ROAD TOWN, BVI -- The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the government of the British Virgin Islands launched the new Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project on climate change adaptation and sustainable land management in the BVI on Monday in Road Town, Tortola.
The project, which is supported by the European Union to the tune of 10.6 million Euros, targets the nine OECS member states and is geared at improving the region’s natural resource base resilience to the impacts of climate change through; effective and sustainable land management policy, capacity, awareness, and practices; and implementation of specific physical adaptation measures, including soil and land stabilisation, river and sea defence, forest and ecosystem restoration.
Permanent secretary within the ministry of natural resources and labour, Ronald Smith-Berkeley said that the issue of climate change was a significant problem that needed to be addressed urgently by Caribbean countries.
“We need to stop seeing the problems associated with the effects of climate change as just an environmental issue, but also as a developmental issue. Climate change is forecasted to touch several aspects of our day-to-day living,” he said.
He added, “I am glad that we have opted to join with the rest of the OTs [Overseas Territories] and come up with solutions, as well as learn from each other’s mistakes and strengths to ultimately better sustain and support our individual territories.”
Project technical team leader of the GCCA project on climate change adaptation and sustainable land management in the Eastern Caribbean, Chamberlain Emmanuel, said that there were several expected benefits for the launching of the GCCA.
“Expected benefits include; lowered risk of loss of life and property from the impacts of hazards and disasters; greater food security and improved soil and water conservation; greater public understanding of climate change and land degradation issues and support for sustainable land management practices; strengthened legal, institutional and policy framework to support sustainable land management; and specific physical adaptation interventions, including slope stabilisation, drainage improvement, river and sea defence, soil stabilisation works, reforestation and agro-forestry interventions, rain-water harvesting, eco-engineering, etc,” he said.
He added, “The level of benefits and success for each member state will be directly contingent upon demonstrated readiness and responsiveness, through its national committee… we look forward to working with your committee to maximise benefits from this initiative for the government and people of the British Virgin Islands.”
The project launch was followed by a meeting of national committee for the implementation of the project’s activities.