DROUGHT CONCERNS IN PARTS OF THE CARIBBEAN

By Glenroy Blanchette

In its latest Drought Bulletin for April 2018, the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) reported concerns over long-term and short-term drought in several Caribbean islands.

The assessment for Cuba and Antigua prompted the CPDMN to state that “water resources should be monitored for long-term drought that can affect groundwater and large catchments, up until the end of the dry season at least,” in those two islands. The report also noted South-eastern Haiti is under long-term drought and that Belize should be monitored as that country faces the possibility of long-term drought.

The islands of the Eastern Caribbean experienced mixed conditions in February varying from slightly dry to extremely wet.

In St. Kitts-Nevis, the dry conditions of the past two months has forced the Water Services Department in St. Kitts to re-implement a water rationing programme for Basseterre and its immediate environs. Acting manager of the Water Services Department Denison Paul said the flow of water has reduced significantly as there has been very little rainfall, and that has led to a reduction in the surface water supply.

“We are still in drought. Our data is showing that since 2015 we were experiencing and still are experiencing the worse drought on record in the history of St. Kitts,” Paul stated.

There was increased rainfall in 2016. However, the levels of surface water remain extremely low and insufficient to replenish the aquifer systems on the island. There has been reduced water flows from surface intakes at Wingfield, Franklands and Phillips’. This situation has placed serious challenges for the Water Services Department.

“Based on everything that is happening, we will be instituting water rationing for Basseterre and its environs … because we have to ensure that we have sufficient water for use during peak periods,” Paul stated.

In 2015, the government instituted a water rationing programme to combat an ongoing drought. Water was being pumped from the Basseterre Valley Aquifer on a continuous basis without adequate recharge, a situation that could destroy the aquifer. The aquifer provides about 40 percent of the island’s drinking water supply.

The government has urged citizens and private institutions to practice water conservation such as repairing leaks, avoiding washing of vehicles with hoses, refraining from watering lawns, and purchasing large storage containers.

In 2016, a 4-day national training workshop on the Development of National Drought Management Policies and Early Warning Information Systems was organized by the OECS Commission’s Reducing the Risks to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) project and the National Drought Mitigation Centre out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Water Services Department has continued its response efforts to the impacts of climate change on water resources and to build greater public awareness about water issues.

“There is now greater public awareness about the importance of and need for water conservation. The public is more involved. When they observe leaks in the water distribution systems, they call in a report it,” said Paul.

According to the Water Services Manager, a Draft National Drought Policy for St. Kitts-Nevis has been submitted to Cabinet following consultations with key public and private sector stakeholders. The purpose of the policy is to manage drought situations and to establish a technical committee to advise Cabinet on related water issues. Paul further indicated that there is an ongoing Caribbean Development Bank funded project which seeks to build resilience to climate change in the water sector by increasing surface water storage capacity, reducing non-revenue water, and creating opportunities for investment.

Grenada's Forestry Department Concerned With Effects Of Climate Change And Its Effects On Hurricanes

With the announcement from Colorado State University hurricane researchers of their projections for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season the forestry department of the ministry of agriculture in Grenada is concerned with the likely effects of this year’s storm and of them possibly intensifying.

The 14 named storms of the 2018 season will be slightly above-average, said a report from the university. It projects that seven of the storms will become hurricanes; three of them “major’’ hurricanes.

Ever more people around the world seem to be experiencing freak storms, floods and droughts — including catastrophes that devastate whole regions. The reasons for these complex weather events aren’t straightforward. Some say the crazy weather we're experiencing is due to greenhouse gas emissions around the world; others disagree.

Anthony Jeremiah, acting chief forestry officer, said the ministry of agriculture is adopting “active preparedness measures’’, admitting that “we are very much concerned regarding the destruction that can arise from hurricanes’’.

During the 2017 Atlantic basin hurricane season, six major storms – all of which were Category 3 or higher – produced devastating human, material and financial losses across the southern United States and the Caribbean.

Last year’s above-average storm activity was foreseeable. Hurricane intensity ticked up in 2016 and scientists have predicted this trend will hold as global temperatures continue to rise.

Though the Caribbean is facing increasing vulnerability to hurricanes, many in the region hold very different opinions about the severity of climate change. According to results from the latest Vanderbilt University Americas Barometer survey, a strong majority of Caribbean residents perceive climate change as a “very serious” problem. In contrast, just 44 percent of the U.S. public does.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Sustainable Land Management a gripping problem Eastern Caribbean States

By Onika Campbell

St. Johns –Antigua: Although, the small islands developing states (sids) especially those within the Eastern Caribbean are among the least responsible of all nations for climate change, they are likely to suffer strongly from its adverse effects and could in some cases even become uninhabitable. This is what makes them such a special case requiring the help and attention of the international community.

The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) and the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) recognize these challenges and are responding to them through the iLAND Resilience Project. The project seeks to combat climate change issues among the nine participating OECS member states through Sustainable Land Management (SLM).

One of the principal channels of support for small island developing States (EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES) in the area of climate change is the iland Resilience GCCA. With, resources made available through this channel, but also using resources of their own and those obtained from multilateral and bilateral sources, EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES have been able to undertake a number of important activities designed not only to meet their reporting obligations under the Convention, but also to take early action in the area of climate change.

EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES have sought and obtained resources for building their national capacities and institutions in areas relevant to climate change. Many of which have used these resources to establish climate change committees that can guide national efforts in this area, develop national climate change action plans and mitigation strategies, and initiate education, training, and public awareness campaigns designed to engage the general populace on the problem of climate change. Supported by this institutional setup, EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES have been active in developing and participating in a number of regional cooperation activities designed to help build capacity for conducting vulnerability and adaptation assessments, to mainstream climate change consideration into developing planning, to cope and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and to develop renewable energy sources.

One example of Sids cooperation on climate change is the iland Resilience GCCA project. With resources obtained from the EU through the OECS Secretariat, EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES cooperated in identifying strategies to cope with adverse effects of climate change, in the areas of:

  • Land Management - Urban and rural planning for sustainable development of priority sectors such as tourism, housing, agriculture, forestry, etc.
  • Food Security – Sustainable Fishing, Agriculture, Soil Management, and land management.
  • Environmental Protection - Protecting functional ecosystems in the interior, along Coastlines, and within the oceans. Managing Disposal of Waste, Pollution, and Preserving biodiversity.
  • Managing Natural Resources - Energy, Water, land, biodiversity.
  • Disaster Risk Management –Building resilience to Hurricanes/Storms, flooding, and drought.
  • Economic Activity - Tourism, Business practices.

In the case of Antigua & Barbuda work is underway to develop an integrated management and planning framework for cost-effective responses and adaptation to flooding associated with climate change in the Cashew Hill area, to provide training and institutional strengthening that could enhance national capacities, and to identify and assess policy options.

Mean while Town and Country Planner Frederick Southwell indicated that Climate change and sea-level rise are likely to threaten freshwater resources through saltwater intrusion within freshwater aquifers. ‘’The frequency and severity of droughts, as experienced in recent decades, may intensify in the future. Antigua and Barbuda and our neighbouring islands which are almost entirely dependent on groundwater supplies, will be seriously affected. Water resources will be threatened by a combination of droughts and lower rates of recharge of the groundwater lens on most atolls.’’

Lack of proper planning and development coupled with the Sea-level rise, along with the indiscriminate adherence of the 100 feet setbacks on the shoreline, will Southwell said; put this already threatened resource at even higher risk in EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES that depend on the extraction of water from shallow freshwater lenses. Climate change is likely to have far-ranging effects on the environment and the economic prospects of small island developing States, as well as on the health of the people living in these areas.

Water resources

In island States where rainwater is the primary source of supply, water availability is sensitive to rainfall patterns and changes in storm tracks. A reduction in rainfall coupled with sea-level rise, changes in El Niño intensity and frequency, and changes in rainfall seasonality would decrease the volume of drinking water, reduce the size of the thin freshwater lens. Additional water management and related challenges due to climate variability, climate change and sea-level rise include increased flood risks, impeded drainage and the presence of elevated water tables.

Meanwhile on Barbuda human activities such as sand mining, coastal and beach erosion is already a problem on many islands – a problem that is likely to be exacerbated by sea-level rise.

Antigua and Barbuda is currently losing its mangrove ecosystems at an annual average rate of about 1.5–2 per cent, with a sea-level rise of 3–4 millimetres a year. Based on this, it is estimated that there will be few, if any, mangroves left in this nation by 2075, because the coastal slopes of most areas will not allow for landward retreat of these trees. If the sea level rises 10 millimetres a year, mangroves could disappear from Antigua and Barbuda by as early as 2030 or 2035.

Ruleta Comacho, Antigua & Barbuda Iland Resilience GCCA Project Co ordinator said however SIDS recognize that adapting to climate change and variability could be costly and that in some cases it may require changes in societal norms and behaviour. ‘’Given the wide range of uncertainties associated with climate change and sea-level projections and with vulnerability and adaptation assessments, however, a no-regrets principle is important in order to use and manage limited resources in a sustainable manner and to cope with the many changing conditions – including climate change –‘’

In spite of the wide range of adaptation options that could be successfully implemented Comacho said , some fundamental constraints limit the choices of options and their implementation. Broadly, these barriers fall into three categories:

  • Agriculture – management and infrastructure development.
  • Water resources – more efficient management of both demand and supply; improved monitoring and forecasting systems for floods and droughts desalination of sea water).
  • Human settlement and infrastructure – hazard mapping; improved forecasting and early warning systems; insurance provision (Antigua and Barbuda).
  • Public health – development of a health surveillance and forecast system; strengthening of data collection and reporting systems; vaccination campaigns and health education (Saint Kitts and Nevis).
  • Tourism – protection of essential facilities and infrastructure as part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management strategy (Grenada, Saint Lucia)
  • Coastal zone – integrated, sustainable coastal zone resource management (Dominica).

Onika Campbell is the Antigua & Barbuda Media Liaison Specialist, ILAND Resilience OECS GCCA Initiative

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ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT INSTRUMENTS

This thematic area is based on the fact that environmental issues are usually complex and may require several policy instruments to adequately address each one. Therefore, the GCCA project is assisting Member States to develop these instruments in a coordinated manner that increases efficiency and also reduces unnecessary administrative costs.

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St. Lucia on its way to implement REDD+ strategy

Saint Lucia is well on its way to implementing a National Strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

This major development was the result of two days of consultations held here last week. Agencies and experts who attended the two day consultations represented the Forestry Department, the OECS, Department of Sustainable Development, Physical Planning, a soil carbon specialist, project manager for the Iyanola Project, Caribbean Youth Environmental Network, Invest St. Lucia, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), the Physical Planning Department and the Japan Climate Change Alliance.

The workshop was facilitated by Climate Change Expert Mr. Eduardo Reyes of Panama, who was contracted by the OECS Commission, with funding from the EU , to provide technical assistance for the establishment of a REDD+ National Strategy.

The workshop provided the attendees with a brief synopsis of climate change and its impacts. It also explained REDD+ as an initiative developed to mitigate climate change by reducing deforestation, forest degradation, conservation of existing forests, and the enhancement of carbon stocks through reforestation and afforestation. Deforestation and Forest Degradation account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and it has become increasingly clear that in order to lessen the impacts of climate change to tolerable limits the global average temperatures must not be increased to more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will be practically impossible to achieve without reducing emissions from the forest sector, in addition to other mitigation actions.

Mr. Reyes informed the workshops that REDD+ is an initiative with a three phased approach. “The first phase would allow a country to decide on actions within REDD+ that it may choose to carry out without having to report formally on these actions. The second phase builds on the first and usually includes projects that enhances the existing carbon stocks within the country. In the third phase the country applies to access the payment mechanism under the REDD+ initiative. This payment mechanism allows countries to sell carbon credits through bi-lateral agreements or receive payments for carbon credits through the green climate fund”, informed Reyes.

Regulations supporting Montserrat’s Conservation Act now being drafted

The Department of Environment (DoE) in Montserrat is closer to developing regulations that would see people being fined for illegally destroying trees, hunting and burning charcoal.

The regulations are being drafted with input from key stakeholders to include representatives of the National Trust, the Tourism Division, The Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS) and civil society.

The guidelines will support the Conservation and Environmental Management Act (CEMA) passed into law 3 years ago. The Honorable Minister responsible for the Environment Claude Hogan says the regulations, when implemented, will address some of the current problems with managing the protected areas of Montserrat.

“It will address some of the problems we have with the forest reserves and the cutting down of trees, so I am very glad that we’ll move from administratively implementing the CEMA into having real regulations now with fines and powers for the Director of Environment, the Chief Fire Officer and the Police to get involved on matters of the environment.”

The proposed regulations will address six key issues, including environmental approvals and permits, forests and forest fires, protected areas, noise and other forms of pollution. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute CANARI is supporting the Department of Environment by providing technical assistance to facilitate its engagement with the stakeholders.

CANARI’s representative Ainka Granderson says the regulations will strengthen the existing legislation and effectively coordinate activities between key groups. This initiative is under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance project, iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change funded by the European Union (EU). The overall aim of the iLAND Resilience project is to support the implementation of the OECS St. George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability, namely the protection and sustained productivity of the OECS countries’ natural resources.

Tanisha Christopher is the OECS iLand Resilience Media Liaison for Montserrat

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PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS AND CONTROL INSTRUMENTS

Physical planning relates generally to the design, growth and management of the physical environment, especially the use of land, through the application of Development Policies, Plans, Strategies, and other Control Instruments. Under this thematic area, the GCCA project is assisting all Member States with the Development of "best practices" Recommendations for Implementing the revised OECS 2015 Building Codes.

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The OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project is presenting Dominica with recommendations for provisions to be included in the building code

Building Code Workshops in Anguilla & Dominica, Faciliated by Mrs. Alison King- Joseph - Environmental Engineer and Consultant

Cashew Hill Gets Help With Its Flooding Problem

A 10.6 million Euros OECS Climate Change project is expected to help reduce the possibility of flooding in the community of Cashew Hill.

The funds for this project, and several others in the nine member states of the OECS, will come from the iLAND Resilience awareness initiative which was recently launched in Grenada.

The project will provide “Detailed analysis and engineering designs for alleviation of flooding (and related risks) at Cashew Hill.” Disaster officials have long warned that areas like Cashew Hill, despite its name, are flood prone areas.

Under the iLand resilience project Antigua & Barbuda will also benefit from the development of Climate Change and Environmental Management Policy and Strategy.”

It is with this funding that the development of Environmental Regulations for the Environmental Protection & Management Act of 2015 will be drafted.

Acoording to the project there will also be the development of “best practices” recommendations for implementing the revised OECS Building Code.

Antigua & Barbuda will also receive technical assistance in the development of local area physical development plans and to conduct of a Knowledge Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey in the OECS. The survey will Assess climate change Adaptation and sustainable sand Management and Implementation of Public Awareness and Project Visibility Activities.

iLand Resilience is the brand for the OECS Commission’s Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project. The project is managed under the OECS Environmental Sustainability portfolio and financed by the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance.

Head of the OECS GCCA Project, Mr. Chamberlain Emmanuel, highlighted that through the iLAND Resilience initiative, OECS Member States can demonstrate their capacity to deal with the threats and opportunities that come with climate change.

“Several interventions are being undertaken throughout the nine participating Member States to address key challenges faced due to the effects of climate change. Examples of these projects include coastal protection initiatives in the British Virgin Islands and in Nevis; and water security through rainwater harvesting in Grenada and Montserrat,” Mr. Emmanuel said.

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NATIONAL LAND POLICIES

National Land Policy according to the OECS Regional Land Policy Guidelines, “defines what actions a government intends to take in managing its land and related natural resources, including water resources, fisheries, forest and wildlife”. The National Land Policies being developed for Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are “formulated within a Natural Resources Management Framework, as it provides the basis for optimal and sustainable use of land and land resources”. For each participating Member State, the document describes the context for the National Land Policy, a vision, objectives, benefits to be derived from its adoption and implementation, Key Directives and associated rationale and actions. An Action Plan for implementation of key policy interventions within the next three to five years, as well as an Indicative Financial Plan to operationalize the Action Plan is also presented.

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In December 2017 Stakeholders met in St. Vincent & Grenada to review the Draft National Land Policy.

The Consultation was structured in a manner to allow maximum participation by the various stakeholders.  It consisted of a formal Opening Session and Plenary and Working Group Sessions.

The presentations made during the Opening Session provided the context for the discussion that took place during the National Consultation. Mr. Anthony Bowman, Chief Technical Officer, Ministry of Housing, Land and Surveys, Physical Planning and Informal Human Settlement, spoke on the behalf of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In his address, Mr. Bowman provided a brief overview of the various efforts that have been made with respect to the rationalization of land management and planning in SVG and underscored the importance of the current initiatives. He identified a number of specific examples that were used to underscore the importance of proper land and land management and planning. Mr. Bowman, also thanked the National Focal Point (NFP) for the excellent work done thus far in coordinating the SVG component of the OECS National Land Policies project. Mr. Cornelius Isaac, Technical Specialist, OECS Commission, spoke on the behalf of the OECS. In his statement, Mr. Isaac placed the SVG component of the project into its broader regional context. He also gave a brief overview of the various products that will result from the SVG component of the project.

The Plenary Sessions were structured in a manner that allowed the consultant to present the entire text of the Draft National Land Policy for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This enabled the stakeholders to consider and discuss all the elements of the Draft National Land Policy. Plenary Sessions were convened on the following themes:

  • Framework for the National Land Policy Including the Rationale Why it should be considered within a Natural Resources Framework and the reasons why the implementation of a sound and functioning Natural Resource Management system  in SVG is necessary.
  • The Objective of the SVG NLP and its consistency with the OECS Regional Land Policy Guidelines
  • Derived Benefits from the Adoption and Implementation of a National Land Policy
  • Key Policy Directives of the National Land Policy For each Policy Directive, the Actions [1] highlighted in the Draft National Land Policy were considered by the Consultation.
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PUBLIC AWARENESS AND PROJECT VISIBILITY

The GCCA project along with climate change best practices widely featured in the media across the member states. This made possible through the iLAND Resilience project.

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Public awareness and visibility is a key theme for the iLAND Resilience Project. The Thematic area seeks to educate the public on Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management best practices in an effort to changes attitudes and habits.







Sustainable Land Management-A Message of Hope

Coastal Erosion- Change Your Heart-Change Your Habits

Gone With The Wind- Adhere to Building Codes

Drought Mitigation- Make A Change

Adhere to Building Codes- Change Your Habits

iLAND Resilience Jingle-Resilient and Strong

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WATER SECURITY

Activities under this thematic area are aimed at enhancing the capacity of participating Member States to sustainably access adequate quantities of quality water for sustaining livelihoods, food production, health and sanitation, and for preserving ecosystems.

Towards this end, the GCCA project is supporting a solar powered Rain water harvesting system for irrigation on Montserrat, and safe potable drinking water in schools, hospitals, and senior citizens’ homes in Grenada

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The micro irrigation technology is assisting in reduction of water bills at the trust and is providing a steady source of water to the Montserrat Botanical Gardens. Contractor, Keith Thomas, of K T Engineering consulting says that the project is the first set up of its kind on the island.

The project is solar powered and is one of several projects sponsored by the GCCA/OECS/EU through its ILand Resilience Initiative.

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FLOOD MITIGATION/ MANAGEMENT

This area of GCCA supported interventions involves the management and control of flood water movement.

At Sandy Ground in Anguilla, there is the installation of a Control Mechanism for the Inflow and Outflow of Water at the salt Pond.

In Montserrat, It’s the management of flood water often resulting in landslides, soil erosion and sediment loss in areas affected by the Collins and Caines rivers and associated tributaries.

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Residents of Sandy Ground To Benefit from Automated Flood Control Systems

A major flood mitigation project is near completion in Sandy Ground Anguilla. The OECS and Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) funded project is expected to controlling the outflow and inflow of water in the Road Bay Salt Pond.

The project is responding to the overall objective of the OECS/GCCA SLM/CCA project, which is to contribute to the achievement of the provisions enshrined in Article 24 of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre.

It consists of a floodgate that will open automatically when water in the pond reaches a certain height allowing the water into the sea; an automated flood warning system for the villagers and a cloud-base system that will warn the public of any imminent flood.

Speaking at a press briefing, the Minister for Infrastructure, Environment and Agriculture, announced that he was pleased to be able to share with the public the work that his Ministry has been undertaking, as part of its mandate to build resilience in terms of Anguilla’s ability to feed itself, manage the green waste it produces, manage land resources appropriately and withstand the impacts of climate change.

" We are grateful for the support of the OECS as well as the support of the Global Climate Change Alliance in providing the funding for two physical adaptation projects in Anguilla, which you will hear a little more about shortly. I must place on record our Government’s thanks and appreciation for the continued support of these organisations which have been our partners for several years," expressed Honorable Curtis Richardson.

The Minister recognises the importance of such projects to the Tourism and Agricultural sectors in Anguilla, and is aware that his island is not excluded from being a target for climatic disasters.

" While we like to say Anguilla is unique, and indeed it is in many ways, it is not unique in its level of vulnerability. Thankfully we have a team of dedicated public servants who would have capitalized on this opportunity and ensured that Anguilla received funding to improve the governance framework for land use and also to undertake these two projects on streamlining green waste and the construction of a flood gate at Sandy Ground. A lot of work has been done on these projects and we welcome this opportunity to share with the public the progress that has been made to date," stated Honorable Richardson

Further phases of the project will include an earthen dyke around the southern, eastern and northern perimeter of the pond and the raising of a culvert crossing.

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WATERSHED/ FOREST REHABILITATION

The GCCA project has provided resources to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to assist with the Implementation of an Integrated Watershed Management Plan, which is primarily aimed at restoration and maintenance of natural forest cover and watershed stability for the Upper Cumberland and Perseverance Watershed regions.

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is the second most disaster-prone country in the world by population

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) says that St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is the second most disaster-prone country in the world, by population.

The GFDRR also states that SVG is the fifth most disaster-prone country in the world by land size and because of this, Kedahli Crichton, a physical planning officer at the Physical Planning Unit, says that projects like the European Union (EU) funded “ILAND RESILIENCE” initiative are very important to small island developing states (SIDS) like SVG.

ILAND RESILIENCE is the name of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States’ (OECS) brand associated with the OECS-managed Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project. The GCCA’s shared portfolio of climate change adaptation and sustainable land management is being implemented in SVG, through the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Economic Planning.

This project focuses on sustainable development in SIDS through sustainable land management towards climate change adaption and seeks to, among other things, help locals mitigate against the threats that come with climate change, and create awareness.

“We have a long history of being impacted by climatic anomalies and we also have a great deal of people living under threat given our particular development scenario where we are all on the coast,” Crichton said.

GFDRR statistics show that 41.2 per cent of Vincentians are at risk from two or more climatic hazards and, according to Crichton, if you turn that the other way, it means that 58.8 per cent of Vincentians are at risk of facing two or less hazards.

“We are definitely disaster prone,” said Crichton, who noted that the GCCA project is just one vehicle through which policy decisions are being made to address climate change mitigation and how SVG and other OECS countries can see “our way out of suffering the full effects of climatic hazards”.

Crichton said that the floods that have taken place locally have captured a lot of media attention, but climatic variability has also caused droughts as well, which have impacted the agricultural sector, among other facets of Vincentian life.

“It is something that we at the Physical Planning Unit and the Ministry of Agriculture are paying close attention to and the GCCA project seeks to build awareness and institutional capacity and create actual physical mitigation measures,” Crichton said. Under physical adaptation measures of the GCCA project, the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Forestry Division, has secured a consultancy for the extension of the Cumberland/Perseverance Watershed Management Plan.

This plan seeks to, among other things, ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem services and the related livelihoods, such as tours etc.

“Institutional strengthening has been done as well,” Crichton said, adding that the GCCA project has trained persons on Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, which allows one to visualise, question, analyse and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns and trends and present geographic data.

Engineer Adrian Galloway of Galloway Group Inc. photoed in one of the pictures

GCCA Flood Mitigation Works in Saint Vincent

Residents and Farmers in Montserrat Benefit from Disaster Relief Interventions.

Heavy rain is no longer a deterrent to farmers in Upper Blakes, Montserrat who want to access their lands as work to improve the access road is almost complete.

Contractor Galloway Group Inc. says it has already laid 90% of the 700 metres of concrete and drains required under the Upper Blakes Soil Erosion Management Project.

The drains are to enable the run off of surface water caused by heavy rains which often resulted in continuous erosion of the access road, making it impassable.

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ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION/ REHABILITATION

Ecosystem restoration is the process of returning an ecosystem as closely as possible to natural conditions and functions.

Under this thematic area, the GCCA project is assisting Dominica with reforestation of degraded dry scrub forest ecosystems in three areas using agroforestry methods.

These were areas affected by the rapid spread of alien and invasive flora species such as Lemon grass, Glory Cedar, and Zing Zing.

It is anticipated that this effort will result in the re-establishment of natural habitats and forest species, including the national endemic flower, the Bwa Kwaib (Sabinea carinalis).

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The invasive lemongrass plant which covers most of the area was removed and replaced with hardy trees and shrubs that can withstand the harsh climate and minimise the chances of brush fires, which can occur where there is a significant presence of the lemongrass plant.

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SLOPE STABILIZATION

This thematic area involves the application of physical methods such as retaining walls, drop structures, and sabo dams or bioengineering approaches such as terracing, grassed waterway, and tree planting or, a combination of the two.

The aim of these measures are mainly to manage runoff, stabilize slopes, and reduce erosion.

The GCCA project interventions include soil erosion management for farmers at Duck Pond and Blake’s Estate in Montserrat, the promotion of Mango Biodiversity preservation in Saint Lucia so as to secure the ecosystem services it provides in regulating slope failure, soil and water loss, and the establishment of a Model Agricultural Demonstration Station to illustrate Sustainable Land Management through Soil and Water conservation measures.

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Collins Ghaut Slope Stabilization Project Update

Contractors of the Collins Ghaut Slope Stabilization Project say the project is on schedule to be completed by December 2018.

The project is one of the ways in which the OECS is helping to strengthen the island’s resilience to climate change and its impacts by protecting housing vulnerable to landslides and river erosions that may cause damage to lives and property .

Mango Biodiversity Cooking Competition-Saint Lucia

A rehabilitation project in Woodford Hill Dominica to encourage slope stabilisation best practices.

Collins Ghaut Slope Stabilisation Project

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DROUGHT MITIGATION AND FOOD SECURITY

Under this thematic area, the GCCA supported activities are aimed at emphasizing the physical and environmental inter-connectedness between land, coast, and the sea.In BVI, the intervention is called the “North Shore Integrated Coastal and Watershed Stabilisation Project”.

This is being implemented as a Physical Adaptation Pilot intervention in the OECS Member State of Anguilla. The main objective is to streamline green waste through composting for improved sustainable soil management. It will utilize green waste from local farms and government operations, to create appropriate and affordable soil amendments, using appropriate combinations of composting technologies to develop high quality composts for local food production and agricultural resilience. This will result in enhancing food security. The project priorities and themes are waste minimization, compost development, organic soil amelioration, strategic waste management, enhanced agricultural resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and sustainable land management.

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Grenada Welcomes iLAND Resilience Rainwater Harvesting Project

St. Georges,Grenada- December 5, 2017-An OECS/ Global Climate Change Alliance(GCCA) rainwater harvesting project is expected to bring relief to the Mac Donald College, the Mirabeau Agricultural Station, and by extension the surrounding community in Grenada.

The rainwater harvesting project forms part of a number of OECS\GCCA iLAND Resilience projects across the OECS region. The projects aim to mitigate the effects of Climate Change, like drought, which the Principal at the college says is a major issue for the institution. The rainwater system will therefore be used as an emergency backup up for irrigation, drinking and cleaning.

"In many of drought, it is very difficult to have school, and in times of prolonged rainfall, once the damns are overflowed, we may not have water at the school for days. Over the last 27 years we had many stoppages of school due to the water shortage. Therefore, I think a project like this will alleviate the problem and make it easier, now that we have a good alternative source of water," expresses Carl Andall Mac Donald College Principal.

The agricultural industry is another sector which will benefit from the rainwater harvesting project. Land Use Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries  & Environment, Trevor Thompson, says that drought periods often result in loss of farming outputs like seedlings. He asserts that the rain water harvesting project is a valuable solution to climate change.

"Last year we had a substantial loss of seedlings due to the extended dry season. The 18 thousand gallon tank installed at the Mirabeau Agricultural Station, will augment the water supply, when water in the damn is low. The system is also solar powered and therefore, there is no need for fuel or regular maintenance; it is really a climate smart system," explains Thompson.

One of the main thematic areas of the OECS GCCA iLAND Resilience project is Water Security, as a means of climate change adaptation. This is evident at the Mac Donald College, as well as the Mirabeau Agricultural Station. Project Leader of the OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project, Chamberlain Emmanuel, explains that the rainwater harvesting project is far reaching ,in that it supports Food Security ,another key thematic area of the OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience project.

" Food security is visible primarily at the Mirabeau Agricultural Station, where the Ministry produces seedlings, thousands of seedlings which are critical to be used by farmers and householders for propagating various crops. That project is complete and will resound to the benefits of the Agricultural station."

"The project is also connected to a 12 acre farm at the school, which will help to feed the other irrigation system for that farm, educate the students and provide actual supplies to the community," informs Emmanuel

The OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience team is satisfied with the rainwater harvesting project, and is hoping to mirror its success in other OECS member states.

The OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience team is satisfied with the rainwater harvesting project, and is hoping to mirror its success in other OECS member states.

Article 24 of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre demonstrates the conviction of Member States in their shared commitment to implement the St George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability.  The Declaration was designed for the long-term protection and sustained productivity of the region’s natural resources and ecosystem services for optimal and equitable economic, social and cultural development.

The goal of the OECS Climate Change Programme is to enhance the resilience of OECS Member States to Climate Change Impacts as a means to enhancing the competitiveness of States.

The Programme seeks to create an enabling environment and enhance capacity of institutions and stakeholders at the community, national and regional levels to effectively manage natural resources and reduce the risks associated with climate change through the adoption of climate change adaptation mechanisms and removing the barriers to implementation.

The programme seeks to intervene in several related areas, including:

  • Enabling Environment for Adaptation to Climate Change - Policy, Legal and Institutional framework
  • Sustainable Land Management
  • Coastal Zone Management
  • Watershed Management
  • Research and Systematic Observation
  • Disaster Response and Risk Reduction
  • Biodiversity Management - Resources Conservation; Protected Areas Management
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Education / Capacity-Building
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INTEGRATED WATERSHED AND COASTAL MANAGEMENT

Under this thematic area, the GCCA supported activities are aimed at emphasizing the physical and environmental inter-connectedness between land, coast, and the sea. In BVI, the intervention is called the “North Shore Integrated Coastal and Watershed Stabilisation Project”.

It is located within the neighboring watersheds of Cane Garden Bay and Brewer’s Bay, on the north shore of Tortola. The objective is to attenuate physical damage or potential loss to terrestrial and marine resources arising from extreme climatic events. In St. Lucia, the project seeks to create a model watershed in an urban/semi-urban area that supports sustainable land management and encompasses the ridge-to-reef concept in the Bois d’Orange watershed. The intervention in St. Kitts is entitled “New River Estate Stabilization of Degraded Lands Project” and seeks to rehabilitate and reduce the effects of climate change and human induced degradation on the environment at the New River and Coconut Walk area. It specifically intends to reduce soil erosion through restoration of natural vegetation, use of stone contours and reduce overgrazing through animal control mechanisms, and also decrease coastal erosion through the strategic placement of boulders.

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New River & Coconut Walk Estate’s Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control Project is on track

The New River & Coconut Walk Estate’s Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control Project in Nevis provide important benefits to stakeholder groups on the island.

Several natural and human activities such as sea level rise, illegal sand mining and overgrazing have caused sections of the coastal slopes in the area to be severely eroded. The project seeks to stabilize the slope and control erosion by implementing structural mitigation measures including the placement of a 65 meter long rip-rap and bio-engineering works to re-vegetate the area.

According to Mr. Floyd Liburd, Forestry Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture in Nevis and Focal Point for the physical adaptation pilot project, stakeholders such as farmers who live and work in the area will reap tremendous benefits from the measures that are being put in place to protect the coast and adjacent historic buildings such as the Lime Kiln ruin at New River Estate.

“Everyone in the area will benefit. Farmers in the area will benefit. Tourists will also benefit because the area can become a tourist attraction. There is a lime kiln in the area already and this would just add to the value of that attraction,” said Liburd. “Farmers would benefit because the plants that would be placed along the coast would intercept some of the salt spray that were affecting melons and tomatoes and so on in that area. And so farmers and the general public stand to gain from this project.”

The local contractor for the Project is Lefco Equipment Rental and Construction Company Ltd.

The physical adaptation pilot project at New River is a sub-component of a broader regional project (termed as the iLand Resilience Project) which is a collaboration between the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), the European Union and the OECS Commission. The overall project goal seeks to build awareness of global climate change as well as to build the capacity of Member States to address the effects of climate change.

Three other key national outputs of the iLand Resilience Project includes: the development of a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for St. Kitts and Nevis, the development of “best practices” recommendations for the implementation of the Revised OECS Building Codes, in addition to implementation of public awareness and project visibility activities.

The Department of Environment as the National Focal Agency for the iLand Resilience Project is pleased with the progress of the project and in particular the progress that is been made under the New River Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control project in Nevis.

Saint Lucia benefits from slope stabilisation activities through gabion walls and drain wall projects in Corinth/ Grand Riviere

Key Facts

Climate Change & Greenhouse Gases

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main cause of human-induced climate change. Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, to generate energy has the greatest impact on the atmosphere than any other single human activity.

Sustainable Land Management

Sustainable Land Management (SLM) is the use of land and water resources for our everyday needs, in such away that future generations can continue to benefit from it.

Rising Sea Levels

Average global sea level is expected to rise 7 – 23 inches before the end of this century.This is especially dangerous because half of the world’s population (including the OECS region) lives within 37 miles of the sea.