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GWP-C and CCCCC Partner with Caribbean Water Sector Stakeholders to Develop Green Climate Fund Projects

May 27th – 29th, 2019 | St. George’s, Grenada. The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) in partnership with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), is convening a regional project development workshop at St. George’s University in Grenada from May 27th – 29th, 2019. The workshop is titled “An Approach to Develop a Regional Water Sector Programme for Building Resilience to Climate Change.”

The focus of the 3-day workshop, is to strengthen the capacity of Caribbean Water Utilities and Government Ministries with responsibility for Water Resources Management, in developing climate resilient water proposals, with the objective of preparing a Regional Water Sector Programme for the submission to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). More than twenty (20) representatives from ten (10) Caribbean countries will participate in the regional workshop. These countries include: Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonewealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and The Bahamas.

The workshop will provide participants with knowledge on the GCF and funding opportunities, as well as introduce them to the GCF concept note and funding proposal template. Additionally, stakeholders will be able to identify priority activities and actions for the water sector and utilities in the Caribbean. This would feed into identifying next steps to further develop the Regional Programme for approval by the GCF.

The importance of the workshop cannot be overstated, as Caribbean Small Island Developing States are some of the most vulnerable islands to the impacts of Climate Change in the world, with water scarcity ranking as the most critical resource under threat. Addressing this existential threat, requires urgent action to mitigate its long-term impacts and accessing funding to do so is urgently needed.

GWP-C’s mission is to support Caribbean countries in the sustainable management of their water resources. While the CCCCC, as a regional entity accredited by the GCF, has the mandate to coordinate the Caribbean’s response to climate change. This collaboration between GWP-C and CCCCC, therefore presents a combination of knowledge and experience to foster building climate resilience in the Caribbean water sector. The ultimate objective being to make the Caribbean Water Secure.

For more information on the Regional Workshop please contact:
Gabrielle Lee Look
Communications Officer
Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C)
E-mail: gleelook@gwp-caribbean.org
Website: http://www.gwp-caribbean.org

CCCCC To Launch US$45-M Water Improvement Project In Barbados

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The project is made possible through the support of the Centre’s many partners and with funding from the GCF and the GoB

BELMOPAN: May 8, 2019: A five-year multi-million dollar water improvement project that is expected to ease the chronic water woes of more than 190,000 Barbadians will be launched on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the Bowmanston Pumping Station, in St. John, Barbados. 

The Water Sector Resilience Nexus for Sustainability in Barbados (WSRN S-Barbados) is a $45.2-million investment project that is being implemented by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Government of Barbados and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA). Funding includes US$27.6 million in grants from the GCF and counterpart funding of US$17.6 from the Barbadian government.

The WSRN S-Barbados project is the GCF’s first single-country investment in the Caribbean. When complete, it should improve access to potable water, increase the Barbados water sector’s resilience to extreme climatic events; reduce water disruptions, introduce adaptation and mitigation initiatives through a revolving fund; improve resilience to climate change while building capacity and increasing public-private-partnerships and innovation for climate resilience in the sector. 

“The Centre is proud to be working with the government and people of Barbados on such an important project,” Dr Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the CCCCC said, noting:

“The measures to be undertaken under this project is expected to increase adaptation and mitigation measures in households and communities; improve the country’s food security by increasing the farmers’ access to water; reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the awareness of ordinary Barbadians to the effects of climate variability affecting the country and the wider Caribbean.”

Under the project, photovoltaic (PV) power generation systems are to be installed at the Belle, the Bowmanston and Hampton Pumping Stations to reduce the dependency of the facilities on diesel-generated electricity. Leaks are to be minimised through mains replacement and real-time monitoring. To ensure that any disruptions in the water supply would not immediately result in the loss of potable water to vulnerable sections of the population, water storage tanks and rainwater harvesting systems are to be set up in strategic locations across the island.

Mains replacement and real-time leak monitoring

The Project also includes a Revolving Adaptation Fund Facility (RAFF) to assist households, farmers and small businesses by supporting a number of climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the water sector.

The Fund aims to support the installation of water irrigation and rainwater harvesting systems as well as water saving devices in households, public buildings, hotels and in agriculture operations. The RAFF will continue to build sustainability, advance adaptation and mitigation initiatives in the island’s water sector after the project ends.

General Manager of the BWA Mr. Keithroy Halliday noted: “WSRN S-Barbados project will reduce the BWA’s carbon footprint, create a more reliable water supply and increase capacity building in the Authority. It will have a positive impact by creating resilience to severe weather events, promoting public awareness on climate change effects threatening the water supply system and highlighting ways to mitigate against it as well as improving the sustainability of the water supply system.  These initiatives collectively, are expected to assist the Government of Barbados in meeting its target of carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Project partners include the United States Agency for International Development Climate Change Adaptation Project (USAID-CCAP), the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of South Florida (USF), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).  

The CCCCC has received more than US$38.54 million in GCF grants for the implementation of Climate Change and readiness projects in several countries. These include the implementation of the WSRN S-Barbados Project, a project preparation grant for the Arundo donax Renewable Energy Project in Belize, and Country Readiness grants for Belize, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
 
The CCCCC is a GCF direct-access Accredited Entity based in Belize and is the arm of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) that has responsibility for leading climate change actions in the Caribbean. As an Accredited Entity (AE), the CCCCC is positioned to assist government departments and agencies as well as private sector agencies in the Caribbean to access GCF funding for climate adaptation and mitigation project grants of up to US$50 Million per project. The Centre is also prepared to partner with other regional institutions to increase the region’s access to GCF and other donor funding.

The GCF is a global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenges of climate change through a network of National Designated Authorities (NDAs) and Accredited Entities.

Water Security in the Caribbean

Water security challenges in the Caribbean are unique to each country, however, common challenges have recently been identified. In the video above, Keith Nichols, the Project Development Specialist at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) speaks of the need for a strategic approach to develop the water sector, including the  challenges facing the region. The CCCCC is part of the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) which  has identified the following water related challenges for the region:
  • 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
The GWP-C, with more than 80 partners in over 20 Caribbean territories, has developed a “Caribbean Regional Framework for Investment in Water Security and Climate Resilient Development.” The GWP-C’s Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) is executed in partnership with the CCCCC. Any entity can become a partner of the GWP-C.
executive_summary__aug_30th_2016__pdf__page_3_of_6__and_edit_post__caribbeanclimate_-_wordpress
The CCCCC has been engaged in numerous water related initiatives including the construction of the rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling  facility at Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa in Vieux Fort St. Lucia; the photovoltaic and salt water reverse osmosis plant in Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; the photo-voltaic system for the Belize Water Services Limited on Caye Caulker, Belize; the photovoltaic system (commissioning and construction of the energy switching station) to the Barbados Water Board; the installation of 54 Automatic Weather stations among 16 countries and  the installation of 5 Coral Reef Early Warning Station (CREWS) stations across the region.
Through partnerships with UK-DFID, EU and the Government of Grenada, the CCCCC has made a significant impact on communities which were fully dependent on rainwater harvesting, a history which was recapped by Dwight Logan, a teacher on Petit Martinique.
“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.
On April 15, 2016, the CCCCC handed over two Salt Water Reverse Osmosis Systems and a photo-voltaic system on the islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique. To find out more about the partnerships click on the video link below and also be sure to subscribe to the Centre’s Youtube channel.

 Read about the ‘Caribbean Regional Framework for Investment in Water Security and Climate Resilient Development’  Framework document and its tremendous potential in building climate resilience in the Caribbean region. Also, download the Framework publications here.

Jamaica’s drought tool could turn table on climate change

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On a very dry November 2013, Jamaica’s Meteorological Service made its first official drought forecast when the newly developed Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) was used to predict a high probability of below average rainfall in the coming three months.

By February, the agency had officially declared a drought in the eastern and central parishes of the island based on the forecasts. July’s predictions indicated that drought conditions would continue until at least September.

Said to be the island’s worst in 30 years, the 2014 drought saw Jamaica’s eastern parishes averaging rainfall of between 2 and 12 per cent, well below normal levels. Agricultural data for the period shows that production fell by more than 30 per cent over 2013 and estimates are that losses due to crop failures and wild fires amounted to US$1 billion.

Jamaica’s agricultural sector accounts for roughly seven per cent of the island’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 20 per cent of its workforce.

The Met Service’s, Glenroy Brown told IPS, “The CPT was the main tool used by our Minister (of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change) Robert Pickersgill throughout 2015 to advise the nation on the status of drought across the island.”

It was also used but the National Water Commission (NWC) to guide its implementation of island-wide water restrictions.

A technician with Jamaica’s Met Service, Brown designed and implemented the tool in collaboration with Simon Mason, a climate scientist from Columbia University’s International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The tool provides a Windows package for constructing a seasonal climate drought forecast model, producing forecasts with updated rainfall and sea surface temperature data,” he explained.

The innovation was one of the first steps in building resilience under Jamaica’s national climate policy. It provides drought-monitoring forecasts that allows farmers to plan their planting around dry periods and has been “tailored for producing seasonal climate forecasts from a general circulation model (GCM), or for producing forecasts using fields of sea-surface temperatures,” Brown said.

The tool combines a number of applications including Google Earth and localized GIS maps, to generate one to five day forecasts that are country and location specific. The information is broken down and further simplified by way of colour-coded information and text messages for the not so tech-savvy user.

The tool designed by Brown and Mason also incorporated IRI’s own CPT (designed by Mason) that was already being used by Caribbean countries with small meteorological services and limited resources, to produce their own up-to-date seasonal climate forecasts. The new tool combined data on recent rainfall and rainfall predictions to provide a forecast that focused specifically on drought.

“It was important for us to design a system that addressed Jamaica’s needs upfront, but that would also be suitable for the rest of the region,” Mason noted.

The scientists explained, “Because impact of a drought is based on the duration of the rainfall” and not only the amount of rainfall, looking forward is not enough to predict droughts because of factors related to accumulation and intensification.

“What we’re doing is essentially putting a standard three-month rainfall forecast in context with recent rainfall measurements,” Mason, told USAID’s publication Frontlines last May. He noted that if below-normal rainfall activity was recorded during an unusually dry period, indications were there was a “fairly serious drought” ahead.

Sheldon Scott from Jamaica’s Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) told IPS that farmers who used the SMS information were able to avoid the worse effects of the drought.

“The impacts were visible in relation to farmers who used the information and others who didn’t, because those who did were able to manage the mitigating factors more effectively,” he said.

During the period, more than 500 farmers received text alerts and about 700,000 bulletins were sent to agricultural extension officers.

Among the farmers who signed up for text messaging service, Melonie Risden told Frontlines, “The information we received from the Met office gave us drought forecasts in terms of probabilities. We still decided to plant because we were fortunate to have access to the river and could fill up water drums ahead of time in anticipation of the drought.”

Risden lost the corn she planted on the 13-acre property in Crooked River, Clarendon, one of the parishes hardest hit by the drought with only two per cent of normal rainfall, but was able to save much of the peas, beans and hot peppers.

Six months after Jamaica’s Met Service made its ground-breaking forecast, the CIMH presented the first region-wide drought outlook at the Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum in Kingston. Now 23 other Caribbean and Central American countries are using the tool to encourage climate change resilience and inform decision-making.

“Regionally the tool is now a standard fixture across several countries within the region, including the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Haiti. This regional effort is coordinated by the CIMH,” Brown said.

Back in Jamaica, the tool is being hailed “a game-changer” in the climate fight by Jeffery Spooner head of the Met Service, who described the CPT as “an extremely important tool in Climate Change forecasting and specifically for the agricultural – including fisheries- and water sectors for rainfall projection .”

The CPT is now also used to provide regular monthly bulletins that are published by the Meteorological Service on their web site www.jamaicaclimate.net. RADA has also continued to use the CPT in its extension service, to enhance the ability of farmers’ and other agricultural interests to improve water harvesting, planting and other activities.

Since most of the island’s small farms depend on rainfall, more farmers – including those with large holdings – are using the information to better manage water use and guide their activities, Scott said.

Local and intentional scientists have linked the extreme atmospheric conditions related to the droughts affecting Jamaica and the region to the persistent high-pressure systems that has prevented the formation of tropical cyclones to global warming and climate change.

Across the agricultural sector, Jamaica continues to feel the impacts of drought and the challenges are expected to increase with the climate change. In a 2013 agricultural sector support analysis, the Inter-American Development Bank estimated, low impact on extreme climate events on Jamaica’s agriculture sector by 2025 could reach 3.4 per cent of “baseline GDP” annually.

In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report (AR5) pointed to tools like the CPT to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Its importance to Jamaica’s and the region’s food security and water sector cannot be overlooked.

In addition to adaptation for the water sector, the CPT is being modified to provide early warning indicators for wind speeds and coral bleaching among other applications, said the report.

And as showers of blessings cooled the land and brought much relief in the closing months of the year, CPT shows the drought could well be over.

Credit: Caribbean 360

Is climate change the culprit in Tropical Storm Erika?

In this handout provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the GOES-East satellite, Erika, a tropical storm is pictured losing strength as it passes over Haiti on Aug. 29, 2015. NOAA/NASA GOES ProjectGetty Images

Rescue teams are still searching for dozens of missing villagers in rural areas of the Caribbean island of Dominica, days after Tropical Storm Erika caused massive flooding and landslides.

The storm has already killed at least 20, and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says that number could rise as helicopters reach areas cut off by eroded roads.

Dominica was the island worst affected by the storm — which weakened over eastern Cuba on Saturday, losing its title of tropical storm after drenching Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Heavy rains could still hit parts of Florida.

In his address to the nation late Friday, Skerrit continued his call-to-action after tweeting that Dominicans are “living the effects of climate change.”

“Let us consider this disaster as a test of our ability to respond collectively, patriotically and imaginatively to the peculiar challenges of globalization and climate change that have been intensifying since the start of the 21st century,” he said.

Dominican photographer Chris Louis traveled throughout the country photographing the storm’s destruction. He says the damage from Erika is some of the worst he’s seen and climate change could be to blame.

“We usually expect [mudslides] when heavy rains follow a prolonged dry spell, and there has not been much rain recently,” he says. “[But] a few years ago, this kind of weather would not have done as much damage.”

According to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, small islands like Dominica are especially vulnerable to rising temperatures, shore erosion and increased storm intensity. Although the Caribbean accounts for just one percent of global CO2 emissions, Gerald Lindo, senior technical researcher for Jamaica’s Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, says the Caribbean is disproportionately affected.

“It’s messing up our economies, creating a perpetual recession,” he says. “Most of the islands of the Caribbean have been experiencing a really rigorous drought. We were coming into this hurricane season in the weird position of really hoping for some water without extreme flooding. So it wasn’t just the storm that kind of signaled climate change for us.”

But Dr. Michael Taylor, professor of physics at the University of the West Indies at Mona, cautions against pinpointing a single storm as an indicator of climate change. He says several factors could have contributed to Dominica’s substantial flooding and landslides.

“You have to be wary of taking one storm as a sign of what’s to come,” he says. “But a storm like this makes us sit up and pay attention. The science is supporting the fact that underlying conditions for these intense rains is a result of warming global temperatures.”

Debate over climate change in many Caribbean nations is largely divided. Within Dominica’s diaspora, some aren’t ready to declare Erika’s damage a direct result of a changing environment.

Kevin Dorsett, a Dominican now living in Washington, DC, says that while he does think storms are getting stronger, Erika could just be a case of the most vulnerable island at the worst possible time.

“I don’t believe climate change was the result of this,” he says. “Dominica is not like the rest of the Caribbean. It is very mountainous and rarely has any flat areas. We [have] tons of rivers and lakes so, with all the non-stop rain, rivers just overflowed.”

On the island, Sabra Luke says climate change isn’t something people in Dominica usually consider. Right now, rescuing trapped and missing Dominicans is their only priority. She says some of the hardest hit areas are barely recognizable.

“There are many persons who have lost everything,” she says. “Medical teams are needed here; we need emergency relief supplies.”

The search for missing Dominicans will continue throughout the weekend. In his address, Skerrit called on the international community for help.

“We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica,” he says. The prime minister estimates that tropical storm Erika has set back development and infrastructure in Dominica by 20 years.

Credit: Global Post

Caribbean Water Ministers Will Address Water and Climate Issues to Help Shape the Development Agenda

In September, the United Nations will finalise a Post-2015 Development Agenda known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire at the end of the year and will be “the global community’s plan of action” for all dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) for the next fifteen (15) years.

On the heels of establishing this new universal Agenda; Caribbean Ministers with responsibility for water resources management from more than ten (10) countries, will meet on August 27th and 28th, 2015 at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Florida to discuss critical regional water and climate issues. Both water and climate change are reflected as priorities in the soon to be confirmed SDGs, with Goal 6 being: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” and Goal 13 being: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”

This Ministerial Meeting is the 11th Annual High Level Forum (HLF) which is being organised by the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) and the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility – funded Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW) Project. The 11th HLF which takes place under the theme “Connecting Water to Climate, Economic Growth and Development within the Post-2015 Development Agenda” forms part of the CWWA’s 24th Annual Conference and Exhibition which is being held in partnership with the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

The 11th HLF takes place at an appropriate time to allow for discussion and collaboration on water and climate matters to help shape the sustainable development agenda of the region. This year’s Forum is forward-looking with a goal of producing concrete outcomes and harmonised recommendations to guide national and regional efforts in operationalising water, wastewater and climate goals and targets for sustainable development. Some outcomes of the Forum are likely to feed into the contribution to be made by Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December to play a pivotal part of global processes for advancing sustainable development.

According to Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary-General of Human and Social Development of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), who will be a keynote speaker at the 11th HLF “Climate change will continue to have serious implications for water resources in the region,” linking the two critical issues. He has also stated that partnership remains one of the means of implementation needed to achieve sustainable water development goals. In addition to CARICOM and the Caribbean Ministers with responsibility for water and their senior government officials, representatives from regional and international agencies such as the United Nations Environment Programme Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CEP), the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association Inc. (CAWASA), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Pan America Health Organisation (PAHO), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are expected to attend. Professor John Agard who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, will moderate a Ministerial panel discussion at the Forum.

 Credit: WINN FM 98.9

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)

UNEP ‘Our Planet’ 2015 Focuses on SDGs

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Credit: UNEP

An integrated, universal approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda is essential, according to the 2015 issue of ‘Our Planet,’ a publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner discusses the importance of integration, universality, climate change mitigation, governance and accountability, and financing. He writes that linking the SDGs with climate change mitigation will help countries build energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructure and achieve sustainable development.

In an article by Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President, Palau, he explains that healthy, productive, resilient oceans are critical to preserving and restoring the balance between humans and nature, and ensuring economic prosperity, food security, health and culture, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Remengesau advocates for a stand-alone SDG on oceans, and says Palau’s national conservation efforts must be “amplified and augmented by work at the international level” in order to make a difference.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights should guide the elaboration of the SDGs, writes Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He stresses that human rights, such as the rights to education, food, health and water, are about empowerment, not charity, and underscores the importance of empowering citizens to be involved in crafting and implementing the SDGs. He adds that “universality applies not just to universal application, but also to universal participation and ownership of the goals.”

UK Environmental Audit Select Committee Chair Joan Walley cautions that reducing the number of SDGs “risks relegating environmental sustainability to a side issue,” and could shatter “the carefully negotiated consensus.” She also argues for communicating the goals to the public, particularly youth.

Other articles address: the European Commission’s (EC) energy and climate framework, which will promote a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy; the UN Environment Assembly’s (UNEA) role in moving towards an integrated, universal approach to the SDGs; the role of central banks in shifting towards inclusive, environmentally sustainable development; a carbon pricing system; national accounting systems and inequalities; and chemicals and hazardous substances, among other issues.

The issue also highlights the Montreal Protocol as an “ozone success” and a model for achieving a green economy and the SDGs, achievements by UNEP’s Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), and the UNEP Finance Initiative’s work to align the financial system with a low-carbon, carbon resilient green economy. [Publication: Our Planet: Time for Global Action]

Credit: SIDS Policy & Practice

Climate-Proofing Water Investment in the Caribbean

The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C) has embarked on a new initiative under its Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP) called “Climate-Proofing Water Investment in the Caribbean” which is being executed in partnership with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

The initiative includes the development of a Caribbean Climate Resilience and Water Security Investment Plan (CCReWSIP) which aims to provide a coordinated and programmatic approach to identifying, prioritising and sourcing finance for actions to enhance the climate resilience of the Caribbean through improved water resources management.

The project is being funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and falls within one of the key components of the GWP-C WACDEP which recognises the need to prioritise water investments which perform well under a full range of climate scenarios.

Also crucial to the GWP-C WACDEP is its emphasis on no/low regret investment options given climate uncertainties. Once completed, the implementation of the actions in the Investment Plan and its periodic revision will be an ongoing process supported by GWP-C and the CCCCC.

Get more details on the initiative by downloading a Stakeholder Briefing Note here. Also, we encourage you to share your feedback and comments with GWP-C at knowledgeplatform@gwp-caribbean.org.

Credit: Global Water Partnership – Caribbean

Lessons from Jamaica’s Billion-Dollar Drought

The Yallahs River, one of the main water sources for Jamaica's Mona Reservoir, has been dry for months. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

The Yallahs River, one of the main water sources for Jamaica’s Mona Reservoir, has been dry for months. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

As Jamaica struggles under the burden of an ongoing drought, experts say ensuring food security for the most vulnerable groups in society is becoming one of the leading challenges posed by climate change.

“The disparity between the very rich and the very poor in Jamaica means that persons living in poverty, persons living below the poverty line, women heading households with large numbers of children and the elderly are greatly disadvantaged during this period,” Judith Wedderburn, Jamaica project director at the non-profit German political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), told IPS.

“The food production line gets disrupted and the cost of food goes up, so already large numbers of families living in poverty have even greater difficulty in accessing locally grown food at reasonable prices.” — Judith Wedderburn of FES

“The concern is that as the climate change implications are extended for several years that these kinds of situations are going to become more and more extreme, [such as] greater floods with periods of extreme drought.”

Wedderburn, who spoke with IPS on the sidelines of a FES and Panos Caribbean workshop for journalists held here earlier this month, said Caribbean countries – which already have to grapple with a finite amount of space for food production – now have the added challenges of extreme rainfall events or droughts due to climate change.

“In Jamaica, we’ve had several months of drought, which affected the most important food production parishes in the country,” she said, adding that the problem does not end when the drought breaks.

“We are then affected by extremes of rainfall which results in flooding. The farming communities lose their crops during droughts [and] families associated with those farmers are affected. The food production line gets disrupted and the cost of food goes up, so already large numbers of families living in poverty have even greater difficulty in accessing locally grown food at reasonable prices and that contributes to substantial food insecurity – meaning people cannot easily access the food that they need to keep their families well fed.”

One local researcher predicts that things are likely to get even worse. Dale Rankine, a PhD candidate at the University of the West Indies (UWI), told IPS that climate change modelling suggests that the region will be drier heading towards the middle to the end of the century.

“We are seeing projections that suggest that we could have up to 40 percent decrease in rainfall, particularly in our summer months. This normally coincides with when we have our major rainfall season,” Rankine said.

“This is particularly important because it is going to impact most significantly on food security. We are also seeing suggestions that we could have increasing frequency of droughts and floods, and this high variability is almost certainly going to impact negatively on crop yields.”

He pointed to “an interesting pattern” of increased rainfall over the central regions, but only on the outer extremities, while in the west and east there has been a reduction in rainfall.

“This is quite interesting because the locations that are most important for food security, particularly the parishes of St. Elizabeth [and] Manchester, for example, are seeing on average reduced rainfall and so that has implications for how productive our production areas are going to be,” Rankine said.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced recently that September 2014 was the hottest in 135 years of record keeping. It noted that during September, the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius), which was the fourth monthly record set this year, along with May, June and August.

According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre, the first nine months of 2014 had a global average temperature of 58.72 degrees (14.78 degrees Celsius), tying with 1998 for the warmest first nine months on record.

Robert Pickersgill, Jamaica’s water, land, environment and climate change minister, said more than 18,000 small farmers have been affected by the extreme drought that has been plaguing the country for months.

He said the agricultural sector has lost nearly one billion dollars as a result of drought and brush fires caused by extreme heat waves.

Pickersgill said reduced rainfall had significantly limited the inflows from springs and rivers into several of the country’s facilities.

“Preliminary rainfall figures for the month of June indicate that Jamaica received only 30 per cent of its normal rainfall and all parishes, with the exception of sections of Westmoreland (54 percent), were in receipt of less than half of their normal rainfall. The southern parishes of St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Thomas along with St Mary and Portland were hardest hit,” Pickersgill said.

Clarendon, he said, received only two percent of its normal rainfall, followed by Manchester with four percent, St. Thomas six percent, St. Mary eight percent, and 12 percent for Kingston and St. Andrew.

Additionally, Pickersgill said that inflows into the Mona Reservoir from the Yallahs and Negro Rivers are now at 4.8 million gallons per day, which is among the lowest since the construction of the Yallahs pipeline in 1986, while inflows into the Hermitage Dam are currently at six million gallons per day, down from more than 18 million gallons per day during the wet season.

“It is clear to me that the scientific evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger is now even stronger. As such, the need for us to mitigate and adapt to its impacts is even greater, and that is why I often say, with climate change, we must change,” Pickersgill told IPS.

Wedderburn said Jamaica must take immediate steps to adapt to climate change.

“So the challenge for the government is to explore what kinds of adaptation methods can be used to teach farmers how to do more successful water harvesting so that in periods of severe drought their crops can still grow so that they can have food to sell to families at reasonable prices to deal with the food insecurity.”

 Credit: IPS News
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