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Caribbean scientists say fishermen are already seeing the effects of climate change, so for a dozen or so years they’ve been designing systems and strategies to reduce the impacts on the industry.
While some work on reef gardens and strategies to repopulate over fished areas, others crunch the data and develop tools designed to prepare the region, raise awareness of climate change issues and provide the information to help leaders make decisions.
In December 2017, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) secretariat, with funding from the UK government, announced a Climate Report Card to help formulate strategies to lessen the impact of climate change on regional fisheries.
“The CRFM is trying to ensure that the issue of climate change as it relates to the fisheries sector comes to the fore… because the CARICOM Heads of Government have put fish and fishery products among the priority commodities for CARICOM. It means that things that affect that development are important to us and so climate change is of primary importance,” said Peter Murray, the CRFM’s Programme Manager for Fisheries and Development.
The grouping of small, developing states are ‘fortifying’ the sectors that rely on the marine environment, or the Blue Economy, to withstand the expected ravages of climate change which scientists say will increase the intensity of hurricanes, droughts, coastal sea level rise and coral bleaching.
In its last report AR5, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported: “Many terrestrial, freshwater and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change,” patterns that are already being noted by Caribbean fishers.
In an email to IPS, Murray outlined several initiatives across the Caribbean that ,he says are crucial to regional efforts. The Report Card, which has been available since March, will provide the in-depth data governments need to make critical decisions on mitigation and adaptation. It provides information covering ocean processes such as ocean acidification; extreme events like storms, surges and sea temperature; biodiversity and civil society including fisheries, tourism and settlements.
In addition, the 17-members of the CRFM agreed to incorporate the management of fisheries into their national disaster plans, and signed off on the Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy for the fisheries sector.
“It means that anything looking at climate change and potential impacts is important to us,” Murray says.
The IPCC’s gloomy projections for world fisheries has been confirmed by a 2015 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report indicating that for the last 30 years, world fisheries have been in decline due to climate change. In the Caribbean, reduced catches are directly impacting the stability of entire communities and the diets and livelihoods of some of the region’s poorest. Further decline could devastate the economies of some islands.
But even as climate change is expected to intensify the effects of warming ocean waters, pelagic species could avoid the Caribbean altogether, bringing even more hardships. So the regional plan is centred on a Common Fisheries Policy that includes effective management, monitoring and enforcement systems and tools to improve risk planning.
In addition to the disaster plan and its other activities, the Community has over time installed a Coral Reef Early Warning System; new data collection protocols; improved computing capacity to crunch climate data; an insurance scheme to increase the resilience of fishing communities and stakeholders; as well as several tools to predict drought and excessive rainfall.
Worldwide, three billion people rely on fish as their major source of protein. The industry provides a livelihood for about 12 per cent of the world’s population and earns approximately 2.9 trillion dollars per year, the WWF reports. With regional production barely registering internationally, the Caribbean is putting all its efforts into preserving the Blue Economy, which the World Bank said earned the region 407 billion dollars in 2012.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, known regionally as the 5Cs, has coordinated and implemented a raft of programmes aimed at building systems that will help the region cope the effects of climate change.
Through collaboration with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 5Cs has been setting up an integrated network of climate and biological monitoring stations to strengthen the region’s early warning mechanism.
And as the oceans absorb more carbon, the region’s supply of conch and oysters, the mainstay of some communities, is expected to decline further. In addition, warming sea water is expected to shift migration routes for pelagic fish further north, reducing the supply of available deep sea fish even more. Added to that, competition for the dwindling resources could cause negative impacts of one industry over another.
But while scientists seek options, age-old traditions are sometimes still pitted against conservation projects. Take an incident that played out in the waters around St. Vincent and the Grenadines a few weeks ago when whale watchers witnessed the harpooning of two orcas by Vincentian fishermen.
The incident forced Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves to announce the end of what was, until then, a thriving whaling industry in the village of Barouille. For years, government turned a blind eye as fishermen breached regional and international agreements on the preservation of marine species. The continued breaches are also against the Caribbean Community’s Common Fisheries Policy that legally binds countries to a series of actions to protect and preserve the marine environment and its creatures.
On April 2, five days after the incident, Gonsalves took to the airwaves to denounce the whaling caused by “greed” and announce pending regulations to end fishing for the mammals. The incident also tarnished the island’s otherwise excellent track record at climate proofing its fishing industry.
Murray’s email on regional activities outlines SVG activities including the incorporation of the regional strategy and action plan and its partnership with several regional and international agencies and organisations to build resilience in the marine sector.
Over in the northern Caribbean, traditions are also testing regulations and international agreements. In Jamaica, the Sandals Foundation in association with major supermarket chains has launched a campaign to stop the capture and sale of parrotfish for consumption.
Scientists say that protecting the parrotfish is synonymous with saving the reefs and mitigating the effects of climate change. And further north in the Turks and Caicos, the government is searching for new ways to manage the conch and lobster populations. While trade is regulated, household use of both, sea turtles, and some sharks remain unregulated; and residents are resistant to any restrictions.
And while many continue to puzzle about the reasons behind the region’s climate readiness, scientists caution that there is no time to ease up. This week they rolled out, among other things, a coastal adaptation project and a public education and awareness (PAE) programme launched on April 26 in Belize City.
The PAE project, named Feel the Change, is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Project (J-CCCP) public awareness programme. Speaking at the launch, project development specialist at 5Cs, Keith Nichols, pointed to the extreme weather events from severe droughts to changes in crop cycles, which have cost the region billions.
“Climate change is not just sea level rise and global warming; climate change and climate variability is all around us,” he said.
Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency
- Challenge 1: Water sector infrastructure exposed to damage and disruption from water-related hazards;
- Challenge 2: Increasing demand, inefficient water use and leakage exacerbating the vulnerability of existing water supply systems and sources;
- Challenge 3: Effectiveness of community and urban water supply systems exposed to increasing climate variability;
- Challenge 4: Agricultural production vulnerable to seasonal rainfall and drought;
- Challenge 5: Effective management of water resource quantity and quality threatened by a changing climate; and
- Challenge 6: Escalating costs of flood-related damage and losses
“In the 1970’s most of the cattle population was wiped out because there was no water for the cattle to drink; no feed….in 1961 there was a drought where the school had to be closed for weeks, because there was no water for the children to drink. …In the 1950s, 60s and 70s water had to be transported from Grenada to Petit Martinique…and in during distribution of water there were fights and quarrels,” said Mr. Logan.
A first of its kind south-south knowledge exchange between Africa and the Caribbean on water security and climate resilient development was held at the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad this week (June 26, 2014). The meeting, which was held as a side event during the 2014 Global Water Partnership Network and Consulting Partners Meeting (held outside its host country Sweden for the first time), sought to enable lessons and experience sharing across the regions based on initiatives planned and realized under GWP’s global Water, Climate and Development (WACDEP) programme. “Despite obvious geographic differences, the two regions have much to learn from each other on the development and application of the regional frameworks, tools, strategies and knowledge products for advancing water security and climate resilience,” said GWP-Caribbean WACDEP Coordinator Natalie Boodram.
The high-level technical meeting was attended by 17 participants representing entities such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Global Water Partnership (GWP) Secretariat, and regional GWP teams from Africa and the Caribbean.
Under the WACDEP programme, which is now active in 13 GWP Regions, GWP-Caribbean and GWP-Africa with support from the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN) have been supporting the development of contextually relevant Frameworks that promotes synergies and opportunities to integrate water security and climate resilience into development planning processes. Among the distinguishing features of this approach is the focus given to the preparation of no/low regrets investment strategies.
The CCCCC’s project development specialist Keith Nichols told Caribbean Climate that the knowledge sharing exercise was “very revealing and informative”. He added that “it highlights the fact that there are significant achievements across the regions that should be shared notwithstanding the geographical differences”. Alex Simalabwi, global coordinator for WACDEP at GWP, agrees. He notes that the Africa and the Caribbean knowledge sharing exercise was an outstanding initiative that “offers excellent opportunities for both [regions] to address climate resilient development and should be pursued further within the context of international investment and trade”. To realize this he made a call for south-south exchange involving key regional entities such as CARICOM, 5Cs and the African Union.
The inaugural knowledge exchange on water security and climate resilient development between Africa and the Caribbean follows discussions two years ago at the 8th Annual High Level Session (HLS) Ministerial Forum on Water, which was not only attended by Caribbean Ministers responsible for water but also the Executive Secretary of the Africa Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).
In keeping with its thrust to promote a culture of risk management across the region, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre launched a seminal online support tool in Saint Lucia today. The launch event, which was attended by permanent secretaries from ministries of finance and planning, development partners, Saint Lucia’s Deputy Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre (among other St. Lucian officials), a broad cross-section of regional stakeholders and journalists, officially introduced the Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation TooL (CCORAL).
In his keynote address Dr. James Fletcher, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, urged the region to ensure broad use and adaptability of CCORAL. He added that CCORAL, which has been endorsed by Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, will promote climate-smart development by helping to embed a risk management ethic in decision-making processes across the region.
“The development of the risk assessment tool [is] an extremely important asset in assessing the risk from the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean region,” according to Dr. Pachauri. The two dozen island nations of the Caribbean, and the 40 million people who live there, are in a state of increased vulnerability to climate change. Higher temperatures, sea level rise, and increased hurricane intensity threaten lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region. Against this background, CCORAL will help to boost the capacity of these countries to assess their risk amidst a variable and changing climate, while creating pathways for the identification and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options.
“CCORAL is a practical approach to cost-effective climate-resilient investment projects,” says Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. “CCORAL will aid the region in defining approaches and solutions that will provide benefits now and in the future by adopting ‘no-regret’ actions and flexible measures.”
It is intended to be used primarily by agencies at the regional and national level with responsibility for development, planning and finance, the private sector and non-governmental organisations. Ministries of Finance and/or Planning are central to the initial efforts to anchor this tool in climate resilience-building decisions. Notwithstanding, civil society organisations, universities, financial services and development partners, local communities can also use CCORAL to inform actions that must embed climate considerations. The tool is available to all member countries through an open source online platform at ccoral.caribbeanclimate.bz.
According to Keith Nichols, Programme Development Specialist at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, “the development of the risk assessment tool emerged after an extensive consultation process with regional stakeholders to ensure authenticity, relevance and ownership”. It is a direct response to the requirement of the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change (the “Regional Framework”) and the landmark Implementation Plan (IP) that were endorsed by CARICOM Heads in 2009 and 2012, respectively. The IP acknowledges that a transformational change in mindset, institutional arrangements, operating systems, collaborative approaches and integrated planning mechanisms are essential to deliver the strategic elements and goals of the Regional Framework and to enable climate smart development by embedding a risk management ethic in decision-making.
The Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL), has been developed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN).
Updated July 12, 2013 at 12:07pm post-lauch
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) will host a ‘Caribbean Climate Risk Management Webinar’ on April 11, 2013.
The webinar will be an opportunity to learn more about the region’s efforts to create a risk management framework, its intended applications across sectors and its contribution to building the region’s resilience to the impacts of climate change. The webinar will also speak to the importance of embedding a risk ethic in decision-making in support of sustainable development in the CARICOM region.
The presenters will include Keith Nichols, Senior Project Development Specialist at the Centre and Mr. John Firth, CEO of the UK-based consulting firm Acclimatise. The two presentations will last a total of 15-20 minutes and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.
The webinar, which is scheduled to start at 10:30am EST, is primarily geared towards decision-makers and technocrats drawn from government ministries and departments from across the region, as well as development partners. However, the discussion will be posted on our online platforms for delayed use. To join the meeting, click here: Caribbean Climate Risk Management Webinar. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the German Financial Cooperation (KfW) signed a wide-ranging aide–mémoire last Friday evening, paving the way for the development of a €12.27 million programme, which will seek to reduce the climate change induced risks facing the Caribbean’s coastal population.
The approximately six year Ecosystem-Based Approaches for Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Zones of Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean (EBACC) programme, which is slated to start later this year, will be implemented in Saint Lucia, Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Jamaica.
The programme will have two main components: (i) Investments in sustainable improvements of coastal ecosystems relevant for climate change adaptation, and (ii) knowledge management, project support and monitoring. Under the first component, the programme aims to invest in measures related to protection and sustainable management, rehabilitation or substitution, and monitoring of coastal ecosystems in an effort to assist the participating countries to mitigate climate change induced risks to livelihoods and development prospects. Investments under this component will include, among others, the purchase of equipment directly related to marine protected areas (MPAs) management, reforestation, slope stabilization, coral reef restoration, construction of artificial reefs and break water.
Under Component 2 of the programme, assistance will be provided to the countries in the preparation and implementation of the local adaptation measures, monitoring of project goals and impacts, and the systematization and dissemination of project experiences. The Centre’s Resource Senior Economist and Head, Programme Development and Management Unit, Dr. Mark Bynoe, who along with Senior Programme Development Specialist Keith Nichols led the Centre’s engagement with KfW, notes that the “measures to be pursued under this component will include the harmonization of monitoring methods and the implementation of a monitoring system for the project that will complement the overall monitoring, evaluation and reporting system being developed for the IP”.
Dr. Bynoe notes that “these four participating countries were selected because the programme seeks to establish synergies with the Caribbean’s Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). However, mainly because of the limited financing not all the participating Caribbean PPCR countries will be involved in EBACC. The KfW and CCCCC were advised by the consultants conducting the diagnostic studies for this programme, that the greatest net returns on investments are likely to be gained through investing in the countries selected.” Dr. Bynoe adds that the programme’s focus complements priority areas within the Implementation Plan of the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change that was approved by CARICOM Heads of Government in Match 2012 in Suriname.
Specifically, it will address Strategic Elements 2 and 4 in the IP that seeks to “promote the implementation of specific adaptation measures to address key vulnerabilities in the region” and “encouraging action to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems in CARICOM countries to the impacts of a changing climate” respectively.
Executive Director of the CCCCC, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, says “the EBACC programme is part of the implementing phase of the landmarkRegional Strategic Framework to address climate change”. The programme, which will be funded by the German government to the tune of €10.8 million and €1.47 million from the Centre and participating countries through a mix of in-kind and financial support, will operate under a facility approach. This arrangement will allow both governmental and non-governmental institutions in the four participating countries to seek funding for Local Adaptation Measures (LAM).
The agreement signed by the Centre’s Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CBE and KfW’s Sector Economist Dr. Josef Haider marks the successful conclusion of KfW’s appraisal mission (March 7-March 17, 2013), which included meetings in Jamaica and St. Lucia with government officials and non-governmental leaders who are directly engaged in climate change adaptation initiatives.
BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) — The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) yesterday began the first of a series of workshops in Suriname as it seeks to develop a regional approach to climate change risk management.
The CCCCC said that representatives from the United Kingdom-based consulting group, Acclimatise, will assist in conducting the high-level workshops in Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, and Belize
A team from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs), along with representatives from the UK based consulting group Acclimatise, are leading a series of high-level workshops in Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica and Belize from February 11 to 20.
The team, which is now in Suriname for the first event, is conducting the second set of focal point country consultations to help inform the development of a regional approach to climate change risk management. The consultation process involves three countries with comprehensive development plans — Jamaica’s Vision 2030, Barbados’ Green Economy Strategy and Suriname’s Green Vision. Belize which is also committed to climate resilience has been added for the second round of discussions (Barbados, February 13; Belize, February 18; Jamaica, February 20).
The team from the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) includes Keith Nichols, programme development specialist and Joe McGann, programme manager, and they will be joined by Olivia Palin and John Firth of the consulting group Acclimatise. They are slated to meet with officials from the Ministry of Finance, Labour, Technological Development and Environment, Spatial Planning and representatives from the Climate Compatible Development Agency, the National Coordination Centre for Disaster Preparedness, among other decision makers in Suriname today.
The consultation process is expected to result in a regional Risk Management Framework and the creation of a risk ethic in decision making through the creation of a web-based risk management tool, which is slated to be launched in April 2013. This will boost climate resilience in the region amidst increasing threats from climate change. Those threats include rising sea levels and the associated predicted loss of coastal livelihoods; warmer temperatures and the likelihood of increased incidents of diseases such as dengue and increased frequency and/or intensity of hurricanes and droughts.
The initiative is being funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) through the Climate Development Network (CDKN).