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EU Climate Diplomacy Week

"Building Resilience on the Frontlines of Climate Change: OECS Action"

From the 8th to 12th of October 2018, the Harbor Club will come alive with a host of activities for Climate Week.

The event, in its second season, is led by The OECS Commission; in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Forestry, Fisheries & Agriculture, The National Authorizing Office, the OECS iLAND Resilience Project and the French Embassy; and in conjunction with the Nationally Determined Contributions Financing Initiative (NDCFI).

EU Climate Diplomacy Week is a time, where EU Delegations around the world reach out to communities and partner organisations, highlighting positive global action and collaboration on climate change.  With 2018 the year of the 'Talanoa Dialogue' – a facilitative process to help review progress towards the global goals of the Paris Agreement ahead of COP24 – the EU Foreign Affairs Council in its last conclusions emphasised the need to continue to strengthen political outreach and public diplomacy on climate issues, up to the highest official levels and involving the full range of regional and sub-regional actors.

The activity will host gallery exhibitions, information distribution and networking opportunities. The overall aim of the exhibition is to foster an understanding of the topic among the interested public, and particularly targeting local students and the high level Caribbean and international audience of the NDCFI.

The display will be embodied with creative expressions to give a Caribbean flavor to the issue of climate change and sustainable development.v

The activity subjects including water, climate, land, human mobility, forests and fisheries, will be used to show the way in which climate change and environmental degradation impacts security and sustainability, as well as how cooperation, advocacy and deliberate interventions can support sustainable development, livelihoods and wellbeing.

MAIN FEATURES:

The Role of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Cluster in assisting Member States with measures that address mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The thematic/programme areas and how they are related to climate change.

  • Climate Change and coastal impacts;
  • OECS vulnerabilities to climate change (to include location, topography, poverty issues);
  • Climate Change and natural disasters – focusing on Disaster Risk Management;
  • Renewable Energy as a Climate Change adaptation measure;
  • Sustainable Oceans Governance as a Climate Change adaptation measure;
  • How human practices compound the impacts of climate change;
  • Social and health impacts of climate change.

Promotion of Mango Biodiversity as a tool for Climate Change Adaptation.

This is an approach of planting various varieties of mango for rehabilitation of vulnerable watersheds by facilitating slope and riverbank stabilization, while generating sustainable livelihoods and food and nutrition security. Lessons learnt from past interventions using mangoes in agriculture and forestry has been incorporated into the intervention designs. In doing so, this project seeks to build on current research and encourage further innovations in agriculture and sustainable land use management (SLM) in order to make vulnerable Small Island Developing states more resilient to the impacts of climate change. In the process of highlight the value of Mango Biodiversity in Saint Lucia towards diversification, sustainable livelihoods, and land management, especially in the face of climate change, a Mango recipe book as one of the deliverables. The book will be made available at the exhibition; along with two vendors have been invited to showcase relevant local products (jams etc.) made from mangoes. This initiative was implemented via the OECS EU-GCCA Project.

Ministry of Sustainable Development, Forestry, Fisheries, Agriculture

The contribution of the Ministry will facilitate showcasing various initiatives aimed at promoting Adaptation, Mitigation and overall sustainable development:

  • Biodiversity – various initiatives
  • Iyanola Project – physical development planning
  • SDGs – working towards the priority sustainable development goals
  • MEAs - project aimed at phasing out the use of Styrofoam and promotion of alternatives.
  • Forestry – showcasing of endemic species
  • Energy – exhibition of electric car, in partnership with private sector dealer 
  • CYEN – The local chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network will host a booth promoting advocacy and action.

Human Mobility

Climate change is a driver of human mobility and is expected to increase the displacement of populations. The risk of displacement increases when populations who lack the resources to migrate experience higher exposure to extreme weather events, in both rural and urban areas, particularly in low-income developing countries. Changes in migration patterns can be responses to both extreme weather events and longer-term climate variability and change, and migration can also be an effective adaptation strategy. This issue has gained increased visibility and relevance for the OECS Member States in light of the post 2017 Hurricane scenarios in Dominica, Barbuda and other islands.

Grenadian stakeholders finalise forestry, wildlife and protected area frameworks for the tri-island state

St. Georges, September 19, 2018 - Practitioners, policy makers and civil society groups participated in the second national workshop to complete the updating of the National Forest Policy and Strategic Plan, and Protected Area, Forest and Wildlife Act for Grenada.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) facilitated this second national workshop along with the Ministry for Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information.

At the workshop opening segment, acting Chief Forestry Officer Anthony Jeremiah, noted the importance of the participatory approach utilised thus far. CANARI, defines participation in the context of natural resource management as a process that:

  • facilitates dialogue among all actors;
  • mobilises and validates popular knowledge and skills;
  • encourages communities and their institutions to manage and control resources;
  • seeks to achieve sustainability, economic equity and social justice;
  • and maintains cultural integrity

The year- long process to update the environmental frameworks, was supported by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance Project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management in the Eastern Caribbean (iLAND Resilience – Promoting a Climate for Change), funded by the European Union (EU). It was also supported by a CANARI / EU grant funded project, on Powering Innovations in Civil Society and Enterprises for Sustainability in the Caribbean (PISCES). Specifically, the PISCES financial contribution supported the engagement of civil society in policy development.

The refreshed Forest Policy and Strategy focuses heavily on climate change resilience, and also addresses related issues such as fires, invasive species and watershed management. Effective watershed management including forest conservation and restoration is critical to protect Grenada’s water supply. This, in turn, is important considering the reduced rainfall levels predicted for the Caribbean region under current climate change scenarios. Key issues for Carriacou and Petit were also considered, such as animal grazing in forested areas.

The policy and strategy also focus on overarching concerns such as the need to improve human resource capacity for the effective - management of forested areas. Legislative revisions include the updating of protected trees and wildlife species for Grenada.

About iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change: iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change is the brand for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management in the Eastern Caribbean. This project is funded by the European Union (EU). One component of this project focuses on Technical Assistance for the Development of Frameworks aimed at Enhancing Environmental Management. This technical assistance component seeks to develop institutional frameworks towards improved environmental management and resilience to climate change in four OECS Member States, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia. CANARI is implementing this component on behalf of the OECS and providing co-financing through its EU funded project, Powering Innovations in Civil Society and Enterprises for Sustainability in the Caribbean (PISCES). See here for more information on the iLand Resilience project: http://iland.oecs.org/.

About CANARI: The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for more than 25 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on capacity building, policy planning and development, research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, and fostering regional partnerships. See here for more information on CANARI: http://www.canari.org/.

First Saint Lucia Mango Festival gathered 500 visitors!

The OECS and EU sponsored Saint Lucia Mango Festival held last week met all expectations as the event brought together 16 exhibitors and 500 participants at the Constitution Park in Castries.

he festival aimed at raising public awareness on the Mango Biodiversity Project which was started in 2017 in order to limit land erosion in vulnerable riverbanks. The high soil stabilisation capacity of the mango tree enables a bio solution to this issue in Saint Lucia where 6.000 have already been planted. Mrs La Force-Haynes highlighted the success of the endeavour.

The Festival was very well received by the public. We had about 16 participants who showcased different products made with mango and at least 500 visitors today. We hope to make the Saint Lucia Mango Festival an annual event ! Environmental Education Officer Nicole La Force-Haynes explained.

On a regional level, The Saint Lucia Mango Festival formed part of the European Union funded GCCA iLand Resilience Project on climate change adaptation and sustainable land management. The GCCA project which started in 2014 includes multiple initiatives implemented in collaboration with governments of participating countries.

Nine OECS Member States are direct beneficiaries of the GCCA Project. It is a 10.6 million euros project and there are various national and regional initiatives supported. Head of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Cluster Chamberlain Emmanuel stated.

Projects undertaken in the scope of GCCA iland Resilience encompasses coastal protection work in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Kitts and Nevis as well as rainwater harvesting in Grenada and Montserrat. Other physical adaptations measures coordinated by the OECS Commission are expected to contribute to a more climate resilience Eastern Caribbean in the future.

Archived Releases

The OECS Region Prepares for the 2018 Hurricane Season

Montserrat-By Tanisha Christopher

The Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) on June 1 pushed its state of preparedness in to high gear, to coincide with the start of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Among the key decisions taken to prepare for the near-above normal season includes a commitment by the Offices of the Governor and Deputy Governor to hold regular meetings of the National Disaster Preparedness Response Advisory Committee (NDPRAC) to monitor levels of preparedness of all key stakeholders and critical initiatives.

A table top exercise was held on July 2nd, 2018 at the DMCA to test Montserrat's readiness to respond to impacts of storms or hurricanes. 

The exercise assessed the plans of the Government, Non-Government Organizations (NGO's), the private sector and statutory bodies to respond to a tropical storm event.

The objective was to critically assess the response capabilities and coordination of various organizations, agencies and resources.

Several weaknesses were identified. Priority Actions were highlighted that should be addressed immediately to ensure that the island is in a maximum state of readiness. 

Among the most important actions was the introduction of an incentive programme referred to as the Disaster Preparedness Exemption Order or the Hurricane Resilience Promotional Drive.

The Government with this order has made it less difficult for residents to acquire equipment and material to carry out their individual preparedness activities. The Hurricane Resilience Promotional Drive provides exemptions on custom duties and consumption tax on the importation of items classified as being essential for hurricane preparedness such as generators, wood chippers, chainsaws, shutters and changeover switches.

Additionally, His Excellency Governor Andrew Pearce announced that with financial assistance from the UK Government, his office has bought additional emergency equipment.

The DMCA says it will continually keep residents informed of any potential dangers so that people can make decisions regarding the safety of their lives and livelihoods.

Throughout the season there will also be hurricane preparedness programmes, tips and advice disseminated on various communication platforms.

ST. Kitts & Nevis- By Glenroy Blanchette

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, has declared that St. Kitts and Nevis is in a state of readiness to respond to the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Dr. Harris’ statement was made during a recent sitting of the National Assembly on Friday 13th July. He stated that all government agencies and NGOs have indicated their readiness with their hurricane preparedness activities.

“Minutes of the last meeting of the Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Council showed that Hurricane Preparedness Updates were provided by the MET Office, the St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross Society, the Ministry of Education, Housing and Shelter and SCASPA [and] all of them gave a good account of where they’re at in terms of their preparation,” Prime Minister Harris stated.

Prime Minister Harris also advised citizens and residents to take the necessary precautionary measures now so that they can respond to any hurricane emergency.

“It is not too early to start thinking and doing something that conforms to an active preparation which each of us should undertake. It is not too early to ensure that required supplies are accumulated and stored well in advance. We want to ask our people not depend upon last minute preparations. The vulnerable among us, the elderly, they should also be given special attention and of course as part of our exercise of preparation we should begin to think about how and where we will treat our elderly and those who are vulnerable in the context of a visiting hurricane,” said Dr. Harris.

The establishment of a Comprehensive Disaster Management Youth Ambassador initiative last year is also expected to increase youth participation in hurricane preparedness and awareness. The initiative is an attempt to get more young people in the different communities involve in disaster preparedness.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Natalie Fough, Director General of the St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross, reported that the Red Cross has implemented several training programmes as part of its preparedness efforts for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

“We have partnered with NEMA and the Nevis Disaster Management Office in a number of training exercises to improve community resilience to hurricane impacts. For example, we have provided training in the use of a shelter toolkit to help community residents better respond to hurricane disasters. We have also conducted Psychosocial Training (PSS), prepositioning of food containers, and assisted lead agencies in public awareness campaigns,” said Mrs. Fough.

The latest forecast by the Colorado State University predicts a less active 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. Only eleven named storms, four hurricanes and one major hurricane of Category 3 or higher intensity are expected this season. The previous forecast predicted 14 total named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season produced 17 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes including six major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5). It was the seventh most active season in the historical record dating to 1851 and was the most active season since 2005. The Caribbean region suffered tremendous damage from the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Antigua & Barbuda- By Onika Campbell

The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) is urging residents to be mindful of the destructive force of hurricanes and prepare accordingly to minimize damage during this year’s hurricane season which begins on Friday (June 1).

Grenada- By Maryam J. Tawfiq

The prediction for this year’s season which runs up until November is for 12 – 15 storms, 6-8 hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes.

Director of NODS Philmore Mullin reiterates that it only takes one storm or hurricane to cause significant disruption to normal life and residents should prepare adequately ahead of any threat.

Mullin is reminding residents that the recovery cost for damage done to Barbuda from Hurricane Irma last year is approximately 222 million US dollars.

The head of the Disaster Office further notes that with the formation of the sub-tropical storm Alberto before the hurricane season and the damage it has caused in the US it may become necessary to have year-round hurricane preparation.

It is advised that any major repairs to structures should be done ahead of the season. Other steps that should be taken are: prune trees properly, stock up on necessary medication for at least two weeks along with non-perishable food and water, get lumber for shutters early, battery-operated radio, flash-light and extra batteries.

Boat owners should be aware of where they will have to take their vessels long before a threat, farmers should harvest their crops ahead of any storm and livestock owners who have their livestock in low-lying areas need to take the necessary steps to minimize loss. Employers are also advised to ensure that workplaces secure their equipment and records.

Be prepared, is the mantra adopted by the island of Grenada after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Since then, the island is always in a state of preparedness for natural hazards, but this is usually heightened during the hurricane season, 01 June to 30 November. The Minister of State with responsibility for Disaster Management and Information, Senator Winston Garraway, told a news conference at the beginning of the 2018 season, that preparedness would now be providing employment to several people, with the introduction of the Environmental Wardens Programme.

“This is permanent employment that has been created throughout the country; so persons will be given that opportunity to go back to the old days when we had the public works, so you had persons with their spades and wheel-barrows and they will be cleaning the drains, cutting the overhangings and likes and so forth,” Senator Garraway told a news conference.

He said the objective is for Grenada to be prepared for any eventuality during the season, and the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) will ensure that anything that can become a missile during a storm, is taken away.

Grenada has also realigned its hurricane shelters to better serve communities, and shelter managers and volunteers have been identified.

In addition, NaDMA circulates daily hurricane preparedness tips via the media, to help residents stay alert and take actions that can significantly reduce personal damage during a hurricane.

St. Lucia- By Delia Louis

St. Lucia, like the rest of the region is gearing up for what is expected to be a slightly heavier hurricane season. Key agencies are meeting to identify potential gaps in the services provided during and after hurricanes.

St. Lucia narrowly escaped the first Atlantic Hurricane Beryl, and agencies like the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Management Organisation want to ensure that residents are prepared and informed during and after any major weather event.

Below are 10 Things people should do to protect their lives and properties during the Hurricane Season.

  • Stay in the know-monitor reputable news outlets for updates
  • Know where your nearest hurricane shelter is located
  • Discuss, plan and practice the disaster plan with family, including your kids
  • Ensure all important documents are secure and easily accessible
  • Ensure enough safe drinking water, food, toiletries and other necessities are available prior to the weather system
  • Ensure pets are safe; put them inside if you have to
  • Ensure your home is hurricane ready- roofs secured, cover appliances and put furniture up if necessary
  • Stay indoors, do not risk your life trying to shoot videos of the weather system
  • Check on elderly and disabled neighbours regularly; help them create an emergency plan if necessary.
  • If you live in a flood or landslide prone area evacuate before the storm starts

Remember material items can be replaced not lives!

Stakeholders review and input into National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for St. Kitts and Nevis

Port of Spain, July 19, 2018 –The public and private sector and civil society groups in St. Kitts and Nevis participated in a second national consultation from July 10-12, 2018 to develop a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to address the impacts of climate change and build resilience.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) co-facilitated the national consultation with the Department of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources, Cooperatives, Environment and Human Settlements in St. Kitts and Nevis. The aim of the consultation was to enable stakeholders to review and refine the priorities and strategies for adaptation and the framework for implementation of the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, including the institutional arrangements for coordinated cross-sectoral action, the key implementing organisations and financing. The consultation included a series of focused meetings with key sectors and a national workshop that brought together stakeholders from government, private sector and civil society organisations representing various sectors and interests.

Ms. Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer, Department of the Environment noted in her opening remarks at the national workshop: “Adaptation is everyone’s business. The input and support of key sectoral agencies, including agriculture, fisheries, health, water and tourism, and civil society groups in St. Kitts and in Nevis is critical and there needs to be a collaborative approach to effectively address climate change and related impacts.” She also highlighted the importance of investing in adaptation and the critical need for support from the Green Climate Fund and other climate finance mechanisms.

The wider public and other interested parties are also invited to review and input into the draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for St. Kitts and Nevis. The draft strategy is available online at: http://www.canari.org/enhancing-environmental-management-legal-and-policy-frameworks. All comments should be submitted by July 31 2018.

This initiative is being implemented under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance Project, iLAND Resilience – Promoting a Climate for 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. CANARI is providing technical assistance to the Department of Environment under this initiative to create an enabling policy framework to build the resilience of livelihoods, the economy and natural ecosystems in St. Kitts and Nevis.

About iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change:iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change is the brand for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management in the Eastern Caribbean. This project is funded by the European Union (EU). One component of this project focuses on Technical Assistance for the Development of Frameworks aimed at Enhancing Environmental Management. This technical assistance component seeks to develop institutional frameworks towards improved environmental management and resilience to climate change in four OECS Member States, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia. CANARI is implementing this component on behalf of the OECS and providing co-financing through its EU funded project, Powering Innovations in Civil Society and Enterprises for Sustainability in the Caribbean (PISCES). See here for more information on the iLand Resilience project: http://iland.oecs.org/.

About CANARI:The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for more than 25 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on capacity building, policy planning and development, research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, and fostering regional partnerships. See here for more information on CANARI: http://www.canari.org/.

Saint Lucia To Host Major Regional Building Standards Forum & Exhibition

Castries, Saint Lucia, June 5,2018-

Caribbean countries are still recovering and rebuilding from the ravages of the 2017 hurricane season underscoring the urgent need for disaster resilience to be a top priority in the region. The building sector is of critical concern and this is being addressed in an upcoming Caribbean Building Standards Forum and Exhibition slated for Wednesday, June 13 to Friday, June 15 in Saint Lucia. Hosted at the Bay Gardens Hotel, the activity is a collaboration between the OECS Commission and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) under the theme ‘(Re)building for a Resilient and Robust Response to Disasters’. It will bring together local and regional stakeholders in the construction and finance industries as well as development partners. The exhibition component will feature building products, technologies and services that enhance disaster resilience and preparedness. This should be of particular interest to the general public as they prepare for this year’s hurricane season which starts officially this month.

The aim of this regional building forum is two-fold. Firstly, the OECS Commission, under the EU-funded iLAND Resilience Project, is seeking to review and discuss the 2015/2016 OECS Building Code and Guidelines to update and improve their provisions and implementation. Secondly, the CDB is leading the effort to harmonize a regional approach to disaster resilience and regulation of the building sector. The CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) is also a collaborating partner on this effort and will be participating in the forum. Member States of the OECS and the wider CARICOM region are expected to benefit from this joint appraisal and engagement of the construction sector in respect of resilience. Presentations will be delivered by regional and international technical experts from various fields in the industry to be followed by working groups and closed sessions. Members of the public are welcome to participate in the dialogue and the exhibition. Further information may be obtained on www.oecs.org.

Brewers Bay Drainage Project Resumes

By Nekita Turnbull

The Brewers Bay Road Drainage Improvement Project resumes following delays brought on by the August flood and hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Deputy Director for the Public Works Department, Mr. G. Navarro Donovan said the overall project goal is to reduce flood risks in the Brewers Bay community by improving drainage along Brewers Bay Road East which leads towards the Brewers Bay Community Centre.

“The project is one of many being implemented under the regional iLAND Resilience Project to increase resilience to climate change impacts, including more frequent heavy rain events leading to increased flood risks,” He added.

Mr. Donovan stated that large volumes of storm water presently flow in an uncontrolled manner from a ghut that crosses the public road in two areas.This, he said contributes to flooding in the vicinity of the community center, park and historic sugar works in Brewers Bay.

He added that the drainage improvement design focuses on helping the natural drainage system (the ghuts) in the area to best function again by restoring connectivity along their path and directing over-road stormwater flows back into these systems.

The design includes three (3) main components:

  • Two sets of box drains and culverts - to direct ghutstorm water flows under the road at the two areas where the ghut crosses the road.
  • Road re-grading and curb & slipper installation - to direct over-road storm water flows into the ghut via the installed box drains.
  • Bridge retrofit - to help direct over-road storm water flows into the ghut and out to sea via an existing mangrove wetland area that naturally helps to filter and treat storm water.

The iLAND Resilience Project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management is funded through the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) and is coordinated regionally by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour is responsible for managing local project implementation and the Public Works Department is supervising the implementation of the Brewers Bay works.

Mr. Donovan said the project is a good example of how simple improvements engineered to work with nature can go a long way to reduce the Territory’s vulnerability to flooding, and that he looks forward to the Brewers Bay community reaping its benefits.

Works will continue throughout this month and are scheduled every Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Motorists are asked to exercise caution in the area while the project is implemented.

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

iLAND Resilience Get Creative with Climate Change & Sustainable Land Management

Castries, St.Lucia, April 3, 2018-The OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project is launching a major Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management awareness initiative in the form of white board animations.

Climate Change is one of the most topical issues globally and it is a major concern for Small Island Developing Sates like the OECS Region. The 2017 Hurricane season was unfortunately a wakeup call for the region and because of this the need to educate the general population is of utmost importance.

The ilAND Resilience Project states that the video animations creatively break down and explain the technical and sometimes difficult to understand terminology of Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management. Officials attached to the project say that the whiteboard animations aim to reach a wide spectrum of the population, in particular the young and active audience.

" A part of the GCCA project is a public awareness campaign; it is important to the OECS and also our donors the EU. Often times we take for granted what climate change is; we often think that it's only when there is flooding and events of that nature. But there are a lot of other variables to Climate Change and we wanted to show the different areas the project is seeking to highlight when we talk about Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management,"explains Procurement Officer of the OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project- Tanya Wright.

A key component of the OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project is education and changing the way we think about the environment. The whiteboard animation zooms in on issues of food security, water security, and national land instruments like building codes.

"Critical for us is making the themes very simple. Even though the aim is for public awareness and visibility, at the same time a key factor is seeing if there has been any change in habits and attitudes towards Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management, and whether or not we truly understand what it is. So we figured whiteboard animations would be a very unique and simple way of breaking down the technical areas so people could understand what we mean when we talk about water harvesting , legislative policy , frameworks and what exactly these are doing to affect change in their communities, lives and for future generations." continued Wright.

The Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management whiteboard animations are being aired on media outlets across the region.See whiteboard animations here iLAND Resilience Whiteboard Animations

Climate Change and Your Health

By Delia Louis

When we think of Climate Change the first thoughts are often about strange weather patterns, stronger hurricanes, drought and sea level rises. While this is all true to climate change, and we must remain resilient to these effects, we must also consider one critical factor that comes with climate change- Health issues!

Along with all the effects of climate change, health risks and concerns should be of equal vigilance. Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO)" between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress."

With increasing health problems on our already limited health resources, small island states like the OECS will be the least able to cope without assistance, to prepare and respond. Stronger hurricanes can destroy our health facilities, making it more difficult to treat and contain illnesses.

Therefore, it is critical that we strive to be climate change resilient by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, through smart transportation methods, buying local food, adhering to building codes, practicing sustainable land use methods and using energy efficiently.

Whales beached in Nevis

By Glenroy Blanchette

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, (10 February, 2018 –A group of pilot whales were beached at Indian Castle, the north-east coast of Nevis today.

According to reports from villagers, eleven whales washed ashore during the morning and many citizens tried desperately to return them to the sea.

Minister Eric Evelyn reported that most of the whales were still alive after they were discovered but initial attempts to get the whales back into the sea were unsuccessful.

“Quite a number of the whales were actually alive, however, a few of the guys were trying to refloat the whales and it was unsuccessful because the seas are extremely rough at the moment” said Minister Evelyn.

He noted that government officials contacted persons with trucks, backhoes, cranes and other heavy duty equipment to help save the whales. Three whales were transported to Long Point in Nevis and released back into the sea.

The dead whales were buried in the sand after fishermen raised concerns about the possibility of shark infestation in the area.

Minister Evelyn indicated that he was unsure what factors caused the whales to be washed ashore in Nevis. However, Trecia Greaux, Marine Management Areas and Habitat Monitoring Officer, Department of Marine Resources in St. Kitts noted that the whales may have been affected by disruptions in sonar environment. Pilot whales may move from one location to another due to lack of food, and this can result in the beaching in areas the whales are not used to hunting in. The pilot whales rely on echo-location so they cannot identify that they are swimming into shallow waters because when the sand is soft the echo does not return same way.

Climate change has been suspected as an underlying cause for the beaching of whales in recent years.

In September 2016, several dead whales washed ashore in Chile and scientists suspected that climate change was the cause. According to an article published by the Jamaica Observer, Frederick Toro, a conservation medicine professor at Andres Bello University, said that there has been an increase in marine life in norther Chile, possibly due to climate change. The increase in algae due to "El Nino", an extreme weather phenomenon that strikes Pacific regions every few years, may have increased the diversity of the whales. Biologist Gerardo Cerda of Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquiculture Service (Sernapesca) believes that whale beaching may be a natural consequence of these greater numbers of whales in the region.

Researchers at Duke University also found that the strain on prey populations pressures pilot whales, who feed on these species, into having to search for prey in other areas of the ocean, increasing the instances of beaching. They also found that climate change is altering the marine ecosystems and the species which rely on them.

Antigua & Barbuda Embarks on Climate-Resilience Actions

February 10th, 2018- St. Johns –Antigua: The Department of Environment in collaboration with several international agencies have taken the bull by the horn in its quest to increase the climate-resilience of public buildings in Antigua and Barbuda to hurricanes, droughts and extended dry periods, flooding and increased air temperatures.

This initiative will seek to ensure that critical services remain operational during and following extreme climate events; as well as bring about reduced maintenance costs of buildings owing to the installed climate-proofing interventions. Additionally, the private sector will also gain access to funding for climate-proofing of their buildings.

Working at the national and community according to Chief Environment Officer Diann Black-Layne will incorporate lessons from past initiatives such as the ‘Global Climate Change Alliance+’ (GCCA) and ‘Sustainable Pathways – Protected Areas and Renewable Energy’ (SPPARE), as well as the ongoing Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) project.

Antigua and Barbuda is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) consisting of two inhabited islands with a total land area of ~450 km2. Antigua is the larger of the two islands at 280 km2, while Barbuda – which lies 78 km north of Antigua – has a land area of 176 km2. Both islands are low-lying, with 70% of the land in Antigua less than 30 m above sea level and the majority of Barbuda only 3 m above sea-level2. Low-lying coastal areas and buildings are more vulnerable to extreme climate events such as hurricanes, droughts and extended dry periods, flooding and rising air temperatures. Antigua and Barbuda, like other Caribbean SIDS, is highly exposed to hurricanes.

In recent times, Hurricane Irma caused an estimated US$150 million of damage whilst, environment experts are of the view that climate change is expected to increase both the frequency and severity of hurricanes, and as a result, the country is increasingly vulnerable to their impacts.

To increase the resilience of the population in Antigua and Barbuda to extreme climate events, plans are afoot to implement climate-resilient technologies and interventions in public and community buildings and strengthen institutional, technical and financial capacity within the Government of Antigua & Barbuda to enable climate-resilient building development in the long term.

Black-Layne explained that “these climate-proofing interventions will be implemented in buildings providing critical services – including disaster services, healthcare, fire services and police – as well as those buildings providing public and community goods – including inter alia community centres and schools.”

Climate-proof identified public buildings to improve resilience to extreme climate events, including tropical storms, hurricanes, droughts and extended dry periods, floods and rising air temperatures, and improve adaptation measures during such events.

The public buildings identified for inclusion in the proposed project are based on several assessments that have been undertaken in Antigua and Barbuda to determine priority of service delivery to remain operational during and following extreme climate event; number of people reliant on services; need for adaptation measures in the building; and previous damages experienced from extreme climate events.

Additional building assessments are currently underway on both Antigua and Barbuda islands following Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The Department of Environment (DoE) has submitted a request to the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) for technical assistance with conducting the building assessments and identifications of interventions, which will inform the development of the Funding Proposal and Feasibility Study.

Inputs under this activity will include identifying and implementing building-appropriate climate-proofing measures – such as water harvesting and storage systems, solar energy for emergency power, hurricane shutters and other retrofitting interventions, as outlined below – in the following identified public buildings:

Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC), Antigua; Hannah Thomas Hospital, Barbuda, Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda (RPFAB) Headquarters; Police Station, Barbuda; Fire Station, Barbuda; St John’s Fire Station, Antigua; All Saint’s Clinic, All Saint’s Police Station, All Saint’s Fire Station, Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital, Fiennes Institute, National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), Department of Environment (DoE), and Meteorological Office.

A combination of international, regional and island-specific best practices will be used to climate-proof public buildings to ensure critical service delivery during and following an extreme climate event, ultimately improving disaster risk management under changing climatic conditions. This will be accomplished through various means such as supporting the mainstreaming of adaptation for the building sector into relevant national policies and standards; building institutional and technical capacity to identify, implement, maintain and upscale climate-proofing interventions; and climate-proofing existing public buildings to ensure that critical services remain operational during an extreme climate event, with reduced damages to buildings resulting in reduced maintenance costs in the long term.

Support the mainstreaming of climate-proofing measures into funding mechanisms, policies and standards for the building sector.

The environment chief also noted mainstream climate change adaptation into Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Standards and Plans within the building sector which will ensure that climate-proof building methods are included in EMS Standards and Plans going forward.

To this end, the development of a mechanism for the biennial review of the Building Code and the EMS Standards and Plans will seek to advance the continual updates of the standards based on international and regional climate-resilient best practices and lessons learned.

Black-Layne also emphasised protocols for local sourcing of climate-proofing and other building materials at the island-level to be used in adaptation interventions in buildings, as part of the sustainable procurement and life-cycle analysis of a climate-resilient building. These protocols will be based on the 10YFP Programme on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) as well as the ISO 20400:2017 Sustainable Procurement guidelines for construction materials, and will promote mitigation and environmental co-benefits of adaptation.

This, will contribute to mainstreaming sustainable procurement into policies and approaches in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union which sets sub-regional standards through the OECS Commission and the St George’s Declaration.

National training programme for architects and engineers on climate-proofing building design and construction that conforms to the updated Building Code, the updated EMS Standards, as well as international best practices will also form part of the initiative. Through making use of these sources, training will remain relevant and up-to-date on climate-proofing technologies and interventions.

Already, Antigua and Barbuda officials within the Development Control Authority (DCA) have confirmed that plans are advanced for the amnendment, publishing and enforcement of the Organisation Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Building Code; with a matter of months, as part of the OECS sub-region iLand Resilience– The OECS Commission’s Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project funded by the European Union.

Civil Engineer Akim Browne said recommendations for amendments to legislation in light of Building Code Administrative Sections for Antigua and Barbuda are in its final stage. “Thus far, focus is on the Administrative Section of the OECS Building Code. The reveiw process held recently was the final disposing of comments which will be compiled in the document that will pave the way forward for the implementation and enforcement by the end of December into January.”

The Administrative Section highlighted seven (7) reccomendations encapsulating exemptions from Building control, Outline Permission , Review of applications and appeals , Emergency work, Fees and other recommendations that may require new or amended legislation.

Onika Campbell is the Antigua & Barbuda Media Liaison Specialist for the iland Resilience –GCCA EU Funded Project.

Climate Change Audio - Tanisha

This audio feature examines the steps Montserrat is taking with the help of regional and international partners to assess its readiness for climate change adaptation in the fisheries sector. 

OECS Small Island States Enforce COP 21 Commitment

The Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) /OECS iLAND Resilience project is ensuring that the OECS Region is keeping its end of the deal of the 2015 COP 21 Paris agreement.

COP (Conference of the parties), now in its 24th year, is an international forum where countries around the world come together for negotiations on how to advance the climate change agenda, and specifically how to ensure that the 2015 COP 21 Paris agreement is being implemented.

The GCCA/OECS iLAND Resilience Project for its part, is executing a number of climate change and sustainable land management interventions across the OECS region. These projects aim to, among others, reduce coastal erosion, protect ecosystems and natural habitats, and change people's habits towards a climate change resilience focus. The OECS GCCA team is confirming that, so far, the interventions are proving successful, especially during the 2017 hurricane season.

" We had just concluded the implementation of a sea revetment in Cane Garden Bay Tortola, then Hurricane Irma hit a week or two after. The design of the revetment wall was successful as it withstood the impact of the category five hurricane. Also in Saint Lucia, we had recently constructed gabion walls and drain walls in Corinth, Gros-Islet, along with other coastal and watershed management projects across the region. We are happy that from all reports and testimonials these interventions fared well during the rainy season," explains Project Leader of the GCCA/OECS iLAND Resilience Project, Chamberlain Emmanuel.

The Caribbean islands are among the nations which generate the smallest carbon footprint, but will be one of the most affected by the effects of climate change. Because of this, Emmanuel says larger countries should hold up to its end of the 2015 COP 21 Paris agreement. He explains that though COP 23 was not as ground breaking as previous conventions, there was much advocacy and agitation from the small islands states like the OECS.

" The OECS was present at COP 23 to lend support and to ensure that our stories are told and our voices heard. There is always the attempt by some countries to delay implementation of the agreement but we are certain that our message was conveyed, and we continue to convey it through the GCCA/OECS iLAND Resilience Projects across the region," continues Emmanuel.

The GCCA/OECS iLAND Resilience Project is asking the general public to familiarise themselves with the project interventions across the region, as well as, to educate themselves on how to protect their lives and properties from the effects of climate change like major landslides, frequent flooding, extensive drought and sea level rises. For more information on these Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management best practices people are asked to visit ilandresilience.org.

Saint Lucia Environmental and Pollution Bill Revised

Castries, Saint Lucia, January 18, 2018- he Sustainable Development and Environment Division with the support of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI),the Global Climate Change Alliance Project (GCCA), and the OECS iLAND Resilience Project, is seeking to develop the  Environmental Management Bill of 2014, Pollution Regulations Bill, and the development of Climate Change Legislation for Saint Lucia.

This consultation is critical as the OECS seeks to change behaviors and attitudes in response to climate change, including conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, coastal zone management, pollution control and environmental monitoring and information systems. As a result the activity aims to gain input from government and civil society to design a new legislative framework on environmental management and climate change.

As part of the Bill development process, the organising parties are encouraging stakeholder input in order to build on the existing draft environment management bill and draft pollution bill.

" We have been examining the issues that have been discerned by CANARI-our consultants, in order to ensure that our stakeholders will be comfortable with what will be presented with in the final piece of legislation," informs Chief Sustainable Development/Environment officer-Annette Rattigan The project will end in August 2018, by which time the final piece of legislation would be presented to key stakeholders organisations.

About CANARI

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for more than 25 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on capacity building, policy planning and development, research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, and fostering regional partnerships. See here for more information on CANARI: http://www.canari.org

Dominica Building Code Revised

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

The recommendations form part of an ongoing region wide building code consultation, in an effort to encourage people in the construction industry to understand and adhere to the necessary building regulations. Consultant Engineer to the iLAND Resilience Project, Alison King-Joseph, is also asking property owners to ensure that their builders comply with the building regulations, to ensure the safety of themselves and properties.

"The first thing you do when you want to develop a piece of land for building is understand what are the vulnerabilities of that site and whether it is appropriate for building or not. If it is you also need to know what are the requirements to build on that property, to withstand the hazards that it may be exposed to. We are building an awareness for persons who want to develop, so that they can good guidance on the vulnerabilities of the locations where they are building and that they are building suited to purpose," Joseph explains

Just over two months ago Dominica was devastated by a category five Hurricane Maria. To this day, the island is still trying to recover and literally pick up the pieces. Building owners will soon be recouping insurance funds and hopefully begin to rebuild. However, officials state, that the island does not have enough resources to monitor the building activities. The Chief Physical Planner of Dominica, Kelvin Rolle, is appealing to builders and property owners, to ensure that the building code is followed and necessary quality checks are conducted. He is asking that special attention be given to the construction of roofs.

" We also have to pay special to where people build in River Valleys. There are a number of homes and small villages located in the river valleys and these valleys received tremendous destruction. Nearly the entire watershed and trees came down. It was massive destruction in these communities and villages," recalls Rolle

Rolle informs that residents close to rivers may have to be relocate because of effects from adverse weather conditions. He says that the river valleys should not be abandoned but protected through climate change resilience interventions. The Chief Physical Planner is therefore suggesting that new development plans be created for areas that were totally destroyed during this Hurricane season.

Dominica Looks Back At Hurricane Maria

Dominica is taking stocking of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria in a "Lessons Learned" analysis.

Following the passing of Hurricane Maria, The Dominican Government including officials from the Ministry of Planning, are zooming in on what's left behind from the 2017 monster hurricane. A number of stakeholder consultations are revealing that closer attention must be paid to the rebuilding of roofs. Researchers inform that to a large extent, failure of structures, in particular roofs of residential buildings, could possibly have been reduced if builders, contractors and homeowners adhered to the building code.

"Hurricane Maria was a very catastrophic hurricane for Dominica. It affected about 90 percent of our buildings and destroyed about 60 percent. Because of that, the Planning Department which is mandated under the physical planning act to guide the development of Dominica, took the initiative to hold a [Lessons Learned] consultation," explains Physical Planner, Planning Division, -Annie Edwards

The Dominican Government has embarked on a number of other initiatives like educational programmes ,targeted at builders , contractors, other stakeholder and the general public. So far, consultations are ongoing with Engineers, Architects, Contractor Organisations , the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Water Resource Management, the Dominica Bureau of Standards, the United Nations Development Programme and Engineers Without Borders. Development Control Officer at the Physical Planning Division, Naomi Dorival informs that the her department is conducting round the island training activities with key stakeholders before the rebuilding begins.

"We have taken this method of going into the different districts, because we want to ensure we reach as many builders and contractors as possible and provide them with this essential and critical guide as we go through the build back and renovation process, post Hurricane Maria," informs Dorival

The Physical Planning Department partnered with OECS iLAND Resilience Project will be producing a brochure highlighting building best practices, targeted to builders and homeowners . Jingles and PSAs aimed at the general public is also in the works.

Local Stakeholders Discuss the Adaptation of the OECS Building Code

November 29, 2017 –St. Johns’ –Antigua:Stakeholders from various government departments who are charged with the responsibly for the implementation of the National Physical Development Plan met in Antigua this week.

They are tasked with the responsibility of improving and harmonising a building code for the OECS sub-region as part of iLand Resilience – The OECS Commission’s Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project funded by the European Union.

Environmental Engineer and Key Consultant for this component, Ms. Alison King, met with officers from the Development Control Authority (DCA), Department of Environment and Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHAPA) to discuss and review the 2015 OECS Building Code for Antigua & Barbuda, a phase which is fundamental to the adaptation and implementation of the Code.

According to Ms King this Building code is critical in the development of vulnerable states as ours. “The Code is geared towards the provision of a modern legal framework for effective regulation and management of buildings and building related activities to reduce vulnerability; ensure public safety and welfare; minimize damage caused by natural or man-made hazards; promote sustainable development for cost effective construction of environmentally and energy efficient buildings and reduce the rates of illegal and unpermitted development,Noted Ms King

The Environmental Engineer also outlined the Building Code Implementation Analysis Report which illustrated the:

  • Revised administrative provisions of Building Code (Section 1 - Administration of the Code) for each Member State based on preferred “best practice”
  • Proposed amendments to national regulations to facilitate implementation of preferred “best practice”
  • Proposed action plan and associated costs to facilitate implementation of preferred “best practice”
  • Public awareness and communications strategy to support implementation.

Climate Change impacts on mangrove ponds in St. Kitts

By Glenroy Blanchette

October 23, 2017 – Basseterre; St. Kitts: The recent passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria through the OECS sub-region have made it clearer that climate change is real and its impacts threaten the existence of the region’s natural environment.

Governments throughout the region are now taking stock of climate change impacts on their country’s natural resource base and looking into ways by which they can build resilience in communities.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria pounded St. Kitts’ South-East Peninsula, the area where most of the country’s mangroves are located. Torrential rain, high winds and storm surges lashed the coastal areas and impacted the mangrove ponds. Kashief Hynes, Environmental Officer at the Department of Environment in St. Kitts-Nevis explained that there was excess sedimentation from run-off. Trees were also uprooted or slightly damaged.

What are mangroves?

Mangrove ecosystems are a unique community of plants, animals and microorganisms that thrive in the coastal zone of tropical areas. Mangrove trees have special adaptation mechanisms that help them survive and grow in waterlogged and poorly oxygenated soil conditions. There are three mangrove species in St. Kitts: the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), the black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), and the white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa).

The red mangrove is found closer to the tidal zone, has a network of aerial prop roots, and is found at Friar’s Bay. The black mangrove is located immediately inland of red mangroves, has numerous finger-like projections called pneumatophores, and is found at Half Moon Pond. White mangrove tends to grow upland of both red and black mangroves, are shorter than red or black mangroves, and is found at all other ponds.

Mangrove establishment requires protection from strong winds and wind generated waves, as wave action prevents seedling establishment. As a consequence, mangrove communities tend to be located within sheltered coastal areas. The mangroves in St. Kitts have no natural surface water connections to the sea and are replenished by run-off and storm surges.

Importance of mangrove ecosystems

The mangrove ponds in St. Kitts provides tremendous ecological importance to the island. They are breeding areas for waterfowls and a feeding areas for migratory birds. Evidence of declining salinity levels have been reported in the recent past. Salinity plays a vital role in the distribution of mangrove species, their productivity and growth. In general, mangrove vegetation is more luxuriant in lower salinities.

Today, Global Warming and Climate Change have emerged as the one of the more serious threats to their existence. Climate change predictions include rising sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and increased variability in rainfall. These events can totally destroy these mangrove ponds and may even cut off the south-east peninsula from the rest of the island.

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Photo 1: Frigate Bay Mangrove Pond before Hurricanes Irma and Maria

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Photo 2: Frigate Bay Mangrove Pond after Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Other threats include beach sand mining, dumping of rubble and garbage, unplanned tourism and industrial development, fertilizer run-off from the golf course, and removal of vegetation, and private ownership. Given the economic and ecological importance of these areas, it is critical that the country moves speedily to designate mangrove ponds as Wetlands of International Importance. Such an initiative will help to promote the development of St. Kitts as an eco- tourism destination and also provide excellent opportunities for education and research.

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Photo 3: Half Moon Bay Pond in 2014

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Photo 4: Half Moon Bay Pond in 2017

There are several benefits to be gained from protection and conservation of mangrove ecosystems in St. Kitts. In terms of combatting storm surges, form natural “breakwater” systems by the roots and trunks reducing wave energy and so reduce coastal erosion and protect the coast from flooding. Mangroves also trap sediments and protect coral reefs from pollution; provide materials for construction, textile, food and drug, agriculture, fishing and paper products; are used by a vast array of organisms as breeding nursery and feeding areas; and provide important permanent and temporary habitats for a large number and range of marine and terrestrial fauna.

Climate change is an existential threat to the natural environment in the OECS. Governments and communities must adopt hazard mitigation measures in order to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. The mangrove ponds provide an excellent opportunity to protect coastal settlements from the ravages of climate change. Ignoring this opportunity will only set back the economic development of present and future generations.

Grenada to Update Environmental Legislation

St. George's, Grenada, December 13, 2017-The GCCA/ OECS iLAND Resilience Project in collaboration with the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute/CANARI is facilitating stakeholder workshops in an effort to gather perspectives and inputs on specific existing legislation that needs updating.

Following recent major weather events like the 2017 hurricane season, residents of small island states in the region are paying closer attention to the environment. Climate change and climate change resilience, is a common talking point of discussion and this includes the development of policies and legislation to protect our natural resources.

"We are working to revise the Environment Management Act and develop a climate bill for Grenada. We are aiming to revise the existing Protected Areas, Forestry and Wildlife Act and the Forestry Policy, Strategic Plan and Framework," explained Senior Technical Officer of CANARI, Natalie Boodram

" These are critical in ensuring that we can adapt to climate change and build resilience, and ensure that the framework is in place for management of the key resources. So far we are very pleased with the engagement of participants from the government ministries, from civil society and from other agencies, so that we ensure we understand their priorities, considerations and concerns, to ensure we have a robust framework," added Project Leader to the OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project, Chamberlain Emmanuel

Officials are seeking to develop a number of Key Environmental Frameworks for Grenada like the rainwater harvesting systems. These activities are important as a method to record best practice and lessons learned information, towards replication and public education.

"The idea is once we do a review of an existing policy or even a draft legislation, we need to get the public's view on it. We need to get the opinions of those who will be utilising it and implementing it or those who are the guardians of it. The long term objective is that we will be able to build resilient," says Land Use Officer-Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries  & Environment, Trevor Thompson

Officials are expecting that the activities will encourage resilience and encourage stakeholders to include climate change adaptation in their planning processes.

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.


About The OECS/GCCA iLAND Resilience Project

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

Another Volatile year for Agriculture ...Looming Price Hike, Scarcity

St. Johns –Antigua: Volatile and soaring food prices have been making headlines regionally since passage of hurricanes Maria and Irma with concerns over their negative impacts on the agricultural sector coupled with their destabilizing social consequences in developing Eastern Caribbean Countries.

Two international organisations, CTA and the FAO-UN in a bid to assist Ministries of Agricultures proposes set of remedial measures in tackling price surges and volatility in the food sector conducted situation analysis and monitoring in the following countries Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis and Dominica, this brief attempts to assess the chronology of food price changes and their impact.

Meanwhile to help support climate resilient agriculture in the region, CTA is working with regional organisations, such as the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the International Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), to identify and promote climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices in the region.

CTA director Michael Hailu has expressed that whilst agriculture has been declining in the Caribbean over the last 10 years, it still provides a livelihood for many, especially in rural communities, and contributes to food and nutrition security. “Significant investment will be required to rehabilitate these devastated islands,” said Hailu.

In Dominica, he revealed that huge swathes of agricultural crops and farm infrastructure have been destroyed. The negative impacts of extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes Irma and Maria, have become more frequent and more intense with climate change. “Whilst the immediate priority is to save lives and provide relief assistance to the most affected populations, measures must be taken to make agriculture and food production more resilient to the impacts of climate change to protect livelihoods and ensure food security in the region,” said Hailu.

“The impact of climate change on food and nutrition security in the Caribbean is a reality and no longer a hypothetical future scenario,” said Olu Ajayi, CTA Senior Programme Coordinator on Climate Change and Agriculture. “But there is hope, if we continue to use relevant data and research to formulate solid plans, get stakeholders on board with strong partnerships, and show real commitment to scale out the promising climate resilient agricultural solutions to farmers.”

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FOA-UN), also conducted an impact assessment of hurricanes Irma and Maria on the agriculture sector in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis. This, in a bid to support Ministries of Agriculture across the sub-region with recovery strategies.

According to information from FAO, both tropical cyclones brought strong winds and torrential rains that caused swollen rivers, flash floods and landslides in those countries, severely damaging farm housing, irrigation infrastructure, feeder roads, crop and livestock production, forest reserves and coastal fisheries.

To evaluate the damages to agriculture and its subsectors, as well as prioritize recovery interventions, the FAO SLC participated in the multi-sectoral Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in Dominica.

“High on the priority of countries affected by hurricanes is the restoration of agricultural production for food and nutrition security. To achieve this, the Rapid Needs Assessment is needed to determine the areas which are most badly affected and the priority needs, and to identify the vulnerable populations. FAO stands committed to assist the countries in their recovery efforts,” said Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Caribbean.

The RNAT assessment included a review of aerial photography, visits to communities close to the capital Roseau, and interviews with representatives of large fisheries cooperatives, the Director of Agriculture and some farmers.

Results indicate that Dominica suffered the most damage from Hurricane Maria in the Eastern Caribbean; its agricultural sector was decimated, directly impacting income, food and nutrition security for a large percentage of the island’s population. Additionally, Dominica also served as the Agricultural bread basket to a several sub-regional countries and officials are worried about the volatility of the food sector.

“Dominica was an important producer and exporter of vegetables, tubers and fruits such as banana. Therefore, the destruction caused by Maria will not only compromise the national economy and food security of the local population but will also manifest its effects in other countries of the region usually relying on Dominica’s agricultural supply,” said Daniele Barelli, FAO SLC Emergency Focal Point and Disaster Risk Management Specialist, who participated in the Dominica assessment.

Daniele Barelli was also recently deployed to Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis. In each country, he provided technical support to the Ministry of Agriculture during the emergency response on behalf of the Subregional Office for the Caribbean.

Antigua and Barbuda’s post-Irma agricultural needs assessment was conducted by a team comprising the Honourable Arthur Nibbs, Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, as well as Colin O’Keiffe, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Jedidiah Maxime, Director of Agriculture, and various heads of crop, livestock and fishery divisions. It also included a field mission to Barbuda.

While Hurricane Irma caused significant damage to Antigua, it caused extreme destruction on Barbuda and forced the island’s entire population to be evacuated. Agricultural impacts include a depletion of standing crops, agricultural stations, a 250-acre coconut plantation, agricultural equipment and machinery. In addition, the livestock subsector was affected with losses of small and larger animals as well as shelter facilities. During the passage of the storm, many fishing boats, gears and other equipment were lost and destroyed, negatively affecting the fisheries sector.

St. Kitts and Nevis was affected by both hurricanes, and the FAO SLC assessment indicates the ruin of vegetable production such as sweet potatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. Other impacts include damages to animal shelters, greenhouses, as well as the death of livestock.

Following these initial post-hurricane impact assessments, the FAO Subregional Office for the Caribbean will continue to assist Ministries of Agriculture in the countries visited to mobilize resources and provide technical assistance to support efforts to rehabilitate their agriculture sectors.

“Agriculture, including fisheries, remains an important sector for the livelihoods of many people in the Caribbean region, especially in Dominica. FAO is working closely with the Governments of the countries affected and other agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) in order to implement a coordinated, timely and effective response,” said Daniele Barelli.

“Funding constraints to respond to emergency situations remain yet an issue and we hope that the donor community will help FAO and its partners to rehabilitate the agricultural sector in the short, medium and long term to build resilient communities.”

…Ends …

St. Lucia Building Code Revised

Engineers, contractors, public and private sector agencies come together for a national consultation to review the recommendations for St Lucia's administrative section of the building code. Legislative amendments as well as an implementation plan and communication strategy is also being developed to support the recommendations. Consultant Engineer to the GCCA/OECS iLAND Resilience Project, Alison King Joseph says that the consultation is timely, to ensure that people are safe in the face of extreme hazards.

" One of the things we don't have a good grasp on is the extent to which there is code compliance. A lot of builders build without getting planning approval and are not necessarily designed to meet code standards. We want to have a public that understands why it is important to have their building complied with the requirements of the code, and we want to make sure we have a system in place to ensure people who are offering building services, whether it be design or construction, understand and properly apply code requirements" explained Joseph

St. Lucia's building code was last reviewed in 2015. Joseph informed that there are provisions for the code that has not been incorporated in the most recent edition. These codes speak specifically to hazard loading like earth quakes and hurricanes. However, the consultations are seeking to increase compliance with the code and not necessarily the technical provisions. She explained that the current consultations remain relevant because of intense weather conditions.

Stakeholders consult on how best to implement Revised OECS Building Code

November 15, 2017 – Basseterre; St. Kitts:Public and private sector stakeholders in St. Kitts met on Monday 13th November 2017 to discuss and develop Best Practice Recommendations for implementing the Revised OECS Building Code 2015.

Mr. Randolph Edmeade, Director of Physical Planning, stated that the purpose of the consultation was to undertake a review of the Revised OECS Building Code. He said that the activity was timely against the backdrop of the two devastating hurricanes (Irma and Maria) that visited the region.

“The degree of impact in many cases has a direct correlation to the structures and the extent to which there was adherence to the building regulations or guidelines,” said Edmeade. “It is hoped that coming out of this consultation, countries of the OECS would have a building code that would be able to stand up to the vagaries of hurricanes in terms of the increase in their strength and intensity,” he added.

Workshop facilitator and consultant Ms Alison King, underscored the need for practitioners in the construction sector to adhere to a uniform building code in order to build resilience in the OECS sub-region.

“The Revised OECS Building Code 2015 has already been adopted by OECS countries whether formally through legislation or informally. However, compliance by both practitioners and professionals varies as the level of enforcement by regulatory authorities. Therefore, if we can improve compliance with an appropriate Code, we can find ourselves having a built environment that is more resilient in the face of disasters such as those which we recently experienced in the region,” said Ms King.

She also stated that The OECS has decided to look at developing unique administrative sections for each country.

“While the technical provisions of the Code were to be adopted across the region, it was felt that the administrative section of the Code ought to reflect the actual conditions in each country,” said Ms King.

The Consultation reviewed proposals for amending national regulations to facilitate implementation of preferred best practice, a draft action plan to facilitate implementation, and a draft public awareness and communication strategy.

According to Aldrin Thomas, the local focal point for the project, the consultation was a tremendous success judging from the level of participation of the major stakeholders and the high degree of interaction during the discussion. He said that the objectives of the consultation were achieved.

Stakeholders attending the consultation included representatives from the Water Services Department, Public Works Department, NEMA, Development and Control Planning Board, BOA/SKNIA, SKELEC, St. Kitts-Nevis Institute of Architects, and the Department of Environment.

The Review is being undertaking by the OECS Commission in collaboration with the European Union and the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).

END

MONTSERRAT ON TARGET TO IMPLEMENT THE OECS REVISED BUILDING CODE BY EARLY 2018

BRADES, Montserrat -Thanks to the OECS iLand Resilience, Montserrat is moving towards having its Building Code ratified and implemented by the first quarter of next year.

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Lands, Trade, Housing and the Environment David Osborne said this was now his government’s priority, following a national consultation which resulted in the finalization of the administrative section of the draft OECS building code.

In his speech delivered at the opening of the forum on Wednesday November 22 nd , 2017, Mr. Osborne said “there is an increased need to implement Building Codes across the region to mitigate against the impacts of climate change, where storms are increasing in intensity and frequency”

The Minister called on, engineers, contractors, homeowners and other stakeholders to embrace “this modern code which has referenced the Caribbean Unified Building Code and has elements of the International Building Code for reference”

The one day consultation enabled the team of consultants led by Saint Lucian Engineer Allison King, to present their best practice recommendations for the implementation of the Revised OECS Building Code 2015 on Montserrat.

“[The] OECS felt that it was important that the administrative section which is the front end of the code, be designed to suit the needs of each country, so every country will have a unique administration section by the time this project is complete, King revealed”

The OECS iLand Resilience Focal Point for Montserrat, Acting Chief Physical Planner Jerome Meade described the consultation as timely, given the unprecedented 2017 hurricane season which resulted in two major storms Irma and Maria, both of which caused severe damage to OECS islands.

“A Building Code is seen to be costly to implement, but a small additional cost cannot equate to the loss of life. However, when a disaster strikes, one questions the rigorous nature of our code and whether they were adequately applied,” Meade stressed

The building code implementation exercise is an initiative by the OECS Commission as part of its Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project dubbed OECS iLand Resilience.

It aims to establish a significantly improved and harmonized building code for the OECS sub-region.

Funding for the project has been made possible by the European Union (EU) under the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).

To date, country consultations have taken place in St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla. Meetings are scheduled for Saint Lucia on November 24 th , St. Vincent on November 28 th , Grenada on November 30 th , Dominica on December 4 th and December 6 th in the Virgin Islands.

About OECS iLand Resilience

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 (GCCA).

The focal point for the OECS GCCA Project on Montserrat is Mr. Jerome Meade, Chief Physical Planner (Ag).

Extreme Weather Events Expose the Vulnerabilities of Small Island Nations

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Downed Pole in Montserrat after Hurricane Maria

Montserrat escaped the ferocity of two monster storms, which barreled through the region resulting in the loss of lives and decimating several Caribbean island nations during the month of September.

The unusual Atlantic Hurricane Season produced five storms, three of which were categorized as major hurricanes and which all walked a similar path, threatening the most vulnerable islands.

Notwithstanding the island was spared of the wrath of Irma, Maria passed just south of Montserrat causing island wide power outage, damage to the telecommunication networks, significant damage to property, and vegetation all across the 39 square mile island which is still in redevelopment mode, after the Soufriere Hills Volcanic Eruption in 1995.

Montserrat was fortunate to have escaped the fate of Maria which caused unprecedented and catastrophic destruction in the Commonwealth of Dominica. But it was a fate it did not escape almost 30 years ago during the same month when it received a direct hit from Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 storm.

Hugo decimated the islands infrastructure, resulting in the loss of lives and causing 90% damage to homes and properties.

Hurricane Hugo, at the time was considered an infrequent weather event whose strength and ferocity residents thought they wouldn’t experience again for decades to come.

However, climate scientists now say that persons especially in vulnerable nations should expect more inordinately severe tropical cyclones. They say long-term temperature trends will cause the ocean to become warmer, and create more energy which are conducive conditions that can contribute to Hurricane development.

Economies at risk

So now that there is scientific proof Climate Change will cause storms to be more extreme, Montserrat and other small Caribbean islands are expected to implement the necessary policies and actions to mitigate these risks.

Despite that these islands contribute the least to climate change, they are on the front line of Climate change effects which have already begun to threaten their tourism, agriculture, finance and health sectors.

However, Montserrat, like many other small Caribbean islands with fragile economies, lack the resources and capacity to battle the onslaught of such impacts.

A report funded by the United Kingdom Government identified the small British Overseas Territory as one of the islands in the region which could face a heavy cost due to climate change.

The report titled Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card 2017 estimates that by 2025 the island would spend 10.2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product GDP on the impact of climate change if it fails to adapt.

Montserrat has already begun to bear those costs.

Following Maria, An estimated EC$3.5 million was caused to the agricultural sector alone which comprises the fisheries sector, crop, poultry and livestock farmers.

One small scale farmer reported losses of up to EC $80.000 dollars.

“This hurricane came and destroyed a lot of things for me, so I would like to get help to get back my farming on track. I [lost] aloft of plantain, bananas and seasoning peppers, avocados, pigeon peas and pumpkins...everything went down but I am glad we all have our lives” said Jah Bouka a well known farmer on island.

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Jah Bouka at his farm in Hope

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In light of this, several calls have been made for the region to take climate change seriously.

Deputy Director of the Caribbean Development Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) recently warned Caribbean countries to invest in resilience to allow for easier recovery in the aftermath of disasters.

Climate Change Adaptation

Montserrat has already partnered with a number of international agencies such as CDEMA, Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) and the OECS Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) to assist in reducing its vulnerabilities to climate change.

The OECS through its I-Land Resilience Initiative has invested one million dollars in Montserrat which is being used to help the island improve its building codes and adopt sustainable land management practices.

The project has facilitated the upgrade of key infrastructure by increasing the capacity of bridges and waterways during heavy rainfall and flooding. The Collins Ghaut Flood Management and Slope Stabilization Project in particular, is helping to protect housing downstream which are vulnerable to landslides and river erosions that make cause damage to lives and property.

Local Focal Point for the OECS I-land Resilience Initiative Jerome Meade said this intervention was timely, adding that without it, lives could have been lost “ if the continued erosion in the area had continued, the consequence would be devastating, so this project has reversed some of the negative impacts” Meade said.

Farmers, like Jah Bouka are also benefiting from the OECS iLand Resilience. A Rainwater Harvesting and Solar Powered Project which introduced the concept of using rainwater harvesting applications as effective climate change adaptation strategies has been implemented.

The system located at the Montserrat National Trust (MNT) helps nearby farmers to enhance their water efficiency by using solar energy to pump water, thereby reducing the cost of irrigation for farmers and educating them on new approaches of transporting water from the reservoirs to their farmlands.

The introduction of these sustainable measures, along with the work of other key stakeholders is helping to move Montserrat in a positive direction, towards a climate resilient small island, a feat that will no doubt be arduous but worthwhile.

BVI Makes Climate Change Progress British Virgin Islands

The BVI’s progress on climate change and financial services were presented at the 15th OCT-EU Forum and OCTA Ministerial Conference in Aruba last week.

The conference was held from February 20 to 24 and was represented by a delegation headed by BVI London Office Director, Mr. Benito Wheatley; Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr. Joseph Smith-Abbott and BVI London Office Deputy Director, Dr. Sandra Besson.

During a plenary session on climate change on February 24, Mr. Smith-Abbott made a presentation on the BVI's participation in the OECS Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project on climate change adaptation and sustainable land management.

"It was my pleasure to share the progress BVI is making on climate change as a part of the OECS GCCA project. I also offered recommendations on how the Overseas Countries and Territories can implement a wider climate change thematic programme for the Caribbean supported by the EU’, Mr. Abbott said.

The Deputy Secretary also participated in a workshop on implementing the EU's BEST programme on biodiversity in the margins of the 15th OCT-EU Forum.

BVI’s London Office Director and EU Representative, Mr. Benito Wheatley delivered a report at the OCTA Ministerial Conference on the Financial Services Partnership Working Party (PWP) meetings held in 2016, which the BVI co-chairs with the European Commission. Mr. Wheatley said, "We had a highly successful year of engagement with the EU on financial services which I was happy to report on. We have plans to deepen our dialogue with the EU on tax and transparency in 2017. The BVI will continue to lead in this area." The Premier of the Turks & Caicos Islands, the Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson was elected the Chair of OCTA for 2017, while European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr. Neven Mimica led the EU delegation at the Aruba meetings. The BVI is a member of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA), and associated with the EU. BVI is represented at the annual OCT-EU Forum and OCTA Ministerial Conference each year.

The Government of the Virgin Islands is committed to strengthening international relationships, in positioning the Territory for the future.

Mr. Joseph Smith-Abbott presents at the climate change plenary on February 24, 2017

Major OECS effort underway to reduce deforestation

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  bilateral  agreements  or  receive  payments  for  carbon  credits   through  the  green  climate  fund”,  informed  Reyes.

Mr.  Reyes  cautioned  that  while  St.  Lucia  was  indeed  on  the  right  path  to  REDD+,  there  was  still  a  lot  of   work  to  be  done.

He  continued  to  explain  that  data  requirements  such  as  GIS  data,  a  forest  definition,   and  a  more  comprehensive  and  transparent  Green  House  Gas  (GHG)  Inventory.

He  also  explained  that   assessments  of  the  Land  Use,  Land  Use  Change  and  Forestry  (LULUCF)  sector  was  necessary  to  get  the   country  ready  for  the  third  phase  of  the  project.

This  REDD+  initiative  is  part  of  ILAND  Resilience  –  The  OECS  Commission’s  Climate  Change  Adaptation   and  Sustainable  Land  Management  Project  funded  by  the  EU.

Major OECS Effort Underway to Reduce Deforestation St.Kitts 1

According to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), 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, says Kedahli Crichton of the Physical Planning Unit, 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. This project focuses on sustainable development in SIDS through sustainable land management towards climate change adaption.

Crichton, the focal point for the GCCA project in SVG said on Monday that the project seeks to do 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”, stressed Crichton.

Locally, statistics say that 41.2% 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% of Vincentians are at risk of facing two or less hazards. “We are definitely disaster prone”, stressed Crichton who noted that through the GCCA project, a lot of 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 there have been droughts as well and shifting weather patterns and those have impacted the agricultural sector among other facets of Vincentian life.

“It is something that we at the physical planning department 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”, said Crichton who added that under the physical adaptation part of the GCCA project, the department has planned an extension of the Cumberland/Perseverance Watershed Management Plan which seeks to put in place, a management plan for the deforested areas and all the services that persons derive from that watershed, not only the water supply but other livelihoods.

“We had some work done on that already. Institutional strengthening has been done as well”, revealed Crichton who added that the GCCA project has trained persons on Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping which allows one to visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends and present geographic data.

“We have had a number of persons doing data gathering to bolster the analysis done in the local area plans…so we have trained people to collect live data and that is to input on another part of the project”, explained Crichton who added that the data collection has been successful and they are doing a land policy initiative, a process that started in 2013.

Kedahli also noted that through the GCCA project, a number of community level and institutional level consultations dealing with the building code and strengthening the enforcement and cooperation between the financial sector and the physical planning unit are being held.

He said that these consultations are intended to help create better quality buildings by putting more quality control based metrics in the process of construction by adhering to proper building codes.

“...adherence to the building code is the only guarantee that there has been the minimum standard of quality to combat weather, earthquakes, tectonic plate movements… adherence to the code is what allows you to have safety”, said Crichton who said that the GCCA project seeks to make sure that persons realize that what happens on land affects what happens in the sea and vice versa.

“We are trying to pull everything together and we have all of these processes going on and the ultimate aim after everything is to update our planning laws to reflect all the lessons we would have learnt”, stressed Crichton who added that they are hoping to see how communities will react to certain ideas and as result allow them to develop a methodology for putting climate change in the realm of more definitive planning in SVG.

SVG has over the years experienced a number of climate change issues, from a drought in 2010 that was followed by a wet period that saw 2010 going down in the local record books as the year with the most rainfall, some 119.1 inches. This figure surpassed the average annual rainfall for the last ten years.

The drought followed by the rainfall represented two disasters as was seen with the numerous landslides which isolated several communities on the Windward side of the island and severely disrupted vehicular traffic.

Hurricane Tomas on October 30 th,  2010, came late reinforcing the fact that SVG must be prepared at all times for an emergency even outside the stipulated hurricane period.  The damage and loss assessment for Tomas completed by the United Nations (UN) estimated $130 million in damage to agriculture, forestry and housing being mainly affected. While recovering from Tomas a surface trough on April 11 th /12 th  2011 dumped and average of 9.6 inches of rain in Rabacca, Perseverance and Jennings resulting in severe flash flooding and the displacement of 18 families contributing to an estimated $82 million (and continuing) worth of damage.

Also on December 24 th , 2013, this country experienced a hundred-year weather event that claimed 12 lives while last year severe flooding cause millions of dollars in damage on the Windward side of the island, enforcing the importance of the GCCA project.

SVG Most Disaster Prone Globally Per Capita St. Vincent

According to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), 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, says Kedahli Crichton of the Physical Planning Unit, 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. This project focuses on sustainable development in SIDS through sustainable land management towards climate change adaption.

Crichton, the focal point for the GCCA project in SVG said on Monday that the project seeks to do 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”, stressed Crichton.

Locally, statistics say that 41.2% 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% of Vincentians are at risk of facing two or less hazards. “We are definitely disaster prone”, stressed Crichton who noted that through the GCCA project, a lot of 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 there have been droughts as well and shifting weather patterns and those have impacted the agricultural sector among other facets of Vincentian life.

“It is something that we at the physical planning department 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”, said Crichton who added that under the physical adaptation part of the GCCA project, the department has planned an extension of the Cumberland/Perseverance Watershed Management Plan which seeks to put in place, a management plan for the deforested areas and all the services that persons derive from that watershed, not only the water supply but other livelihoods.

“We had some work done on that already. Institutional strengthening has been done as well”, revealed Crichton who added that the GCCA project has trained persons on Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping which allows one to visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends and present geographic data.

“We have had a number of persons doing data gathering to bolster the analysis done in the local area plans…so we have trained people to collect live data and that is to input on another part of the project”, explained Crichton who added that the data collection has been successful and they are doing a land policy initiative, a process that started in 2013.

Kedahli also noted that through the GCCA project, a number of community level and institutional level consultations dealing with the building code and strengthening the enforcement and cooperation between the financial sector and the physical planning unit are being held.

He said that these consultations are intended to help create better quality buildings by putting more quality control based metrics in the process of construction by adhering to proper building codes.

“...adherence to the building code is the only guarantee that there has been the minimum standard of quality to combat weather, earthquakes, tectonic plate movements… adherence to the code is what allows you to have safety”, said Crichton who said that the GCCA project seeks to make sure that persons realize that what happens on land affects what happens in the sea and vice versa.

“We are trying to pull everything together and we have all of these processes going on and the ultimate aim after everything is to update our planning laws to reflect all the lessons we would have learnt”, stressed Crichton who added that they are hoping to see how communities will react to certain ideas and as result allow them to develop a methodology for putting climate change in the realm of more definitive planning in SVG.

SVG has over the years experienced a number of climate change issues, from a drought in 2010 that was followed by a wet period that saw 2010 going down in the local record books as the year with the most rainfall, some 119.1 inches. This figure surpassed the average annual rainfall for the last ten years.

The drought followed by the rainfall represented two disasters as was seen with the numerous landslides which isolated several communities on the Windward side of the island and severely disrupted vehicular traffic.

Hurricane Tomas on October 30 th,  2010, came late reinforcing the fact that SVG must be prepared at all times for an emergency even outside the stipulated hurricane period.  The damage and loss assessment for Tomas completed by the United Nations (UN) estimated $130 million in damage to agriculture, forestry and housing being mainly affected. While recovering from Tomas a surface trough on April 11 th /12 th  2011 dumped and average of 9.6 inches of rain in Rabacca, Perseverance and Jennings resulting in severe flash flooding and the displacement of 18 families contributing to an estimated $82 million (and continuing) worth of damage.

Also on December 24 th , 2013, this country experienced a hundred-year weather event that claimed 12 lives while last year severe flooding cause millions of dollars in damage on the Windward side of the island, enforcing the importance of the GCCA project.

iLAND Resilience works on target for completion

Castries, May 24 2017-The OECS Global Climate Change Alliance/GCCA, through its iLAND Resilience works being implemented in Saint Lucia, are on target in terms of completion.

The completion  of these projects is timely as it will serve as a major step for mitigation ahead of the 2017 hurricane season. The project which commenced in February in Corinth/Grand Riviere promises to improve the communities’ resilience to climate change by taking preemptive action with  flood water drain ways.

The GCCA Project comprises of  two gabion wall structures along the Corinth/Grand Riviere river and a drain wall along the Corinth field. Gabion walls constructed are aimed at retaining the road shoulders and the road infrastructure while the drain wall is intended to drain out flood waters from the Corinth roadside drains.

According to Civil Engineer in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Sherman Nelson, though not completed, the project is a proactive approach to disaster risk reduction given our vulnerability to climate change. He informed that his Ministry had observed that the road shoulder was being eroded due to continuous water action in the river, therefore, the project would ensure that the road networks remain functional during catastrophic weather events.

With climate change small island states like Saint Lucia experience more intense rainfall. This does not necessarily mean a higher quantity of rainfall over a long period but a higher a quantity in short space of time. This is often the main cause of flash flooding and erosion to rivers. Mirroring projects like the gabion and the drain wall across the island can mitigate the socio economic impacts that come with climate change.

Secondary School to Benefit from the Practice of Rainwater Harvesting in Grenada.

One secondary school in Grenada will be able to sustainably manage their water resource through a

Rainwater harvesting Plant, which is currently being constructed at the institution. Through the plant, the school MacDonald’s College which faces numerous challenges will have a constant flow of water for carrying out everyday activities at the facility.

This Rainwater harvesting project is part of the ILAND resilience – “promoting a climate of change” initiative. This is EU funded and falls under the Global climate change alliance (GCCA), which is managed by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

Rainwater Harvesting has many benefits and will greatly assist in reducing the water bill of the institution and provide an alternative water supply during water restrictions. The plant will assist in providing a constant flow of water to the school population which currently is over four hundred.

Rainwater Harvesting which is an ancient and proven technology can assist small islands in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is easily deployable due to the fact that materials for establishing a plant can be found locally and the practice of Rainwater harvesting brings the water source closer to its consumers and can ultimately result in limiting water wastage and encouraging water savings.

Climate change has brought about many changes in the environment of islands in the Caribbean; from its effects to coastal areas, to intense dry seasons and extremely wet rainy seasons. With these changes comes shortages in the water resources as a result of droughts and dry spells which Grenada has had to face in recent years. Another problem is the occurrence of water shortages whenever there is heavy rainfall and the fresh water supply gets affected by flooding. Rainwater Harvesting can be a way to alleviate these shortage and problems in water supply if implemented in the right way, as it is being done at MacDonald’s College.

Stakeholders to benefit from slope stabilization project in Nevis

Charlestown, Nevis (8th June 2017): The New River & Coconut Walk Estate’s Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control project in Nevis is on track to 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 65m long rip-rap and bioengineering 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 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 ruins 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 sprays 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,” he added.

The Project is a collaboration between the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), the European Union and the OECS Commission. It 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.

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

Builders urged to adhere to building codes

Castries, June 12 2017-Building owners have been urged to adhere to existing building codes, as the Caribbean prepares for increased weather activity during the current Atlantic hurricane season that began on June 1, 2017 and ends on November 30.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Department of Physical Planning, Hildreth Lewis, believes that adherence to building codes could have saved losses during past disasters.

Hildreth Lewis

“Persons build in areas that are ill advised to build by the authorities and the competent agencies and so that puts them at risk and at the same time puts the state in a bit of a difficult position when we have to come to their rescue and provide resources to help them rehabilitate their lives and property,” Lewis told the OECS Island Resilience Project.

He explained that the issue of climate change is a reminder of the sometimes perilous nature of the existence of Small Island States (SIDS) surrounded by water.

Bexon flooding

Lewis said climate change brings negative potential impacts on small islands.

His department assists in the coordination of certain areas of the OECS Global Climate Change Alliance/GCCA Project, which is concerned with the review of the building code and the physical planning development act.

According to reports,  in 2011 independent researchers documented over 1250 landslides across Saint Lucia, many of which were as a result of Hurricane Tomas.

Eighty percent of Slope Stabilization revetment work completed says Project Manager

Charlestown, Nevis (14/06/2017): Project Manager of Lefco Equipment Rental and Construction Company Ltd. Mr. Oswald Wilfred, has reported that 80 percent of the GCCA-funded New River/Coconut Walk Estate Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control Measures project in Nevis has been completed to date.

“The project seeks to address the shoreline erosion and land degradation along the coast of New River and Coconut Walk Estate. This [shoreline erosion] will result in losing the existing kiln,” Wilfred stated.

“The project consists of two sections/phases Lot 1 and Lot 2. The first phase “Lot 1” is a revetment which is the placement or packing of Toe Stones and Armour Stones or Boulders approximately 65m in length along the shoreline behind the existing kiln to prevent erosion from continuous wave action in this area. This phase of the project is for a duration of six (6) months. The other aspect of the project is “Lot 2” which is planting of sea tolerant vegetation behind the revetment on either side of the existing kiln to prevent further erosion and to enhance the area. This phase is for a duration of one (1) year and six (6) months allocated for planting and the remaining six (6) months for monitoring of the plants,” Wilfred further explained.

The project is expected to be completed within a few months.

“Work has been progressing fairly well. We are into the fourth month of phase one and thus far eighty percent (80%) of the revetment is already completed. We are looking to complete the revetment section at the end of the moth. And also commencement of the second phase within the last week has begun,” said Wilfred.

The Project is a collaboration between the OECS Commission, the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) and the European Union. Its main objectives are to build awareness of Global Climate Change as well as to increase the capacity of Member States to tackle the effects of climate change in their territories.

Enhancing implementation for conservation and environmental management in Montserrat

Brades, June 21, 2017 – The Department of Environment (DOE) has invited stakeholders in Montserrat to participate in a national dialogue to enhance implementation of the Conservation and Environmental Management Act (CEMA).

The stakeholders will work together over the next year to develop regulations and specific priorities and activities for an action plan and implementation budget to support conservation and environmental management in Montserrat.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) is providing technical assistance to support the Department of Environment in the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Housing, Lands and Environment (MATHLE) to facilitate dialogue among government agencies and civil society. 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 action plan will identify concrete priorities for implementation.

The Environment Technician - Education and Outreach at Montserrat’s Department of Environment, Stephen Mendes, highlighted that: “There are many overlapping roles and responsibilities related to environmental planning protection and management that need to be streamlined so that all the relevant stakeholders are singing in unison from the same hymn sheet. The regulations will serve as a guide to complement the existing legislation (CEMA) for the effective sustainable management of the environment”. Through stakeholder engagement there will be greater buy-in, support and uptake of the regulations and action plan produced.

Stephen Mendes, Department of Environment

This initiative is under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance project on iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change funded by the European Union (EU). The overall aim of the iLAND Resilience programme 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

About iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change: iLAND Resilience - Promoting a Climate of Change is the brand for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Global Climate Change Alliance project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management in the Eastern Caribbean. This project is funded by the European Union (EU). One component of this project focuses on Technical Assistance for the Development of Frameworks aimed at Enhancing Environmental Management. This technical assistance component seeks to develop institutional frameworks towards improved environmental management and resilience to climate change in four OECS Member States, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia. CANARI is implementing this component on behalf of the OECS and providing co-financing through its EU funded project, Powering Innovations in Civil Society and Enterprises for Sustainability in the Caribbean (PISCES). See here for more info on the iLand Resilience programme: http://iland.oecs.org/.

About CANARI: The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute is a regional technical non-profit organisation which has been working in the islands of the Caribbean for more than 25 years. Our mission is to promote equitable participation and effective collaboration in managing natural resources critical to development. Our programmes focus on capacity building, policy planning and development, research, sharing and dissemination of lessons learned, and fostering regional partnerships. See here for more information on CANARI: http://www.canari.org/.

About the Department of Environment, MATHLE: The Department of Environment is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands Housing and the Environment. Its goal is to achieve long-term protection and sustainable productivity of Montserrat’s natural resources and the ecosystem services they provide in support of optimal and equitable economic, social and cultural development for present and future generations. Its mandate includes: ensuring the sustainable management and use of natural resources; protecting and conserving biological diversity; reducing the impacts of climate change and natural disasters; promoting sound pollution prevention and control and waste management; and fostering environmental health. The DOE strives to ensure effective participation in environmental decision making and promote best practices by individuals and institutions in the public, private and civil society sectors and supports the integration of environmental management into development policy, plans and programmes.

10 Ways to Weather the 2017 Hurricane Season

Climate Change is inevitable. This is evident with our changing weather patterns and increased weather conditions. Longer periods of drought, intense heat waves, more frequent and stronger hurricanes are all breeding grounds for earthquakes, landslides and flash flooding. While we continue to take action to reduce global warming emissions we must also prepare for the unavoidable effects that have already been set in motion. Here are 10 sustainable things you can do to be Climate Change Resilient this Hurricane Season!

1. Clear all drains near your home or business

Clogged drains are one of the chief reasons for flooding. Do not wait for drains to be flooded to attempt to clear them as this can prove life threatening.

2. Migrate household items

If you live in a flood-prone area, you may want to move some of your household items to an elevated part of the house or to another location, before the flooding starts.

3. Trim tree branches

Heavy winds associated with storms are strong enough to break tree branches. This can cause damage to property or loss of life.

4. Avoid construction or heavy activity on steep slopes

Loosening soil on steep slopes during the rainy season can encourage landslide activity.

5. Avoid landslide prone areas

If you live on a slope monitor for soil movement activity. Evacuate the area if you notice major or increased soil/land movement.

6. Drain stagnant water

Water trapped or stored during rains will remain stagnant after the season. Cover and treat stored water and look for possible trapped water around your home. Small puddles, roof guttering, flower pots, container covers, even plants are breeding areas for virus-carrying mosquitoes.

7. Secure Animals

Remove animals from flood-prone areas. Do not wait till they are swept away by flood waters to attempt to save them.

8. Follow instructions and warning signals from the authorities

Sea level increases are not to be underestimated.

9.Stay informed

Contact your local disaster management authority ahead of the season to ensure you are on the right track to safeguarding your property and life. Listen for weather updates frequently.

10.Work with your community

Being climate change resilient is a community effort. Spread knowledge on climate change resilience practices and commit to action plans; it will not only benefit your neighbour but it can also benefit you.

While safety measures continue to increase people are still at great risk of tropical storms and hurricanes because they continue to intensify. Enter the Hurricane season prepared and be ready to put safety plans into action.

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.

Site Visit To Assess Scott's Head Point Dominica

A site visit was conducted at the Scott's Head point to assess the location which will be rehabilitated through the OECS sponsored GCCA programme. The invasive lemongrass plant which covers most of the area will be 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.

From left to right: Bernard Nation (Enviroplus), Ira Pierre (Forestry Division), Bradley Guye (Forestry Division), Angus McIntyre (Macs Plant Nursery), Albert Gallion (retired forestry officer/consultant), Joshua Kelshall (Corisav Inc.), Cheddi Laville (Corisav Inc.), Damian Frank (Enviroplus).

Missing: Dr. Dave Lloyd (Enviroplus), Ayeola George (Media Liaison Officer)

Representatives from the Forestry Division and consultants, Enviroplus, Mac's Plant Nursery and Corisav Inc. engage in a site visit at Scotts Head to discuss plans for removal of invasive lemongrass plants and rehabilittate the area with trees, shrubs and flowers that will visibly enhance the location , while protecting the soil from erosion.

Representatives from the Forestry Division and consultants, Enviroplus, Mac's Plant Nursery and Corisav Inc. engage in a site visit at Scotts Head to discuss plans for removal of invasive lemongrass plants and rehabilittate the area with trees, shrubs and flowers that will visibly enhance the location , while protecting the soil from erosion.

The variety of lemongrass found in the area is an invasive species which can cause bush fires due to the dryness of the plant and the high oil content within, which can act as a combustible.

Two views of the area, including the isthmus between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

The Scotts Head point is a known tourism landmark with spectacular views. Work will be done with enhancing the tourism value in mind.

Looking over the edge. The lemon grass below will be removed and replaced with other plant types

This lamp post shows signs of a previous fire. It is surrounded by lemongrass plants. The plants will be removed as part of the rehabilitation exercise.

A tree trunk  which was damaged in a previous fire

Gabion baskets already exist on the site and provide erosion control and protect the ocean from falling dirt and plant material.  These stone filled baskets will be further extended as part of this project. 

Representatives from the Forestry Division and consultants, Enviroplus, Mac's Plant Nursery and Corisav Inc. engage in a site visit at Scotts Head to discuss plans for removal of invasive lemongrass plants and rehabilitate the area with trees, shrubs and flowers that will visibly enhance the location , while protecting the soil from erosion. 

Local contractors endorse Revised OECS Building Code project

Local contractors and engineers in St. Kitts-Nevis have expressed high praise for the ongoing Revised OECS Building Code project which seeks to increase resilience of the built environment and adequately mitigate risks to natural hazards. Veteran construction engineer Peter Jenkins of Jenkins Limited is of the view that the Revised OECS Building Code is critically important to the built environment of St. Kitts-Nevis and the OECS sub-region in terms of the regulation of building standards.

“Having practiced in the construction/engineering sector since 1980, I can say with some degree of certainty that it is important that the built environment in St. Kitts and Nevis, the OECS, and the Caribbean be regulated. This is important from a development standpoint. Persons who are bringing development to the region must be able to be confident that there are a set of standards to which the sector is regulated, so that there are standards for all aspects of design, all aspects of construction, all aspects of maintenance. We hear, very often, of incidents all over the world where there are collapses, during construction, after construction, and these are in developed sectors of the world. We hear of collapses in China, in the United States, in Canada, all over the world. And so we have to give the assurance that the standards to which we construct are of such that we can basically guarantee some degree of safety, said Jenkins” Jenkins stated that the revision process will create stakeholder buy-in and give assurance of the quality of the building process in the OECS.

“The Code, as a uniform building code of the OECS, is critical. It gives more status and weight to the integrity of the process that we went through to determine the Code itself. And so, it is important that we continue this process towards the point where we actually have a revised code that all of us would be stakeholders to, would have bought into the process and agreed upon the final document so that the population of the OECS and those coming in can be assured of the quality of the building process in the region,” Jenkins added. Jenkins also spoke to the importance of the Revised OECS Building Code to the region in light of increased threats from climate change.

“We have to look at flooding. All of these things are critical and will be addressed in the Code and it is important that we get it right so that we can provide some degree of protection to developers. Persons will be occupying such buildings in the future and so this is very important. Climate change has brought additional emphasis and impetus to us in terms of getting this document prepared,” said Jenkins.

Anthony Evelyn, Executive Director of the St. Kitts-Nevis Contractors Association, believes that the Revised Code is important for saving life and property and addressing deficiencies in the present system.

“It is important because it will save life and property. … After the hurricane passed over the island, there are some short changes taking place in the industry still. There are certain measurements required for concrete and mortar and instead of using measurements they are still using shovels; shovels of sand, shovels of stone and so the mix becomes not regular and then you find buildings start cracking. These are some of the measures you want government to address within the construction industry of St. Kitts and Nevis,” he opined. Meanwhile, Mrs Fonsonia O’Garro-Lewis, partner and architect in the firm Brisbane O’Garro Alvaranga, explained that the Revised OECS Building Code will enhance the quality of standard of living in St. Kitts-Nevis.

“I think that revising the Building Code plays a critical role in how the country develops and to a large extent our infrastructural development and architecture, piers and drainage in Basseterre and all around the island. I think it helps to enhance the quality of, and generally, our standard living here in St. Kitts because in this day and age we have to design for seismic activity for our part of the world. We have to design for hurricane and windows and pressures against buildings and as we all know from an environmental standpoint they [are] coming stronger and a lot faster. So our buildings, our structures, have to withstand those blows and the Building Code is what dictates the requirements for that type of construction and maintaining, generally, the safety of our people,” she stated.

O’Garro-Lewis believes that the revised Code will adequately respond to new changes in the built environment and enhance the safety and security of persons who occupy those building structures.

“One of the things you might notice as well, our buildings are getting taller. Something we all have to get used to because at one point in time the Building Code spoke to buildings that were two-storied and three-storied. It never really went beyond that but then that ties in to our Building Code and the development of the Code and the revamping of the Code, it lends itself to high-rise buildings on St. Kitts. Who would have thought that we would have gotten to that point? I think that revamping the Code, developing the Code some more, make ensuring that we cover all the bases from a safety and security standpoint for persons utilizing those buildings. I think that it is a good thing,” O’Garro-Lewis stated.

The Revised OECS Building Code project is a collaboration between the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), the European Union and the OECS Commission. The OECS Commission has recognised that the administrative approach to Code implementation and enforcement should reflect the varying needs and capacities of Member States in terms of their different legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks for building control. A stakeholders meeting was held in March of this year to review issues related to areas of compliance, legislation, and contractor liability.

Climate Change Photo Documentary By Delia Louis

"Climate change remains one of the most serious challenges confronting the Caribbean Region.

The approximately forty million people who live across two dozen islands are in a state of increased vulnerability due to changing weather patterns exasperated by climate change. "

Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States

Food transportation is the most polluting form of transportation and the largest contributor to global warming. Buying locally produced food will dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your meals.

The agricultural sector is another major contributor to climate change. It will also be one of the most affected sectors. Sustainable agriculture and land management are best practices for mitigating climate change.

A further sector that will be greatly affected by climate change in the fishing industry. Because of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, sea temperatures continue to rise. This along with rising sea levels may encourage fish to migrate and coral reefs to die.

Rising sea levels can also cause low lying areas to flood and rivers to swell during heavy rains.

The future does not look bright with climate change. According to NASA Global Climate Change, because of human activity, sea levels will continue to rise; hurricanes will become stronger and more intense; we will experience more droughts and heat waves; also temperatures will continue to rise.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation policies by government, and organisational measures are important in ensuring the safety and security of a country's residents.

Revision of OECS Building Codes to provide Benefits To Homeowners

Insurers in St. Kitts and Nevis are of the view that the Revised OECS Building Code will provide tremendous benefits to homeowners in the federation and the OECS sub-region. According to Amit Mohabir, General Manager of NAGICO Insurances in St. Kitts-Nevis, the revision of the building code is important for homeowners. “I think there are significant benefits to be had in all sectors with the Revised Building Code in the OECS taking into consideration disaster preparedness or catastrophe readiness. From an insurance perspective, I can tell you that apart from the ultimate safety of the homeowners, there are also benefits to be had in areas of premium savings,” said Mohabir.

“Over time, once we can prove that homes are built sturdier and more secure, taking natural perils into consideration, then ultimately the risk factor will be improved and this will increase our bargaining power as a region. The revision of these codes can lead to greater negotiations with reinsurers, which will result in savings that can be passed on to our homeowners. Reinsurers do pay attention to these things and do value certain efforts geared towards the enhancement of infrastructures and facilities.” he explained.

Mohabir believes that a Revised OECS Building Code can help to improve the job of insurers particularly in the area of underwriting.

“It can and will make our job a lot easier from an insurance standpoint. While it’s imperative that we conduct our risk assessment practices during our underwriting process, checks will be carried out much more effectively, knowing that the revised code would have significantly improved the risk profile of the homes,” he said.

“Being prepared for natural catastrophes by taking corrective measures particularly in improved construction, puts us ahead of the game. For example, should a natural hazard pass through the federation, our losses would be significantly reduced due to the upgrades in the construction of our homes, our abilities to recover and continue our livelihoods would be vastly enhanced, which can result in little to no economic downturn because of that catastrophe, not forgetting the fact that lives will be saved as our homes will be much safer,” Mohabir added.

“NAGICO definitely supports this initiative because we are one of the many stakeholders who will be impacted positively by the implementation of the Revised OECS Building Code. Our risk assessment models and practices can all be enhanced because of improvements in the revised Code,” explained the insurance manager.

Meanwhile, Alister Thomas of National Insurance Company Ltd, also gave his support to the revision of the OECS Building Code.

“The Revised OECS Building Code is a welcomed move especially at a time when we are experiencing a lot of natural disasters. It is great that consideration was given to revise the building code. This would greatly impact the way insurance companies are able to underwrite the necessary risks. Once we have an updated and uniform building code, it will play a great part in how insurance assess risks,” said Thomas.

The Revised OECS Building Code project is an ongoing initiative by the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), the European Union and the OECS Commission. It seeks to improve the administrative approach to Building Code implementation and enforcement in the OECS sub- region. Several stakeholder meetings will be held in the near future to review issues related to Code compliance, legislation, and contractor liability.