ROSEAU, Dominica -- A United States government-funded climate change project in the Eastern Caribbean helped one community avoid major flooding during last year’s passage of Tropical Storm Erika and also provided Dominican farmers with access to climate-smart technology to increase food and energy security during times of scarcity.
United States ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Linda Taglialatela praised the $9.5 million Rallying the Region to Action Against Climate Change (RRACC) project implemented by the OECS Commission during a close-out ceremony for the Dominica segment of the project. The ceremony was held in the small community of Mero, one of the RRACC project sites.
Taglialatela told the gathering that the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was pleased to have provided approximately $1.3 million in assistance to Dominica to improve its resilience to climate change, helping to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of its citizens.
Reflecting on last year’s passage of Tropical Storm Erika, which resulted in widespread destruction, the ambassador said she was happy to know that Dominica was recovering. She praised the Mero community for its impressive resilience during the disaster. Attributing this in part to the construction completed under the RRACC project, as well as proactive action by community members, Taglialatela said the drainage and seawall improvements not only spared residents from major displacement, but kept most of the town’s main structures intact.
“During the storm, these measures effectively diverted floodwater away from the community and dramatically reduced the scale of flooding,” said Taglialatela. “This project underscores the value of community-driven efforts in reducing vulnerability to the threats posed by climate change.”
The US ambassador also noted that, under the five-year RRACC project, the US government, in partnership with the OECS Commission, strengthened Dominica’s capacity for climate-smart agriculture through investment in a model farm in Londonderry that is demonstrating innovative renewable energy and water conservation methods. Farmers and staff from the agriculture ministry are now able to visit the model farm to witness cutting-edge technologies.
“By working together to develop and implement these climate-smart agricultural practices, we have created a more dependable supply of energy and freshwater that ultimately will help farmers to improve crop yields and ensure food security in Dominica,” Taglialatela said.
Taglialatela pledged the US Government’s continued commitment to improving regional climate change adaptation and urged program participants to share lessons learned with other residents to improve their resilience as well as foster energy and food security in Dominica over the long term.