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Caribbean and International Water and Funding Agencies Meet on a New Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment Initiative

Over thirty (30) representatives from key regional and international water and finance institutions will meet in Barbados on April 9th and 10th, 2015 to help steer a new Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment initiative spearheaded by the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) under its Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) executed in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

The two-day Consultation will provide the stakeholders with a thorough overview of the new initiative which includes the development of a Regional Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan (CReWSIP). This plan is aimed at providing a coordinated and programmatic approach to identifying, prioritising and sourcing finance for the work of regional agencies in enhancing the climate resilience of the Caribbean water sector.

The upcoming Stakeholder Consultation is a crucial step in the process to ensure that the CReWSIP responds to regional needs and will help regional institutions deliver their respective roles and mandates as they relate to water security. It provides the opportunity for regional institutions to elaborate on how the Investment Plan can support their work and to guide the process in the right direction. Additionally, it will allow development partners to define how CReWSIP could be used as a vehicle to channel resources into regional water security issues.

According to Dr. Natalie Boodram, Programme Manager of the GWP-C WACDEP, “Collaboration and coordination between regional stakeholders is essential for the Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan to deliver benefits on the ground.”

The Caribbean Climate-Proofing Water Investment Initiative is being funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and while GWP-C and the CCCCC are coordinating the development of the CCReWSIP, the resulting programmes and projects are anticipated to be implemented through regional institutions, with the support of development partners.

Some of the organisations that will be represented at the upcoming Meeting in Barbados include: the GWP-C, the CCCCC, the CDKN, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the European Union (EU), the Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and other agencies.Download media release here.

Credit: Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)

Climate Policy Goes Hand-in-Hand with Water Policy

Guyana beverage manufacturer Banks DIH Limited treats all waste water, making it safe for disposal into the environment. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Guyana beverage manufacturer Banks DIH Limited treats all waste water, making it safe for disposal into the environment. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Concerned that climate change could lead to an intensification of the global hydrological cycle, Caribbean stakeholders are working to ensure it is included in the region’s plans for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

The basis of IWRM is that the many different uses of finite water resources are interdependent. High irrigation demands and polluted drainage flows from agriculture mean less freshwater for drinking or industrial use.

Contaminated municipal and industrial wastewater pollutes rivers and threatens ecosystems. If water has to be left in a river to protect fisheries and ecosystems, less can be diverted to grow crops.

Meanwhile, around the world, variability in climate conditions, coupled with new socioeconomic and environmental developments, have already started having major impacts.

The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), which recently brought international and regional stakeholders together for a conference in Trinidad, is aimed at better understanding the climate system and the hydrological cycle and how they are changing; boosting awareness of the impacts of climate change on society, as well as the risk and uncertainty in the context of water and climate change and especially variability; and examining adaptation options in relation to water and climate change.

“Basically we’re looking to integrate aspects of climate change and climate variability and adaptation into the Caribbean water sector,” Natalie Boodram, programme manager of the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP), told IPS.

“And this is a very big deal for us because under predicted climate change scenarios we’re looking at things like drier dry seasons, more intense hurricanes, when we do get rain we are going to get more intense rain events, flooding.

“All of that presents a substantial challenge for managing our water resources. So under the GWP-C WACDEP, we’re doing a number of things to help the region adapt to this,” she added.

Current variability and long-term climate change impacts are most severe in a large part of the developing world, and particularly affect the poorest.

Through its workshops, GWP-C provides an opportunity for partners and stakeholders to assess the stage of the IWRM process that various countries have reached and work together to operationalise IWRM in their respective countries.

Integrated Water Resources Management is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.

IWRM helps to protect the world’s environment, foster economic growth and sustainable agricultural development, promote democratic participation in governance, and improve human health.

GWP-C regional co-ordinator, Wayne Joseph, said the regional body is committed to institutionalising and operationalising IWRM in the region.

“Our major programme is the WACDEP Programme, Water and Climate Development Programme, and presently we are doing work in four Caribbean Countries – Jamaica, Antigua, Guyana and St. Lucia,” he told IPS.

“We’re gender-sensitive. We ensure that the youth are incorporated in what we do and so we provide a platform, a neutral platform, so that issues can be discussed that pertain to water and good water resources management.”

The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) is a non-profit, civil society body that focuses its resources on empowering Caribbean young people and their communities to develop programmes and actions to address socioeconomic and environmental issues.

Rianna Gonzales, the national coordinator of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter, has welcomed the initiative of the GWP-C as being very timely and helpful, adding that the region’s youth have a very important role to play in the process.

“I think it’s definitely beneficial for young people to be part of such a strategic group of people in terms of getting access to resources and experts…so that we will be better able to communicate on water related issues,” she told IPS.

The CYEN programme aims at addressing issues such as poverty alleviation and youth employment, health and HIV/AIDS, climatic change and global warming, impact of natural disasters/hazards, improvement in potable water, conservation and waste management and other natural resource management issues.

The GWP-C said the Caribbean region has been exposed to IWRM and it is its goal to work together with its partners and stakeholders at all levels to implement IWRM in the Caribbean.

“A very significant activity for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States has been to prepare a Water Sector Model Policy and Model Water Act which proposes to remedy the key water resources management issues through new institutional arrangements and mechanisms that include water and waste water master planning, private sector and community partnership and investment mechanisms,” GWP-C chair Judy Daniel told IPS.

IWRM has not been fully integrated in the policy, legal and planning frameworks in the Caribbean although several territories have developed/drafted IWRM Policies, Roadmaps and Action plans. Some of these countries include: Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana, Jamaica; The Bahamas; Trinidad and Tobago; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency

Caribbean Partners in Water and Wastewater to Launch New Tools and Resources to Benefit the Region’s Water Sector

GWP-C in collaboration with CReW

GWP-C in collaboration with GEF CReW

A slate of recently developed Caribbean Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) knowledge products,  which focus on tools geared toward building climate resilience in the Caribbean water sector, as well as, resources for the wastewater sector professionals, were launched at a two-day (April 29-30) Regional Meeting of Partners in the Water and Wastewater Sector in the Caribbean this week.

The  products include those developed under the Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL)-Water initiative, a joint collaboration between GWP-C and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network. The Session will also showcase wastewater videos and materials from the GEF CReW, an effluent discharge database and other resources.

The Global Water Partnership (GWP) technical focus paper on IWRM in the Caribbean: The challenges facing SIDS.

Over the course of the two-day Regional Meeting of Partners in the Water and Wastewater Sector in the Caribbean, the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), the United Nations Environment Programme, Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP-CAR/RCU) and the Global Environment Facility’s Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW) hosted a Knowledge Sharing Session on New Tools and Resources for IWRM in the Caribbean.

IWRM is an holistic approach to managing water that takes into consideration that different uses of water are interdependent. IWRM means that water allocations and management decisions consider the effects of each use on the other. The approach is grounded in the understanding that water resources are an integral component of the ecosystem, a natural resource, and a social and economic good.

Representatives from more than fifty (50) regional and national agencies in water and wastewater management are scheduled to attend the Session. Download Press Release here.

Credit: Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)

Caribbean water sector managers to benefit from CCORAL

Credit: CGIAR

Credit: CGIAR

A new initiative by the Caribbean Climate Change Centre (5Cs), the UK-based Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN) and the Global Water Partnership – Caribbean is focusing minds on climate risk in the water sector.

In July, the 5Cs launched an innovative online tool to help governments and businesses to assess the climate-related risks of different investment options. The Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation tool (CCORAL) is a decision support tool that aims to encourage climate resilient choices.  In this region of small island states that are vulnerable to sea level rise, droughts and increasingly frequent, intense storms, the tool couldn’t have come at a better time.

Also read CCORAL Is Here! Endorsed by the IPCC Chair

CCORAL is intended to embed a risk management ethic in decision-making processes across the Caribbean region. When it was launched, it received a rare endorsement by the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. Now, a new project will fine-tune CCORAL’s online support system for the specific use of managers in the water sector

Most Caribbean countries are vulnerable to water scarcity and drought.  One of the contributing factors to vulnerability is climate change, which will trigger significant changes in temperature and precipitation.  Average rainfall is expected to decrease by 7% in 2050, and salt water intrusion will arise as a result of increased sea levels. This water scarcity will impact agriculture, tourism and public health.

The Centre, together with the Global Water Partnership Caribbean are working with government agencies and businesses in the water sector to understand how the CCORAL tool could help them. They are currently consulting with a range of regional organisations (such as international financial institutions, NGOs and universities), national agencies (government departments, water utilities) and businesses (water utilities, consultants, major industrial and commercial water users). They are exploring the following key questions:

  • What are the priority water services which would benefit from more climate resilient decision making? (for example; water resources allocation, water supply, agricultural / industrial / commercial / tourism / energy)
  • What water information, planning, operational or legal and regulatory activities would benefit from increased consideration of climate variability and risk? (for example; water supply planning, hydrological modelling, risk assessment, water system regulation, operational procedures)
  • Which organisations and specific capacities would benefit from being involved in the development and application of the CCORAL-Water tools? (for example; strategic water planners in governmental departments, consultants engaged in technical services for water planners, investment planners in water utilities, regulatory agencies for water)

If this project is successful, it will lead to improved climate risk management in water sector planning and management activities, which in turn will lead to improved levels of service for water users in the Caribbean.

The CCORAL-Water project is being developed in consultation with water managers in five countries: Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Suriname. The CCORAL-Water tool itself will be applicable and available to all Caribbean countries through the CCORAL online system, hosted by the 5Cs, from March 2014.  Watch this space for progress with CCORAL – Water!

This article was written by CDKN’s Pati Leon and was first posted at CDKN Global.

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