Friday 18 January, 2019

US donates equipment to help fight climate change in Caribbean

USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Director Chris Cushing (right), Dr Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) (left)

USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Director Chris Cushing (right), Dr Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs) (left)

The United States Government recently handed over an approximately US $2 million Light Detection and Ranging System (LIDAR) and US $500,000 in other equipment, including a state-of-art server, computer workstations, and relevant software to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, known as the 5Cs, based in Belize.

A statement issued by the US Embassy on Friday, notes that the information systems store and process climate-related data and will be used by decision makers and key stakeholders in the Caribbean region to develop more effective responses to natural disasters and extreme weather events.

The initiative is part of the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) three-year Climate Change Adaptation Project (CCAP) implemented in partnership with the 5Cs. Signed in July 2016, the goal of the project is to reduce the risks to human and natural assets resulting from climate vulnerability. The CCAP project includes building a network of all-weather stations and coral reef early warning stations throughout the region.

In handing over the donation, USAID Mission Director for Eastern and Southern Caribbean Christopher Cushing noted that with the LIDAR system, countries in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean would be better equipped to observe conditions and changes on land and in coastal areas before and after natural disasters and, by extension, key decision makers would be better able to identify vulnerabilities and take measures to protect assets.

Cushing highlighted the significant resources leveraged by key stakeholders to support start-up operational costs, including US $1.5 million by the Caribbean Development Bank, US $600,000 by the Government of Italy, and US $700,000 by the 5Cs organization. 

The CCAP is implemented across 10 countries in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean: Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, and Suriname.

The information generated by the project will be used by government policymakers, members of the education fraternity, practitioners in the agriculture, tourism, and health sectors, and other key stakeholders.

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