in Belize City, Belize.

Dr. Al Binger, Energy Science Advisor at the Centre and Technical Coordinator for the ESD Project, says Belize will be the first CARICOM country to begin implementation.

The project is the first regional project of its kind in CARICOM.

  The project is expected to:
  1. Increase the number of successful commercial applications of energy efficiency and conservation in buildings
  2. Expand the market for renewable energy technology applications for power generation and productive uses
  3. Enhance institutional capacity to design, implement and monitor energy projects for sustainable development
  4. Provide access and availability of financing energy efficiency and conservation and renewable energy projects Increase awareness and knowledge about sustainable energy among key stakeholders.

Dr. Binger says the project is particularly important as the region imports in excess of 170 million barrels of petroleum products, annually, with 30 million barrels used in the electric sector, much of which is consumed by buildings across the region. Therefore, improving the efficiency of energy use in the building sector is a project priority.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the GEF implementing agency, and the Centre as the executing agency. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) will provide technical support.

Also read: Brian Bernal Tackles Climate Change Resilience and Building Codes in the Caribbean

UNISDR Policy Analysis of Disaster Management and Climate Adaptation in the Pacific

YardEdge

YardEdge

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat (UNISDR) has released a study on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CAA) in the Pacific, titled “Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the Pacific: an institutional and policy analysis.” The study analyzes the level of integration of DRR and CCA activities across the region.

DRR is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through analysis and management of their causal factors. It reduces exposure to hazards, lessens the vulnerability of people and assets, and improves management of the land and environment and preparedness for adverse events (UNISDR, 2009).

CAA is defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCCC) as ‘adjustments in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects that moderate harm and exploit beneficial opportunities. This can include: (a) adapting development to gradual changes in average temperature, sea level and precipitation; and (b) reducing and managing the risks associated with more frequent, severe and unpredictable  extreme weather events” (UNISDR, 2010).

The 67-page report includes analysis of seven Pacific island countries: the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. The results indicate that despite the low level of integration at the operational level, countries are making efforts to develop Joint National Action Plans for DRR and CCA.

The report says there is strong evidence of an increase in the observed frequency and intensity of weather and climate-related hazards. An assertion buttressed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change IPCC), which anticipates that in the short to medium term many impacts of climate change may manifest themselves through changes in the frequency, intensity or duration of extreme weather events. Having made these observations, the report makes an urgent call for a paradigm shift in DRR noting that the recent Global Assessment Report on DRR shows that mortality and economic loss risk are heavily concentrated in developing countries, disproportionately affecting the poor and posing a real threat to the achievement of the MDGs.

The report also outlines challenges and barriers to integration, highlights evolving good practice towards integration, and provides recommendations for regional and national stakeholders for further action. Key recommendations include: the establishment and maintenance of a database of DRR, CCA and related projects, and a database of Pacific-focused case studies and good practices; to co-convene meetings on disaster risk management (DRM) and CCA at times and locations that maximize coordination and integration opportunities; to develop an integrated Pacific Regional Policy Framework for DRM, CCA and mitigation for implementation post-2015; and for donors, Pacific island governments, nongovernmental and relevant regional organisations to work collectively and promote greater integration of DRR and CCA.

The study was produced in collaboration with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with resources from the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Peruse the full report here.

5Cs Joins First Forum of the Standing Committee on Finance

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liasion Officer

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liasion Officer

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre’s (CCCCC) International and Regional Liaison Officer, Mr Carlos Fuller, was a panelist at the First Forum of the Standing Committee on Climate in Barcelona, Spain on May 28, 2013. At the historic forum addressing “financing and investment drivers for adaptation activities”, Mr Fuller discussed the Centre’s adaptation efforts across the Caribbean. He noted that these activities are in support of the mandate that the CARICOM Heads of Government endorsed in the region’s Implementation Plan for the “Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change”.

Other members of the panel included Mr Juan Hoffmaster of Bolivia, who represented the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee, Ms. Smita Nakooda of the Overseas Development Institute and Ms Saliha Dobardzic of the LDCF/SCCF of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The panel was facilitated by the co-chair of the Work Programme on Long-term Finance, Mr Naderev Sano of the Philippines.

The Standing Committee is a body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established at COP 16. Its mandate is improving coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing, rationalization of the financial mechanism, mobilization of financial resources and measurement, reporting and verification of support provided to developing country Parties.

Dr Hugh Sealy of Barbados, the Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of the CDM was also a panellist at the forum addressing “Financing and investment drivers for mitigation activities”. Among the 100 attendees was Mr Derreck Oderson of Barbados, the Chairman of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC) and Mr Raymond Landveld, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Suriname to the United Nations who is a member of the Standing Committee.

The Forum was organized by the Standing Committee on Finance of the UNFCCC with support by the World Bank Institute and the International Emission Trading Association (IETA). Panellists included representatives of national governments, international organizations such as the South Center, the International Finance Corporation, the IDB, GIZ, OECD and the private sector, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Standard Bank (Nairobi). Carbon Expo 2013 will be held at the same venue on 29 to 31 May 2013.

At the conclusion of the Forum, the co-chair of the standing Committee, Ambassador Dianne Black-Layne of Antigua and Barbuda noted that the insights of the Forum would inform the next meeting of the Forum to be held in Bonn, Germany in June.

The Forum was formally closed by Secretary of State of the Environment of Spain, Mr Federico Ramos de Armas and Ms Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC.

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