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CCCCC adds LiDAR to boost Caribbean’s Climate Change Fight

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

Belmopan, Belize; November 30, 2018 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) through the USAID-funded Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP) is about to launch its most recent initiative to significantly boost the Caribbean’s ability to limit the ravages of climate change by improving its capability to monitor and plan for physical changes to the land and marine environments.

On Monday, December 3, the Centre will launch a US$2million Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) System, acquired through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) three-year CCAP Project.

The acquisition of an Airborne LiDAR system by the Centre – also known as the 5Cs – is possibly the most significant achievement for data capture in the Caribbean. For decades, countries of the region have clamoured for LiDAR produced data the high cost all but prohibited its application; and the use of  LiDAR was made more difficult since such services had to be sourced from outside the region, adding to costs. At the same time, the requirement for more accurate data to provide evidence of climate change impacts has grown and is rapidly becoming the standard for climate financing.

The purchase of the LiDAR system was made possible through funds provided by the Barbados-based USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Office through the 5Cs executed Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP).  The use of an airborne LiDAR is the result of a collaboration with Maya Island Air (MIA), a locally-owned Belizean airline company. These critical developments also influenced the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Italy to provide financial support for the LiDAR system, which is soon to become operational in a region-wide exercise to map some 10,000 square miles of vulnerable coastal areas in the region.

Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Executive Director of the Centre welcomed the launch of the Centre’s latest tool in building climate resilience.  The system enhances the Centre’s capacity to provide the region with critical data essential for building climate resilient communities. He noted that with the LiDAR system, “Caribbean leaders will now have access to the data set necessary for the development of tools for use in vulnerability and capacity assessments and early warning systems, and tangible adaptation and disaster risk reduction initiatives.  The documentation of the state of the current coastal bathymetric and topographic environment will allow for the development and implementation of appropriate sustainability policies.”

The technology is capable of simultaneously gathering topographic and bathymetric (depth of the seafloor) data, which are to be used to provide detailed information of the region’s coastal areas, reefs and seafloor to produce flood and inundation maps and other products.

Christopher Cushing, Mission Director of the USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean is expected to formally hand over the equipment to the 5Cs at the launch. This is the Agency’s latest contribution to the regional data enhancement capability under the USAID CCAP. In addition to the LiDAR, five data buoys have been added to the regional Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network, and 50 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) have been added to the regional climate and weather monitoring and data collection efforts in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

The project has also provided a computer server that will enhance the input, processing and sharing of the vast amount of data generated from the equipment acquired under the project. The information will ensure that the CCCCC, its partners and regional Universities are able to provide accurate and country-specific climate and climate change data to help countries improve their countries abilities to protect their citizens from the effects of climate change.

Dr Leslie has expressed gratitude to USAID,  the Caribbean Development Bank, the Government of Italy and his own staff for the commitment to the Centre and the region.  The Executive Director also commended Maya Island Air for collaborating with the Centre to outfit a plane with the LiDAR.

With a brand new Cessna aircraft fully customised to fly LiDAR missions, the partnership between the 5Cs and Maya Island Air also represents a new era of public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility for the benefit of resilience building to the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean.

“Their support will help us to provide a system that was otherwise prohibitive.  It is the tangible demonstration of the Airline’s corporate contribution to the Region’s Climate Change initiative”, said Dr. Leslie.

The USAID CCAP Project is helping to build the capacities of regional, national, and local partners to generate and use climate data for decision-making in government and other sectors. The project is also working to strengthen the ability of beneficiary countries to develop successful proposals to access international climate financing.

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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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CCCCC, Govts of Belize and Italy break ground for Multi-Purpose Facility

L-R: Keith Nichols, Head of the Project Development and Management Unit, CCCCC; Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC; Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy; Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Government of Belize; Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of Natural Resources, Government of Belize; Mr. Joseph McGann, Senior Project Manager, CCCCC

Belmopan, Belize; November 28, 2018 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), in collaboration with the Governments of Belize and Italy, held a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a Community Multi-purpose Emergency Centre (CMEC) at the Victor Galvez Stadium, in San Ignacio, Belize on Wednesday, November 28, 2018.

Breaking of the Ground – (L-R): Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Government of Belize; Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy; Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC

The project “Reducing the Carbon Footprint of San Ignacio and Five Surrounding Villages in the Cayo District” is being implemented as a collaborative effort by the Government of Belize and the CCCCC with financial support from the Government of Italy. Approximately 25,000 residents in San Ignacio and surrounding villages are expected to benefit directly from the project at completion. The project include replacing existing street lighting in San Ignacio with more efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights and the building of a multi-purpose facility for use as a disaster shelter and a community centre.

Project Manager Mr Joseph McGann noted that the project aims to build the recipient communities’ resilience to climate change and climate variability, which has led to increased intensity of extreme meteorological events in the form of hurricanes, floods, and droughts. These events have had profound negative impacts on national economies of Small Islands and Coastal Developing States (SIDS), threatening the survival of the most vulnerable populations and communities in these States, including Belize. With the implementation of the project, the Government of Belize, aims to:

  1. Quantify the benefits to be derived from the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission, through the use of more efficient lighting systems; and
  2. Reduce the vulnerability of rural communities to the impacts of extreme weather and other disaster generating events.

Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Government of Belize

“We are extremely grateful for this collaboration with the Government and People of Italy. Belize, like so many Small Island Developing States, is disproportionately affected by the devastating impacts of climate change. Today, with this collaborative project with the Italians and the 5Cs, our community moves one step closer to adapt to what can be these devastating consequences of climate change.” said Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, for the Government of Belize.

Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy

Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy told the gathering: “The great job of the Centre, directed by Dr. Leslie and his staff, the Government of Belize and the Government of Italy, made this miracle because this was something which was important for this region. And all (of us) together with collaboration and sincere decision, we have made this project and other things are already operative. I am proud that my country can contribute to this.”

Replacement of streetlights is expected to reduce energy consumption within the project area from 150W to 60W, per lamp, a 60% reduction in energy use; reduce emissions by 184 metric tons of CO2 per year; and result in some US$40,000 savings, which can be used for the benefit of the communities.

The Community Multi-purpose Emergency Centre (CMEC) will provide the residents of five rural communities and the town of San Ignacio with a central self-contained Centre that can be used both as a shelter in the event of a weather-related and other emergencies, and for other community social and sporting purposes and events. The five rural communities to be served by the Centre are Trenchtown, Kontiki, Boiton Area, Mosquitoville and Shawville.

The completed Community Centre will be equipped with an independently powered hybrid grid-connected PV renewable energy system, a rainwater storage system; an emergency communication system to ensure its continued operation during a major weather or other disaster event. Construction of the CMEC commenced November 22, 2018 and is expected to be completed by May 31, 2019 at an estimated cost of BZ$1.6 million. Funding is being provided by the Government of Italy and the Government of Belize.

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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 recognised 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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CCCCC, Governments of Italy and St Lucia plan Early Warning System

Photo shows participants in a series of meetings to discuss the development of an early warning system for St Lucia. The project is being funded by the Government of Italy through the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea – Contributed photo

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and representatives from the Governments of Italy and Saint Lucia held a series of meetings this week, to discuss the development of an early warning system (EWS) for the island.

The Project is being funded by the Government of Italy through its Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea. Using geographic information, the system is expected to forecast the potential effects of national disasters, provide flood mapping and other sector- relevant and necessary information to aid decision-making during events. As the primary stakeholder, the Government of Saint Lucia would be responsible for the operation and management of the system, thereby allowing the country to adequately prepare for major events and conduct comprehensive post-disaster assessments.

Speaking at the meeting Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development the Hon Dr. Gail Rigobert, emphasised the Government’s commitment to the initiative and reiterated the necessity of the system for development planning within the challenges presented by climate change.

Ms. Emmanuela Vignola represented the Ministry’s Director General, Francesco de la Camera.  Representatives from the National Emergency Management Office, Meteorology Department, Water and Hydrology and the Ministry of Budget and Planning represented the Government of Saint Lucia. The Centre was represented by its Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Ms. Sharon Lindo, Policy Adviser and Mr. Albert Jones, Instrumentation Specialist.


The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) 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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US$650,000 Grant for Bartica ‘Green’ Town project

A section of Bartica. Photo Credit: Guyana Times

The Government of Guyana has received a US$650,000 grant from the Government of Italy in support of its Model ‘Green’ Town, Bartica Project. The primary objective of the grant is to establish a reliable point of reference for the existing state of energy use in Bartica. The data generated from this will be used for future measurements and predictions for evidence-based decision-making and pursuance of projects and programs.

Bartica, has been designated the model town for ‘Green’ Initiatives. This project is therefore, located within the agenda of the Green Economy Framework in lieu of Guyana’s overarching sustainable development architecture.

To this end, activities undertaken will include sensitisation and awareness of Bartica’s populace, conducting of Household Baseline Survey Study, Energy Audits of public institutions, facilities and street lighting in Bartica, Transportation Sector energy audit, among others.

These efforts are being facilitated by the Office of Climate Change, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency, in partnership with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

The project is set to be officially launched on Monday, June 5, 2017 in Bartica.

Credit: The Government of Guyana
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