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Barbados on its way to launching its first climate services partnership

 Barbados has launched its first effort to map its capacity to produce and use climate information for risk-informed decision-making across its climate-sensitive sectors to combat the challenges related to climate variability and climate change. 

In a meeting on November 20th, hosted by the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) and supported by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Building Regional Climate Capacity in the Caribbean (BRCCC) Programme, five of Barbados’ climate-sensitive sectors agreed to initiate the process to develop Sectoral Early Warning Information Systems Across Climate Timescales (EWISACTs) at the national level.

The national Workshop brought together 22 representatives from Barbados’ agriculture, disaster risk management, energy, health and water sectors, in addition to representatives from the Coastal Zone Management Unit, the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, the Ministry of International Business and International Transport, the Barbados Meteorological Services and the CIMH. The cross-sectoral group discussed avenues for the formalisation of the Caribbean’s first national-level partnership between the national Meteorological Services and climate-sensitive sectors for the systematic delivery of tailored climate early warning information products in the future.

“This partnership will allow the Barbados Meteorological Services to support several key sectors to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change, especially for those who are most vulnerable to such risks,” said Mr. Hampden Lovell, Director of the BMS. “Eventually, what we hope to achieve is the development and incorporation of science-based climate information into national planning, policy and practice”.

Regional agencies such as, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) also attended to support the national-level implementation.

These efforts  come as prevailing drought conditions and the third global coral bleaching event are affecting the region and its climate sensitive sectors, in part, as a result of El Niño 2015. On Wednesday, the US based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that the current El Niño is the strongest on record.

“This El Niño’s impacts are already being felt terrestrially and in our aquatic ecosystems,” explained Mr. Adrian Trotman, Chief of Applied Meteorology and Climatology at CIMH. “Being able to reduce the impacts from climate events like El Niño will become paramount for regional and national development. The partnerships that are currently being created will allow the region to better respond to climate events more efficiently within our sectors which operate at national levels.”

The inaugural Barbados session is the first in a series of national-level meetings to strategise for the production and use of sectoral early warning information. It follows regional level action by the CIMH and lead regional organisations for several climate-sensitive sectors to design, develop and deliver climate early warning information systems. In October 2015, these agencies agreed to formalize the Consortium of Regional Sectoral Early Warning Information Systems Across Climate Timescales (EWISACTs) Coordination Partners – a novel partnership intended to help sectors develop appropriate response strategies for potential climate impacts and build climate resilience.

More national-level meetings will be organised across the region, with the National Met Services playing a lead coordinating role in those sessions.

For more information, please contact: 

Mr. Hampden Lovell, Director, Barbados Meteorological Services at 246-428-0910,
Dr. Roché Mahon, Postdoctoral Researcher, CIMH at 246-425-1362/1363,
or Dr. Cédric Van Meerbeeck, Climatologist, CIMH at 246-425-1362/1363.

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