Farmers and Communities to Benefit from Climate Change Adaptation Project

Soil erosion management, solar power energy and an improved building code are some of the areas to be handled under a Climate Change Adaptation project estimated at more than one million Eastern Caribbean Dollars.

This information was shared by Jerome Meade, Montserrat’s Focal Point during the opening session of a one-day workshop to update the island’s policy on Climate Change Adaptation.

The quick wins Meade said are the current work to update the government’s 2012 policy on climate change and improving the current building code to ensure new structures conform to standards to mitigate against disasters. In the coming year, work will begin on a EC$200,000 solar power project for the Montserrat National Trust in Salem; a EC$250,000 soil erosion management project in Duck Pond and Blakes Estate; and a flood management project including drainage improvement for the Collins Ghaut area estimated at EC$600,000.

The Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Lands and the Environment Claude Hogan said in his opening remarks  “there is now more conclusive evidence that climate change is real and climate change is affecting Montserrat. It is critical for our people to become aware of this reality and we need to marshal our resources to adapt to and mitigate against the impacts that will be felt in terms of economic development, livelihoods and human health and well-being.

“My Ministry is pleased to once again host our colleagues from the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), who have worked with both the Montserrat National Trust and the Department of Environment (DOE) to facilitate a closer relationship with the general public and thus enable us to ensure that our natural resources are conserved for future generations.

“In this instance, CANARI has been contracted to facilitate the process of updating and refocusing the draft National Climate Change Adaptation Policy, which was initially funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, in collaboration with the DOE.

“The current updating process is being supported under the Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project in the Eastern Caribbean, managed by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on behalf of participating members.  Once again this exercise will involve our valued stakeholders in developing a revised policy and Action Plan.

Hogan added that “Climate change is much more than an “environmental issue” as all sectors and walks of life will be impacted.  It is an issue for farmers, fishers, for business owners, for youth, and for every household.  We have reached the point where every person and every government agency will need to re-think how it works, considering how climate change will impact on areas of responsibility such as land planning, infrastructure and utilities, housing and commercial development, tourism, agriculture and fisheries, economic development, health and education.”

The official said the government is now considering the integration of climate change issues into its development planning and recurrent budget cycles to be guided by the National Climate Change Policy.

He called for farmers, traders, fishers, carpenters and artisans of all kind, health workers, teachers and especially those who rely on nature for a living to take heed. “You must watch what your neighbour is doing to the plant life and environment around him before your home and neighbourhood comes to harm. Effective action will require us working together.”

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