Changing with climate
Barbados is placing emphasis on further developing its early warning systems to address climate extremes, as concerns surrounding climate change continue to grow.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Daphne Kellman, explained the country was doing so, as it related to atmospheric and ocean climate, to support economic and social considerations for the island.
She made these comments during the official opening of the second regional workshop on Climate Change Modelling and Adaptation in the Caribbean, and the second annual meeting of the Caribbean Climate Modelling Group, in The Roy Marshall Teaching Complex at the University of the West Indies today.
Among the measures being sought are practical solutions for farmers in watersheds who are experiencing negative impacts related to drought, and those affected by floods.
“It is imperative that we understand drainage and precipitation issues, retain excess rainwater where feasible, and augment supply consistently during drought conditions,” Kellman said.
She added that the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme being implemented by the Coastal Zone Management Unit was designed to develop credible models for coastal erosion, storm surges, inundation and cliff stability for extreme events.
In this regard, the Deputy Permanent Secretary said the country wanted to maximise its participation and benefits in the Global Climate Change Alliance Project of the European Union.
“From Barbados’ perspective, we welcome this initiative as being supportive of our own Climate Change Policy Framework, and complementary to a series of national programmes already under way,” she stated.
At the same conference she explained that climate change was making it even more difficult for CARICOM-member states and Small Island Developing States to achieve sustainable economies.
Among the impacts of climate change outlined, were increasing episodes of bleaching and death of coral reefs, declining crop yields, decreased water availability, stronger tropical storms or cyclones and increased erosion and flooding associated with sea level rise.
“The impacts of a changing climate are extremely cross-cutting, and affect major economic and social sectors such as public health, food security, and the provision of energy and disaster management services,” Kellman pointed out.
However, she stressed that a regional approach to addressing climate change was one of the critical factors needed to build resilient and sustainable Caribbean societies.
As a result, Kellman added, the Barbados Government regarded the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre as a key institution to attend to the important role of harmonising the response of the CARICOM Community to the climate change challenge.