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The Global Resilience and Crisis Management Centre, which will deal with climate-related issues, will be established at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
Making the disclosure in his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 8), Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said the Centre is being designed to help vulnerable states to recover quickly from natural disasters.
He said establishment of the facility, which will provide information, expertise, technical advice and guidance, resulted from the World Tourism Conference, which was held in Jamaica last November.
Mr. Bartlett pointed out that the Centre has received support from the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization, along with several overseas universities.
The Tourism Minister said the ultimate goal of the Global Resilience Centre will be to assist destination preparedness, management and recovery from disruptions and/or crises that threaten economies and livelihoods globally with real time data and effective communication.
Mr. Bartlett said that while the tourism sector has traditionally been very resilient, the industry is also one of the most vulnerable to climate change, cybercrime/cyber-terrorism, terrorism and pandemics.
He noted that several powerful hurricanes and storms caused catastrophic damage to the region last year.
“Disruptions within the sector have wider implications for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Ensuring the resilience of the sector is critical to protecting and promoting the well-being of millions of citizens around the world,” Minister Bartlett said.
A blue urban agenda: adapting to climate change in the coastal cities of Caribbean and Pacific small island developing states
Cities in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have leveraged nearly US$800 million in green climate funding to support coastal resilience, says a new Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report.
The study, A Blue Urban Agenda: Adapting to Climate Change in the Coastal Cities of Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States, estimates that 4.2 million people in SIDS in the Caribbean and in the Pacific are living in areas that are prone to flooding due to rising sea levels. As a result the region has now become a reference for other port cities.
“Mayors in port cities across the globe should be cognisant of the enormous economic costs and implications of sea level rise, hurricanes and coastal storms to port infrastructure,” Michelle Mycoo, co-author of the report, told Cities Today. “Mayors will need to consider a mix of strategies such as higher investments in robust coastal defences, alternative future upgrading and expansion plans such as retreating from the coast and relocation of storage areas for container cargo further inland.”
The international community has responded by providing US$55.6 billion in aid and private sector flows to Caribbean and Pacific SIDS over the last 20 years. These programmes have included coastal engineering to protect cities from flooding and coastal erosion, wetland restoration, coral reef conservation and watershed rehabilitation, urban planning and the enforcement of coastal setbacks and flood-resistant building codes.
“The urban planning profession clearly needs to pursue a Blue Urban Agenda and build cities that respond to their shores and the needs of coastal residents,” said Michael Donovan, co-author and Housing & Urban Development Senior Specialist, IDB.
The study reviewed 50 projects financed by the IDB, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and others, and the efforts made by Caribbean and Pacific SIDS to implement adaptation strategies aimed at reducing vulnerability and enhancing sustainability. It shows an increasing emphasis on urban governance and institutional capacity building within city planning agencies.
It includes several policy recommendations for cities, including improving coastal planning, land reclamation, coastal setbacks, enforcement of building codes, climate-proofing infrastructure, mangrove reforestation, and coastal surveying and monitoring.
“Adapting and improving the resilience of cities in coastal zones of SIDS, especially those experiencing rapid urbanisation, remains critical,” added Donovan. “Caribbean and Pacific coastal cities are on the front lines of the response to climate change and are pioneering innovative approaches to respond to coastal transformation. All eyes are on these islands as port cities across the world look for answers to the coastal question.”
Credit: Cities Today
Belize will strengthen the climate resilience of its energy sector as a result of a US$8 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors.
“A major concern we often grapple with is extreme weather,” said Frank Mena, Belize’s Minister of State for Finance, Public Service, Energy & Public Utilities. “The impact of such events often leads to major set-backs to our development progress,” he added.
Belize is often in the direct path of tropical storms and hurricanes, which are expected to intensify due to climate change. This has caused many human casualties and widespread damages, resulting in costly disruptions of vital public services. The impact of Hurricane Dean in 2007 resulted in US$80-100 million in damages, equivalent to 6-8 percent of GDP, and a near countrywide power blackout. Likewise, Hurricane Earl left another wave of disruptions last month.
“Building climate resilience is a key priority for Belize. This project aims to support the government’s continued efforts to make energy and power systems better prepared and more resilient to storms, hurricanes and natural hazards,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
Among the concrete results to be achieved by the Energy Resilience for Climate Adaptation Project in Belize are:
- Improved capacity for long-term energy planning, taking into account the impact of climate change;
- Better monitoring of weather and localized impacts of climate change through the installation of meteorological and hydro-meteorological stations across the country;
- Enhanced electricity supply security despite weather events, by strengthening the transmission network and reducing the likelihood of service disruptions;
- Improved preparedness through the design and implementation of an Emergency Response and Recovery Plan for the power sector;
- Revitalized communication network of the power company, ensuring better command and control coordination during response and recovery operations.
This four year project is financed by a US$8 million grant from the Global Environment Facility’s Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and US$3.9 million counterpart financing from the Government of Belize and the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) company.
Credit: World Bank
The Secretary-General said: “I am heartened by the significant and growing coalitions that are emerging to tackle the challenges of climate change and realize new opportunities. I am pleased to be joined by so many key partners to scale climate action efforts and make them sustainable.”
The Secretary-General, joined by the World Bank; the Global Environment Facility; the Compact of Mayors and Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; We Mean Business; and the University of Maryland, will co-sponsor a “Climate Action 2016” summit of leaders from government, business, cities and localities, civil society and academia on May 5–6 in Washington, D.C.
This high-level gathering will complement ongoing implementation efforts and catalyze actionable, concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas, including: cities; land use; resilience; energy; transport; tools for decision makers; and finance.
Source: UNFCC Newsroom
Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has lauded the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC) for its support of Caribbean entrepreneurs.
“This is a programme that encourages entrepreneurs to come up with solutions. You provide funding, so that they can build a solution which won’t necessarily just solve a problem in Jamaica, or the Caribbean, but which can solve problems globally,” Mr. Robinson said.
The State Minister was speaking at a cocktail reception to highlight the work of the CCIC, held at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), in St. Andrew, on September 16.
The CCIC is a joint project of the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute, World Bank and the SRC. It was designed to identify and support Caribbean entrepreneurs and new ventures that are developing locally appropriate solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Phase One of the project was highly successful, as 11 entrepreneurs were selected as proof of concept winners and awarded grants ranging from US$10,000 to US$50,000, totalling approximately US$425,000. The winners were from Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia and Belize.
The four Jamaican winners are Shirley Lindo, Castor Oil Briquettes; Dr. Kert Edward, Fibre Optic Solar Indoor Lighting; Robert Wright, Pedro Banks Renewable Energy; and Harlo Mayne, for his H2-Flex Hydrogen Hybrid Project.
Meanwhile, the State Minister noted that one of the challenges facing entrepreneurs is the inability to access non-banking financing, such as venture funding.
“There are some developments that are taking place in a positive way in that regard. The Development Bank of Jamaica has an initiative on venture capital, and there are a couple of private angel investor groups that have been established, all of which are positive for the development of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Mr. Robinson said.
He pointed out that the innovations that are a part of the CCIC, fit right into the plans that the Government has in terms of building a sustainable energy policy.
For his part, Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Cliff Riley, said the CCIC is looking forward to moving on to Phase Two of the project.
“We are looking to see how we can drive entrepreneurship and create a spirit of innovation in Jamaica and in the Caribbean region,” Dr. Riley said.
Phase Two of the project will provide: proof of concept grant funding for new cohorts of entrepreneurs; training (including access to financing, market development and business incubation training); mentoring and networking opportunities; and specific business incubation services.
The project, which is housed at the SRC, caters to the Caribbean Community, including 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.
Credit: Jamaica Information Service
The fourth meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) ministers in charge of fisheries and aquaculture was held in Brussels from 22 to 23 July 2015, preceded by a meeting of senior fisheries officials on 20 and 21 July.
It provided an opportunity for the ministers to take stock of progress made in implementing the strategic action plan for fisheries and aquaculture, which was adopted in Nadi, Fiji in 2012, and to agree on the way forward to ensure the sustainability of aquatic resources with a view to wealth creation and development in ACP countries.
More than 60 ACP member states are engaged in the export of fish and aquaculture products to regional and international markets, although these countries provide only 3% share in value of the global fisheries trade, worth US$150 billion per year.
At the conclusion of their meeting, the ministers adopted a roadmap for the implementation of the strategic action plan, calling for mobilisation of adequate financial resources and close collaboration with partner institutions which provide support to ACP fisheries sector, among them the EU, FAO, IFAD, UNIDO and the World Bank, to ensure effective implementation.
Given the negative impact of climate change on the fisheries sector, the ministers called specifically on the international community to agree to outline concrete, ambitious actions to reduce the effects of climate change during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is scheduled to take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015.
In light of the persistence of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and piracy, the ACP ministers also urged the international community to cooperate more closely with ACP countries and to provide financial and technical support for the efforts made at the national and regional level, to curb and eradicate these two extremely serious problems.
The ministers recommended developing aquaculture, the economic development of the fisheries sector as a means for creating decent jobs, especially for youth and women, as well as the preservation of aquatic biodiversity. They agreed to implement plans for the development of aquaculture and appropriate fisheries management measures in compliance with international agreements.
The ministers also stressed the need for coherence and appropriate policies among regional economic integration organisations and regional fisheries organisations to achieve this aim.
The ministers directed the ACP Secretariat to seek technical assistance and financial support from development partners, specifically the European Union, to strengthen ACP fisheries sectors and their national health and food security agencies to enable them to comply with increasingly stringent health requirements.
The ministers also agreed that the European Union should provide support to the ACP fisheries and aquaculture sector, through appropriate measures, to cope with the erosion of preferential tariffs for ACP fish exports to EU markets, and to support the ACP Position on Fisheries subsidies negotiations in the WTO negotiations.
Credit: Caribbean News Now
Caribbean leaders appear to be giving serious consideration to making a proposal requesting the gradual write-off of billions of dollars in external debt.
The issue was raised by Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena at a high-level meeting this morning that preceded yesterday’s official opening of the 36th regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.
She pointed out that 40 per cent of the Caribbean’s US$46 billion debt is to multinational agencies, with 14 per cent being bilateral.
Of that amount, she said, US$30 billion was accumulated between 1990 and 2014 as a result of natural disasters.
She described the situation facing regional states are serious, explaining that five Caribbean countries are among the most indebted in the world.
Bárcena said the problems are compounded by the vulnerabilities of Caribbean economies that are already facing a decline in foreign direct investment.
“Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis are the top five in the Caribbean,” she said. “Nobody talks about them. We all hear about Belize. Of course it represents one per cent of the global debt so we are not a systematic problem.”
The ECLAC official said “the time is ripe” for CARICOM states, along with the Caribbean Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to hammer out an agreement on a proposal for debt relief.
“The debt service payments should go to a resilience fund that can probably be managed by the Caribbean Development Bank. The resilience fund should be used . . . for infrastructure adaptation, sea defence.
“Another fund that should be very important is . . . an external micro economic fund. That fund is for external shocks. Who should support that external micro economic fund is the larger economies of Latin America, the Brazil and Columbia,” she said.
In his intervention, President of the Caribbean Development Bank Dr. Warren Smith said Caribbean leaders need to show they are serious about change by making hard decisions.
“Even as we make a case for that debt relief we need to demonstrate to those with whom we are negotiating that we are prepared to take the tough decisions to do the right thing,” he told the meeting.
“We need to change the structure of our economies. We can’t continue to do what we have done in the past and expect different results.”
The discussion was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States Luis Almagro Lemes, and Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma, among other officials.
Credit: Caribbean 360
The Gold Standard Cities Programme is developing ground-breaking solutions that will unlock the finance needed by cities around the globe for low carbon development.
Urbanization and climate change will be defining issues of the 21st century. Half of the world’s population resides in cities and it is expected that by 2015, the world will have over 350 cities with more than one million inhabitants each.
Cities are already feeling the impacts of climate change and they will increasingly be susceptible to rising sea levels, inland flooding, frequent and stronger tropical cyclones, periods of increased heat and the spread of diseases. To mitigate climate change and to adapt to these impacts, it is estimated that by 2050 more than a trillion U.S. dollars in investment will be needed for cities but currently, less than 2% of climate finance is channeled into urban projects due to a lack of reliable monitoring, reporting and verification on project performance and outcomes. Further, the World Bank estimates that of the 500 largest cities in the developing world, only about 4 percent are credit worthy in international financial markets, making it next to impossible to access finance for low carbon development.
The Gold Standard Cities Programme is a ground-breaking results-based finance framework through which cities can develop, audit and verify urban programmes – in order to catalyse and scale up the currently missing investment.
Supported by WWF, initial work used suppressed demand methodologies to determine that slums in Delhi emit 6.1 million tons of CO2 annually which can be reduced to 2.8 million tons by the implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Establishing this baseline for slum areas was not only cutting edge research but a critical pre-requisite for climate finance to flow. Without a baseline it is impossible to verify emission reductions – the whole premise of results based climate finance. Until now, this has been a key barrier to funding urban low carbon and pro-poor development through climate finance.
The results-based finance framework, developed initially for Delhi, has been designed to be replicated in cities around the world, giving investors confidence that they have a global benchmark with which they can measure urban low carbon and sustainable development outcomes.
Major cities in China, the Middle East and Turkey are in the process of joining The Gold Standard Cities Programme.
For more information about The Gold Standard’s work with sustainable cities, please visit:
Credit: The Gold Standard
Governments throughout the Caribbean have become more cognizant of climate change issues and the import to implement adaptation and mitigation measures allay such climatic issues. Many have been investing in renewable energy sources for their country. This was demonstrated in March 2013 when CARICOM ministers approved for its member states to produce 47 percent of their electricity needs through renewable energy by 2027.
Climate change urging for investments in renewable energy are based on scientific hypotheses, data collection and analysis. This may attribute for the lack of mass political and capital investments. However, such investments would reduce reliance on energy imports and would alleviate nations from volatility of the oil market.
The cost of importing the vast majority of energy needed for all forms of transportation and productions drives up the prices of all goods and services produced in the Caribbean.
In October 2013, the Jamaica Gleaner contained a special column written by Zia Mian, formerly of the World Bank, which stated:
“The cost of petroleum fuels, as well as electricity in these countries, is high, making it difficult for them to compete in the regional or international markets.”
He asserted that reducing the Caribbean’s reliance on imported fuels would further development in the region,
“For the energy deficient countries of the region, the immediate and long-term sustainability of development depends on facilitating the advancement of enabling environments that would allow increased domestic productive capacity and production of goods and services at competitive and affordable costs.”
Consequently, it is vital that the Caribbean invest in more renewable energy solutions which will positively impact its economic conditions. In order for theses investments to be profitable, practical solutions that are sustainable must be thoroughly planned.
Governments must look pragmatically at the realities of investing in renewable energy for the future and making a holistic plan for how to move the Caribbean towards wider use of renewable energy in a cohesive and usable way as opposed to a piecemeal, project-by-project approach. Credits: Caribbean Journal