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Governments across the region must use the media to disseminate information on climate change initiatives, according to Dr Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Adviser at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
He made the call during yesterday’s third day of the 49th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
“The media has been reporting basically the big events, the big hurricanes and the massive damage as a result of these,” said Trotz. “But they have not been privy to the information about how countries right across the region have been putting in place the institutional arrangements to address climate change, by building capacity and the interventions that have been made to address the problem.”
He told The Gleaner that while there have been plenty of talk in the media about climate change and its impact on regional states, there remained a plethora of additional things that the media could do to further spread the message.
NEW DIALOGUE NEEDED
Trotz noted that the climate change centre had done some work in the past with regional media, but bemoaned the lack of what he called “structured dialogue” on the matter that has been brought even more to the fore after the many recent weather events.
“A few years ago, we actually did something on climate change for the media, which basically was to get them familiar with the terminology. But we have had so many events in the region since, and a different argument is now needed to drive home the importance of the phenomena,” he argued.
“Apart from that, the media certainly has a very important role to play in getting people sensitised to what their vulnerability is, and why they need to do certain things that the government has asked them to do in safeguarding themselves in relation to this fact,” Trotz added.
He said that the earlier interface with the media had only been with reporters and not the owners, reasoning that policy in the boardroom belongs to a different set of players.
“Now, however, we are hoping that through the CBU we will be able to reach into the boardrooms of the media houses in the Caribbean and basically get a commitment for us to work together, as this is important,” said Trotz.
Meanwhile, Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid said that he was confident that there existed among the peoples of the region the will and the technical capacity to chant a new way forward in becoming climate-change resilient.
Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner
The Virgin Islands is said to be well ahead of most small-island developing states on the issue of climate change adaptation and in the coming months could have in place the framework to access millions to mitigate against the effects of those changes.
Some $50 million will be needed annually to cushion the effects of climate change which experts said has already started to manifest through sea level rise, unpredictable weather patterns and more intense hurricanes.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering is leading the charge to ensure that residents are sensitized on the issue of climate change.
During the launch of the public awareness campaign yesterday, May 6, Dr. Pickering indicated that the Territory is currently setting up the climate change trust fund as the vehicle to access a portion of the billions the developed countries have set aside to help at-risk states.
However, the proposed legislative framework to establish the fund has to first get approval from Cabinet before it’s taken to the House of assembly for debate and subsequent passage.
Consultant, Mr. George de Berdt Romily, Climate Change Law and Policy Specialist at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre noted that delaying the implementation of climate change adaptation plans will be more costly.
“We recognize that it is totally unrealistic to expect that the Virgin Islands can raise this additional $50 million from existing resources. There is a need to try and find how best we can raise these resources,” Mr. Romily stated.
He further explained, “There is also a commitment from the international community to finance the incremental cost associated with climate change. We do anticipate that once the trust fund is up and running, there will be contributions from international community to pay for the incremental costs. We hope to come close to the $50 million that is needed.”
He said the ability of the Virgin Islands to have continued access to international funds will depend on the Territory’s ability to operate the trust fund in a transparent manner and ensure the viability of the projects on the ground.
In May 2012, Cabinet approved the Virgin Islands Climate Change Adaptation Policy, but the funding is necessary to implement a number of the urgent priority climate change and disaster management programs.
Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Adviser, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre has also been assisting the Territory in implement mitigation plans.