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IMPACT Inception Workshop hosted in Kingston

Participants of IMPACT Regional Inception Workshop

Press Release – Belmopan, Belize; April 3, 2017 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is organizing a regional climate change workshop at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica from April 3 – 5, 2017.

The IMPACT Regional Inception Workshop marks the launch of a four (4) year project in the Caribbean that will support Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) around the world. IMPACT will strengthen the connections between the scientific assessments of climate impacts, vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation to help access the financial and technical resources required to implement concrete projects.

IMPACT is being implemented by Climate Analytics gGmbh. Collaborating institutions include Climate Analytics Lome (Togo), Charles and Associates (Grenada), the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP), the Potsdam Institute for Climate (PIK), and the CCCCC. The project is funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The project will also enhance the capacity of CARICOM Member States and other SIDS and LDCs to engage effectively in and contribute substantially to the international climate change negotiations under the United Nations and in particular to the elaboration of the mechanisms and processes established under the Paris Agreement. SIDS and LDCs played a pivotal role in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and ensured that the interests of the Caribbean were secured in the Agreement.

Participants in the IMPACT Regional Inception Workshop include representatives of the climate change offices of the CARICOM Member States, the Climate Studies Group of the University of the West Indies, Mona, the University of the Bahamas, Charles and Associates of Grenada, the CCCCC and Climate Analytics.

Peruse IMPACT_short description

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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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Young voices are heard in sustainability conversation

One carrier has come up with a novel approach to the issue of sustainable tourism that involves science, students and scholarships.

JetBlue recently launched a program to increase planning for sustainable tourism in the Caribbean region through grants to students who will focus on using science to improve the travel experience for customers and communities now and in the future.

The grants highlight the airline’s commitment to education and the environment and focus on the impact of climate change in the Caribbean.

For the first year of the grant, JetBlue partnered with the Center for Responsible Travel (Crest) to offer two student scholarships to attend Crest’s and the Puntacana Ecological Foundation’s conference, Innovators Think Tank: Climate Change and Coastal & Marine Tourism, held recently at the Punta Cana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic.

From a field of 90-plus applicants, two recipients were selected: Stefan Knights from Hugh Wooding Law School in Barbados and Katrina Khan from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad & Tobago.

The conference revolved around the theme of how coastal and marine tourism must be planned, built and operated in the era of climate change.

“Too often conferences and think tanks are out of reach for students. These grants open the door to the community of students who have cutting-edge ideas about sustainable tourism,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability for JetBlue.

“If tourism in the Caribbean is going to flourish through a changing climate and increased ecosystem pressures, the tourism industry and its brands are going to need support and ideas from universities and students,” she said.

The tourism industry can either be part of the problem or part of the solution in dealing with climate change, according to Crest Director Martha Honey.

“It is imperative that we engage the next generation in the solution. It’s time to take the blinders off much of our industry and get passionate young people involved in preserving not only tourism-related livelihoods and the environment but our very existence,” Honey said.

The outcome of the conference will be showcased in a video documentary titled “Caribbean ‘Green’ Travel” and in a publication, both scheduled for release late this year.

Credit: Travel Weekly

Trinidad and Tobago: Who is going to pay the Climate Change piper?

Credit: BID

Workshop on Economics of Climate Change Adaptation
Credit: BID

Investing in the future is always a challenging decision, for example planning for retirement  will often seem to be less urgent  when we have pressing daily financial  issues that have to be addressed  now (unless you are near to retirement age of course). Not tomorrow, not in 10 years, but today. But the truth is that, in order to have a financially stable future, we need to know our risks, assess the potential losses and costs associated with them, and plan accordingly.

Governments face a similar challenge when it comes to thinking about climate change: they need to plan now to be able to manage the risks associated with the climate of today, tomorrow and the future.

In Trinidad and Tobago, being a small island state, you face very clear risks: you have fragile ecosystems, limited land space and a concentration of socio-economic activities within a narrow coastal belt including critical infrastructure (think power generation, ports, oil and gas facilities)   which will certainly be adversely affected by rising sea levels and other climate related impacts. According to different studies, climate change will have a significant impact on the country, both on environmental and socio-economic levels, affecting primarily 4 key areas:  agriculture, health, human settlements (particularly in coastal areas), and water resources.  What do you do about addressing the cost of the impacts of climate change?

To help the Government address this challenging task of financially planning for the risks of adaptation to climate change (sorry but unfortunately there is a cost involved based on current greenhouse gas emissions), the IDB has supported the elaboration of a study on the economics of climate adaptation which aims at providing a tool to help design adaptation strategies to increase a county’s resilience against climate change-related hazards. In Trinidad and Tobago, investing in climate adaptation now will pay off in the future: it is estimated that investments in mangrove restoration and the national building code will have payback period of less than five years and positive benefit-cost ratios – those are smart investments!

Adaptation has to be a priority for Trinidad and Tobago, as well as for the rest of the CARICOM states, and this is why this methodology will be shared across the region in an effort to help Caribbean governments plan for the future: the wise decisions of today can certainly help us secure a climate-resilient future. The piper will have to be paid but it is wise to put aside the resources now and in the right place before the costs are too high.

Credit: Let's Talk Climate Change, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

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

CARIWIG Workshop A Success

The Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) held its inaugural workshop and technical meeting at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica this week (February 4-8, 2013). The workshop is part of CARIWIG’s effort to initiate and sustain consultations to determine community needs for the generation of quantitative climate information for climate impact assessments and the broader decision-making process in the Caribbean.

CARIWIG Workshop Participants Photo #1The two day event brought together 44 participants from 10 Caribbean countries and the UK. The participants included managers, technical personnel and policy makers from 25 national, inter-governmental and regional entities. The stakeholder consultation focused on some of the region’s economic lifelines: the water, agriculture and coastal resource sectors.
The two days of focus group discussions will shape the course of the CARIWIG Project, which seeks to create tools that will enable the region to reliably access locally relevant unbiased climate change information in a manner that complements their planning cycle.
The CARIWIG project is funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN ) and will be carried out in partnership  with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (Belize), Newcastle University, University of East Anglia (UK), University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and the Institute of Meteorology (Cuba). Learn more about CARIWIG.

*This article was updated to reflect the conclusion of the event and actual participation.

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