Govt must face up to threat
There is a lack of eagerness or enthusiasm among Government ministries here to integrate climate change into national development plans, a recent study has found.
The Barbados Diagnostics Mission revealed that while there have been a number of projects that mitigate against climate change, ministry officials were not keen to embrace it as part of the national ethos.
In presenting the findings during the Green Climate Fund national sensitization workshop at the Central Bank yesterday, climate change adaptation consultant with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Narenda Maurice-George noted that climate change financing was also not included in the national budget “despite being referenced in and among
“It is done if it has a particular impact on a project directly, but it is not the main ethos which drives the work of the ministries,” she said of inclusion of climate change programmes by the ministries.
Maurice-George pointed out that climate change vulnerability analysis was not part of the public sector investment programme. And she said while there were some risk assessment tools that could be utilized, and despite training of people to use these tools “ it has still not been mainstreamed”.
“There seems to be high levels of private sector involvement in energy and despite that there is still a low level of appreciation of vulnerability to climate change and adaptation response in the country. Although there is a high level of awareness of climate change there is a low understanding of what it means for the everyday man, what the bottom line is, how does it impact me?” she stated.
The CDB consultant admitted that Barbados has had a history of climate change programmes as well as adaptation projects, particularly in relation to energy, but these projects and programmes were not done with the initial intention of responding to climate change.
“We were at the time responding to things that impacted us whether it was economically,” she explained.
She made reference to the work that Government has done in coastal zone management, making the coast more responsive to climate vulnerability and change. But she contended that the intent was to address “something that was impacting the tourism sector”.
This notwithstanding, she said, there was a lot happening on which the country can build.
“Barbados has been a champion in the region in relation to solar water heating. To date a lot of work has been done in PV [photovoltaic] installations [and] we have LED [light-emitting diodes] being promoted. So there has been a track record on what we would call the climate change mitigation side of things and we can continue to build on that,” encouraged Maurice-George.
She said Barbados was in a good position to access funding from the recently established Climate Change Fund, but warned that the process would be lengthy. (MM)