B'dos on track

Delegates at the UNFCCC expert meeting at Hilton Barbados.

Barbados’ efforts at climate change adaptation can serve the country well in accessing funding for such projects going forward.

This assessment by Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christina Figueres, was based she said on the fact that the island has clear evidence that it has been following changes in climate, precipitation, wind, currents for the past 30 or 40 years.

“What is very unique in Barbados is that there has been such a conscious effort throughout a 30- to 40-year period to put together the data on the hydrological cycle. So you have data here on the prevailing winds, on currents, on precipitation that is actually quite unique to other islands and it is precisely that data set that allows Barbados to apply that data and make the infrastructure changes that need to be made but that are based on the data that you have projected into the future.

“So it is quite impressive position to have access to that data. Honestly, most island states have not had the vision that Barbados has had to be aware enough of these things to have the data sets that can lead to the very effective measures that Barbados has been able to employ,” said the climate change official.

She was addressing media this morning following the opening of the UNFCCC’s expert meeting to look at approaches to address loss and damage associated with adverse effects of climate change.

Both in her address to the delegates at the opening, and later during the press briefing, Figueres expressed the view that extreme weather events and hazards associated with climate change were intensifying and becoming more frequent, which had impact for small island developing states.

It was the first time, he maintained that countries around the world were facing such intense challenges, so therefore there was no “historical toolbox” to fall back on for solutions. The answers, she maintained, had to be derived by countries coming together and working towards that common goal, and the next DOHA discussions was the platform that countries at this meeting were working towards.

It would call for innovative thinking on ways to face the effects of the future, she noted.

Barbados though, she said, had proven to be a leader among states in how it was tackling it’s own adaptation efforts to compact the effects of climate change.

She said however, that the island was considered privileged when compared to other states because of the level of welfare here, compared to some of the others.

“There is however a catch 22 here; Barbados being a middle income country no longer has access to the traditional sources of financing that for example least developed countries have access to because Barbados has already graduated out of that type of financial and technical assistance. That is actually a disadvantage for Barbados.”

On the other hand, Figueres said it however put Barbados in a new bracket for funding sources with other multilateral banks as well. It was important, she noted, not to lament the fact that it no longer had access to some sources because of the country’s development, but rather to identify the opportunities presented because of the kind of economy Barbados has. (LB)

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