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Caribbean Energy Security Summit Commits to Energy Transition

Twenty-six countries, together with seven regional and international organizations, have released a joint statement in support of the transformation of the energy systems of Caribbean countries. The signatories of the statement, signed during the Caribbean Energy Security Summit, commit to pursuing comprehensive approaches to an energy transition toward “clean sustainable energy for all” and reforms that support the creation of favourable policy and regulatory environments for sustainable energy.

The Summit, which was co-hosted by the US Department of State, the Council of the Americas and the Atlantic Council, brought together finance and private sector leaders from the US and the Caribbean, and representatives of the international community. The event showcased the initiatives under the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI) in the areas of improved governance, access to finance and donor coordination, and featured discussions by partner countries on comprehensive energy diversification strategies.

During the event, the US Government announced enhanced support for technical assistance and capacity-building programs in the Caribbean, through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) initiative, among others, with the aim of promoting a cleaner and more secure energy future in the region. Caribbean leaders agreed to pursue comprehensive energy diversification programs and facilitate the deployment of clean energy.

Furthermore, presentations and updates were provided by, inter alia: Caribbean leaders on energy sector goals; the World Bank on a proposed Caribbean Energy Investment Network for improved coordination and communication among partners; and the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) on a new focus on clean energy project development in the Caribbean, which includes US$43 million in financing for a 34 MW wind energy project in Jamaica.

Highlighting the role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in supporting the transition to sustainable energy in the Caribbean, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said the past five years had seen an “unprecedented push” in the Caribbean toward the development of the region’s renewable energy sources, noting this was “doubly impressive” “in a time of low oil prices.”

The Summit, which took place on 26 January 2015, in Washington, DC, US, is part of CESI, launched by US Vice President Joseph Biden in June 2014. The regional and international organizations signing the statement were the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Development Bank, the EU, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the OAS and the World Bank.

The joint statement was also signed by the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Credit: SIDS Policy & Practice IISD

CCIC Extends Application Period for Proof of Concept Grant Scheme to April 20, 2014

Credit: Caribbean360.com

Credit: Caribbean360.com

The Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), Mr Everton Hanson, says the application deadline for the Proof of Concept (POC) Grant Funding Scheme has been extended to April 20, 2014.

Grant funding of up to US$50,000 is currently being provided to entrepreneurs within the Caribbean region under our POC Grant Funding Scheme.The scheme seeks to support projects or prototypes in five (5) thematic areas, namely:

(a) Resource Use Efficiency/Recycling 
(b) Water Management 
(c) Sustainable Agribusiness 
(d) Solar Energy 
(e) Energy Efficiency

The CCIC was officially launched on January 27, 2014. The Center is a World Bank financed Caribbean initiative being executed by a consortium comprising the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) of Trinidad and Tobago and the Scientific Research Council (SRC) in Jamaica.

The CCIC is headquartered in Jamaica and delivers its services in 14 CARICOM countries. These are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St.Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The main objective of the CCIC is to support Caribbean entrepreneurs in developing appropriate technologies suitable for the mitigation or adaptation to climate change. This is expected to be achieved through the offering of services such as, among other things, technology commercialization, market development, and access to financing, mentoring and training, incubation and CAD Lab services to such entrepreneurs.

Learn more about the POC Grant Funding Scheme http://gallery.mailchimp.com/1d8dc7083e/files/POC_Flyer_March_17.pdf

Indoor Mini-Farms to Beat Climate Change

Industrial engineer Ancel Bhagwandeen says growing your food indoor is a great way to protect crops from the stresses of climate change. So he developed a hydroponic system that “leverages the nanoclimates in houses so that the house effectively protects the produce the same way it protects us,” he says.

Bhagwandeen told IPS that his hydroponic project was also developed “to leverage the growth of the urban landscape and high-density housing, so that by growing your own food at home, you mitigate the cost of food prices.”

The hydroponic unit can also run on solar energy. Credit: Jewel Fraser/IPS

The hydroponic unit can also run on solar energy. Credit: Jewel Fraser/IPS

Hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrients in water, is increasingly considered a viable means to ensure food security in light of climate change.

His project is one of several being considered for further development by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), headquartered in Jamaica.

The newly launched CCIC, which is funded mainly by the World Bank and the government of Canada, seeks to  fund innovative projects that will “change the way we live, work and build to suit a changing climate,” said Everton Hanson, the CCIC’s CEO.

Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, 
chairs the CCIC's Management Committee.

A first step to developing such projects is through Proof of Concept (POC) funding, which makes available grants from 25,000 to 50,000 dollars to successful applicants to “help the entrepreneur to finance those costs that are related to proving that the idea can work,” said Hanson.

Among the items that POC funding will cover are prototype development such as design, testing, and field trials; market testing; raw materials and consumables necessary to achieve proof of concept; and costs related to applications for intellectual property rights in the Caribbean.

A POC competition is now open that will run until the end of March. “After that date the applications will be evaluated. We are looking for ideas that can be commercialised and the plan is to select the best ideas,” Hanson said.

The CCIC, which is jointly managed by the Scientific Research Council in Jamaica and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute in Trinidad and Tobago, is seeking projects that focus on water management, resource use efficiency, energy efficiency, solar energy, and sustainable agribusiness.

Bhagwandeen entered the POC competition in hopes of securing a grant, because “this POC funding would help in terms of market testing,” he explained.

The 48-year-old engineer says he wishes to build dozens of model units and “distribute them in various areas, then monitor the operations and take feedback from users.” He said he would be testing for usability and reliability, as well as looking for feedback on just how much light is needed and the best locations in a house or building for situating his model.

“I would then take the feedback, and any issues that come up I can refine before going into mass marketing,” he said.

Bhagwandeen’s model would enable homeowners to grow leafy vegetables, including herbs, lettuce and tomatoes, inside their home or apartment, with minimal expense and time.

The model uses smart electronics, meaning that 100 units can run on the same energy as a 60-watt light bulb, he said. So it differs from typical hydroponics systems that consume a great deal of energy, he added. His model can also run on the energy provided by its own small solar panel and can work both indoors and outdoors.

Bhagawandeen said his model’s design is premised on the fact that “our future as a people is based more and more on city living and in order for that to be sustainable, we need to have city farming at a family level.”

U.N. report says that “the population living in urban areas is projected to gain 2.6 billion, passing from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050.” Most of that urban growth will be concentrated in the cities and towns of the world’s less developed regions.

To meet the challenges of climate change adaptation, the CCIC “will support Caribbean entrepreneurs involved in developing locally appropriate solutions to climate change.”

Bhagwandeen said that support from organisations like the CCIC is critical for climate change entrepreneurs. “From the Caribbean perspective, especially Trinidad and Tobago, we are a heavily consumer-focused society. One of the negatives of Trinidad’s oil wealth is that we are not accustomed to developing technology for ourselves. We buy it.”

“We are a society of traders and distributors and there is very little support for innovators and entrepreneurs.”

He said access to markets and investors poses a serious challenge for regional innovators like himself, who typically have to rely on bootstrapping to get their business off the ground.

Typically, he said, regional innovators have to make small quantities of an item, sell those items, and then use the funds to make incrementally larger quantities. “So that if you get an order for 500 units, you cannot fulfill that order,” he said.

Fourteen Caribbean states are involved in CCIC: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Caribbean CCIC is one of eight being developed across the world.

Credit: Inter Press Services News Agency

Caribbean urged to brace for impact of climate change

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill (left), I discussions with CCCCC Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie (right) (JIS PHOTO)

Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Robert Pickersgill (left), I discussions with CCCCC Executive Director, Dr. Kenrick Leslie (right) (JIS PHOTO)

A two-week regional training workshop on climate change has started here with a warning that the Caribbean could suffer billions of dollars in losses over the next few years as a result of climate change.

“As a region, we have to assist each other in every conceivable way imaginable,” said Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill at the start of the workshop that is being organised by the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in partnership with several regional governments and the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

It is being held under the theme “The use of sector-specific biophysical models in impact and vulnerability assessment in the Caribbean”.

Pickersgill said that Caribbean countries needed to work together to boost technical expertise and infrastructure in order to address the effects of the challenge.

He said global climate change was one of the most important challenges to sustainable development in the Caribbean.

Citing a recent report from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he noted that while the contribution of Caribbean countries to greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant, the projected impacts of global climate change on the Caribbean region are expected to be devastating.

Pickersgill said that according to experts, by the year 2050, the loss to the mainstay tourism industry in the Caribbean as a result of climate change-related impacts could be in the region of US$900 million.

In addition, climate change could cumulatively cost the region up to US$2 billion by 2053, with the fishing industry projected to lose some US$140 million as at 2015.

He said the weather activity in sections of the Eastern Caribbean over the Christmas holiday season was a prime example of this kind of devastation.

The low level trough resulted in floods and landslides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Dominica. At least 15 people were killed and four others missing. The governments said they would need “hundreds of millions of dollars” to rebuild the battered infrastructures.

“For a country the size of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, this loss is significant and could result in their having to revise their GDP (gross domestic product) projections. (Therefore), while one cannot place a monetary value on the loss of lives, the consequences in terms of dollar value to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is also important,” Pickersgill said.

“It only takes one event to remind us of the need to become climate resilient in a region projected to be at the forefront of climate change impacts in the future,” Pickersgill said, adding that he hoped the regional training workshop would, in some meaningful way, advance the Caribbean’s technical capabilities to meet the future projections head-on and be successful.

He said the workshop has particular relevance to Jamaica as one of the SIDS that is most vulnerable to climate change.

The two-week programme forms part of the European Union (EU)-funded Global Climate Change Alliance Caribbean Support Project, which is geared towards the creation and financing of policies that can reduce the effects of climate change as well as improved climate monitoring within the region.

The Global Climate Change Alliance project is to be implemented over 42 months and will benefit Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

CCCCC Programme Manager, Joseph McGann, said the project would include several activities including: enhancing national and regional institutional capacity in areas such as climate monitoring; data retrieval and the application of space-based tools for disaster risk reduction; development of climate scenarios and conducting climate impact studies using Ensemble modeling techniques; vulnerability assessments that can assist with the identification of local/national adaptation; and mitigation interventions.

CMC/id/ir/2014

Credit: CMC

The 5Cs to Develop Climate Adaptation Programme

(Front L-R) Dr. Kenrick Leslie and Dr. Josef Haider; (Back L-R) Donneil Cain, Keith Nichols, Sharon Lindo, Christina Rumke, Dr. Martin Lux and Dr. Mark Bynoe

(Front L-R) Dr. Kenrick Leslie and Dr. Josef Haider; (Back L-R) Donneil Cain, Keith Nichols, Sharon Lindo, Christina Rumke, Dr. Martin Lux and Dr. Mark Bynoe

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the German Financial Cooperation (KfW) signed a wide-ranging aidemémoire 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.

(L-R) Dr. Josef Haider, Keith Nichols, Carlos Fuller, Sharon Lindo, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Dr. Mark Bynoe, Dr. Martin Lux and Christina Rumke.

(L-R) Dr. Josef Haider, Keith Nichols, Carlos Fuller, Sharon Lindo, Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Dr. Mark Bynoe, Dr. Martin Lux and Christina Rumke.

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 Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CBE

Executive Director Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CBE

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.

The Caribbean Climate Change Risk Management Project

In a region already characterized by high variability in the current climate, climate change represents additional risks for society, economic sectors and the environment. This changing risk profile will have an effect on the outcome of a wide range of decisions affecting individual, societal and economic well-being. In order to plan effectively, decision-makers must assess and be aware of these changing risks.

As our understanding of climate change improves it is becoming possible to gain increasing confidence about some of the expected changes, such as increasing temperatures.  However, our knowledge of the climate system is not perfect, resulting in uncertainty around the precise extent of future climate change. Furthermore, we cannot know how future emissions of GHGs will change. Uncertainty also stems from our incomplete understanding of the impacts of future climate on society, the environment, and economies.

Workshop participants...

Participants at a Caribbean Climate Change Risk Management consultation in Belize

Despite these uncertainties and regardless of the effectiveness of emissions reductions efforts worldwide, Caribbean governments must continue to make decisions to plan for the future. The Regional Framework is founded upon the principle of using risk management processes and tools to aid decision-making.   Decision-making based on subjective value judgments given the challenges and uncertainties we face, will compromise resilience building. Risk management assists in the selection of optimal cost-effective strategies for reducing vulnerability, using a systematic and transparent process. Policies or initiatives that aim to reduce this vulnerability can be designed to complement and support the goals of poverty reduction, sustainable development, disaster preparedness and environmental protection. The Implementation Plan developed by the Centre to guide the operationalization of the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change highlights as a priority challenge the need to utilize risk management tools and processes to aid decision makers.

The Caribbean Risk Management Project builds on the work started by the Region in 2003 in the development of Risk Management Guidelines for decision makers, but is intended to be more attuned to the needs and special circumstances of the Region given the prevailing conditions. It will also incorporate the development of new tools and risk management methodologies. The Project will be executed in a phased approach. Phase 1 will be the development of a risk management, web-based tool to guide decision making.  Phase 2 will provide in-depth training for country decision-makers.  Phase 3 will undertake detailed risk assessments in selected countries.  The overall objective is to embed risk assessment into decision-making and management systems across the region in finance and planning.

Proposed Aim & Objectives:

  • Support climate compatible development in the Caribbean by enabling the implementation of key activities outlined in the IP
  • Embed considerations of climate change across the Caribbean, through the development of regional approach to risk management and the creation of a risk ethic in decision making.

The key tasks to be undertaken in this project are set out below:

1 Initial consultation and scoping phase including workshops and in-country meetings in three pilot countries together with a review of existing approaches to risk management in the Caribbean.

2 Review CARICOM Climate Risk Management Guidelines.  Develop a revised risk management framework for the Caribbean taking into account the latest developments in climate risk management techniques. This will be fully supported by existing resources and materials and will link into the latest information on climate science, vulnerability assessments and impact modelling, together with economic, environmental and social system baseline data. The new framework will link into the CCCCC information clearing house.

3 Working with the CCCCC to secure CARICOM approval to the revised Caribbean Risk Management Framework.

4 Launch Caribbean Risk Management Framework at a high profile event.

5 Develop an on-line version of the Caribbean Risk Management Framework with full guidance and links to other tools and techniques.

6 Develop an online ‘stress-test/screening’ tool to enable all organisations (including donors and development banks) operating at regional and national levels to take a high-level view of policies and decisions against the potential impacts of a changing climate.

7 Working with the CCCCC to provide assistance and support in implementing the communications plan aimed at raising awareness in the Caribbean regarding a risk based approach to decision making.

8 Develop an M&E programme to assess the effectiveness of the Caribbean Risk Management Framework

UNEP Backed Environmental Workshop for Caribbean Journalists

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will hold a training seminar called “The Ozone Layer and Chemical and Waste Management Challenges in the Caribbean” in Paramaribo, Suriname from March 5 to 7.

The workshop, which will be conducted in English, seeks to strengthen environmental journalism skills, provide media professionals with relevant information and inputs for transmitting messages related to environment protection and governance in the Caribbean.  Its primary target audience includes editors and journalists of print, broadcast and online media, as well as news agencies in the English-speaking Caribbean. The workshop will focus on the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and Chemical and Waste Management. The draft agenda is available at the following link:

UNEP’s Caribbean Environmental Programme notes that participants are required to publish at least one news story on one of the topics addressed during the workshop within two weeks of its conclusion in Paramaribo, in order to receive an official certificate of participation. UNEP says it will select a limited number of participants and will cover their travel expenses (airplane ticket, lodging and meals) as per UN rules. Learn more about the upcoming workshop here.

Source: UNEP – Caribbean Environment Programme

5Cs Leads Four Country Risk Management Talks, Round Two

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).

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