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Climate Change is a numbers game that we must understand- Environment Minister, The Bahamas

“Climate Change is a numbers game, and we have to understand what the numbers mean and what they mean for our future,” said the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of The Bahamas.

He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of a capacity-building workshop for environment and Climate Change statistics and indicators on 12 March, which was facilitated by the CARICOM’s Secretariat’s Regional Statistics Programme (RSP). The aim of the RSP is to continue to build the capacity of CARICOM Member States in environment and Climate Change statistics.

The three-day workshop, which took place in The Bahamas, aimed to improve the ability of national institutions to produce timely reports on the environment and ensure those reports are available in easily accessible formats for policy-making and programming. 

Placing the aims of the workshop in context, the Minister pointed to the environmental challenges the country recently experienced and noted that relevant statistical data is integral to preparing citizens for the potential negative impacts and opportunities Climate Change may present.

“Last year, 90% of Bahamian corals experienced some level of bleaching due to increased ocean temperatures. We have not yet mentioned the impacts of severe weather events [such as Hurricane] Dorian. The total human, economic and environmental impacts of that hurricane have yet to be comprehensively calculated. The Bahamas has lost coastlines, forests, mangroves, access to marine resources, the hospitals are tending to more and more patients with heat related stresses,” Minister Miller said, as he highlighted the need for baselines and firm indicators to measure change and progress.

Ms. Faustina Wiggins of the RSP, delivered remarks at the opening on behalf of the RSP Director, Mr. Halim Brizan. She underscored that the availability of data will result in sound management of the environment and natural resources and will reduce the challenges that are associated with the adverse effects of Climate Change, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, waste management and other environmental threats.

“We note the improvements to data storage and dissemination through the publication of the Environmental Review and wish to encourage a continuous programme to collect and publish more data on environment and Climate Change statistics through the planned expansion of this report,” she said. 

The workshop followed one that the Regional Statistics Programme conducted in Saint Lucia in mid-February. Similar sessions are to be held in Dominica. The 11th European Development Fund (EDF) Strengthening the Framework for CARICOM Integration and Cooperation Process Programme (SFCICPP) is providing funding for the workshops.

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