The first Climate Smart Workshop under the “State of the Caribbean Climate 2016: Information for Resilience Building” project was held on December 12-13, 2019 in Georgetown, Guyana. Over 45 Caribbean participants attended, including organizers and representatives from finance, economic development, tourism, health and energy sectors. The workshop sought to facilitate discussions among representatives of climate sensitive sectors on the impacts of climate change on their sectors and how to integrate climate resilience into their planning processes. Overall feedback from participants demonstrated the usefulness of the initiative.
Designing relevant trategies for building resilience to climate change and natural hazards is critical to sustain development outcomes in the region. The Climate Smart initiative, established in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank, is geared towards creating greater public awareness as well as identifying mitigating and/or preventative strategies to address the challenges associated with disaster risks and impacts.
Professor Michael Taylor, Director of Climate Studies Group and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI in Mona, Jamaica, alerted participants to the fact that climate change in the Caribbean has been clearly evident in recent years, as observed through significant change in rainfall patterns and the occurrence more extreme events. Professor Taylor’s analysis further revealed that the entire rainfall routine is changing and sea levels are rising across the entire Caribbean. Increasingly extreme hurricanes, droughts, floods and other natural hazards have had a devastating impact in the region. In addition to the loss of human lives and the destruction of homes and infrastructure, the health, education, agriculture and tourism sectors are also gravely impacted.
Dr. Yves Robert Personna, Project Manager of the ACP-EU NDRM at the Caribbean Development Bank, stated that the CDB has committed to helping its Caribbean member countries to reduce inequality and poverty by 2025. In this context, the CDB has developed and implemented its Climate Resilience Strategy 2012-2017, and raised over USD 410 million to support disaster risk management and climate resilience initiatives in the Region.