“The European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) – A Caribbean Perspective” By Mikael Barfod

The Caribbean is one of the regions in the world where the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), which has an envelope of EUR 295 million, is making an impact, as it seeks to strengthen climate change co-operation and policy dialogue. The GCCA forms part of the total EU “Fast Start Finance” package which totals EUR 7.2 billion.

In the Caribbean, the Global Climate Change Alliance is active in Jamaica, Belize and Guyana, as well as with the Secretariat of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

Hope beach youngsters with mangrove seedlings prior to planting

Hope beach youngsters with mangrove seedlings prior to planting

In collaboration with the CCCCC the Alliance has implemented an EUR 8 million project which included enhancing the existing climate monitoring system, developing appropriate climate modelling systems, developing vulnerability and risk assessment techniques and methodologies and building regional and national capacities for increased access to available carbon financing.
In Guyana, the GCCA is supporting an initiative to restore and plant new mangrove forests as a way of contributing to carbon capture through reforestation and forest preservation. There is also strengthening of natural sea defences and support for coastal zone biodiversity.

In Jamaica the EUR 4.8 million Global Climate Change Alliance intervention is expected to result in the reforestation of 400 hectares of selected water management units, the assessment of 110, 000 hectares of government lands and development of a geo-reference database, the distribution of 35,000 timber and 30,000 fruit seedlings for planting and the comprehensive assessment of all forested lands. A partnership has been established with the United States Fire Service (USFS) which resulted in a three-member team from the USFS visiting the island and drafting forest fire management plans.

Another component of this climate change project is enhancing the resilience of Jamaica’s coastal ecosystem that includes the establishment of a management plan for the effective management of selected marine protected areas; improvement of the database for monitoring changes in coastal ecosystems; the reestablishment of sand dunes; the replanting of mangroves in degraded coastal regions; installation of 23 mooring buoys in marine protected areas to help protect the coral reefs and seagrass beds by providing safe places to anchor boats; the installation of 30 data loggers for the measurement of sea surface in specific marine protected areas, data from which will be passed on to experts in charge of developing the coastal ecosystem monitoring database.

Mikael Barfod: Head of the Delegation of the EU to Barbados & the EC

Mikael Barfod: Head of the Delegation of the EU to Barbados & the EC

As for Belize EUR 2.9 million is being provided to support the newly established National Integrated Water Resources Authority that will lead to national water resources vulnerability profiles and the preparation of water safety plans, as well as the conducting of a water resource assessment to inform a master plan for integrated water management. It is also expected that a pilot project entitled ‘Climate change and food security: building resilience among cattle producers of the Belize District’ will be implemented. Another project will look at ways of guaranteeing a sustainable supply of water and dealing with poor water quality. Adaptation to floods will be improved by the introduction of appropriate watershed management measures.

Another major intervention in the Caribbean is the EUR 10.6 million climate change adaptation and sustainable land management project. This project, which will run from 2013 to 2018, will be implemented with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Its objective is to improve resilience of the region’s natural resource base, to the impact of climate change, through effective and sustainable land management frameworks and practices and through specific adaptation of pilot projects focused on physical infrastructure and ecosystems.

These projects are the result of the two pillar approach of the Global Climate Change Alliance. The first pillar seeks to foster dialogue between the EU and developing countries on climate policy. The platform further supports the exchange of experience on practical approaches to integrate climate change into development policies and budgets, recognising that developing countries often face similar climate change issues. The results feed directly into the discussions on the post-2015 climate agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and inform the technical and financial cooperation supported by the Global Climate Change Alliance. In the context of these discussions the EU and Caribbean countries have on a number of occasions formed a common front for shared principles; principles that have been developed in part and reinforced by the Global Climate Change Alliance. The platform has also encouraged dialogue at global, regional and national levels. A manifestation of this dialogue in the Caribbean has been the Joint EU-CARIFORUM Declaration on Climate Change and Energy, of 2008, which was again discussed and reiterated at the regional conference in 2011.

 Head of the EU Delegation to Guyana Ambassador Robert Kopecky plants a mangrove seedling.

Head of the EU Delegation to Guyana Ambassador Robert Kopecky plants a mangrove seedling.

The second pillar of the Global Climate Change Alliance is to provide technical and financial support so as to assist partner countries, primarily Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) to integrate climate change into development policies and budgets. The technical and financial support in turn informs the dialogue and exchange of experience at regional and global levels between the EU and partner countries.

The Caribbean programmes complement and support the Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy, adopted in 2010, in which Climate Change is identified as one of five areas of EU-Caribbean collaboration. The CARIFORUM and the EU Member States, as signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, have worked together to advance climate change negotiations, and developed policies to reduce the impact of climate change and environmental degradation. They share an interest in achieving a comprehensive, fair and legally-binding outcome under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The CARIFORUM member states and the EU will continue their efforts to reach an ambitious international climate agreement. The Strategy foresees joint efforts, some of which are indeed ongoing in a number of areas – such as: enhancing the development of renewable power generation and grids; strengthening regional disaster and emergency response capacity; ensuring that the particular vulnerabilities of SIDS and low-lying coastal countries remain high on the global development agenda.

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