May 3, 2017: ‘The impacts of climate change affect us in the Region, since we are significant importers of food; and everything that we import – there is a cost to be added based on the factors of climate change’. Words of Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries as he addressed participants at the Opening of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation’s (FAO) Regional Workshop on ‘Opportunities for the Agriculture sector in Caribbean Small Island Developing States’, on Wednesday 3rd May, 2017 – hosted with the intention to raise awareness of the Green Climate Fund in the Caribbean. Drawing attention to the international landscape of the effects of climatic changes, the Agriculture Minister called participants’ attention to the international production of wheat and grain; and the effects of climatic changes on agricultural production in Kansas and California as examples; the competition for water; among others.
In her Opening Remarks, FAO’s Representative Dr. Lystra Fletcher-Paul referenced recent hotter than normal temperatures, noting that ‘the Caribbean needs to invest in developing adaptation strategies, and as small island development states, Caribbean countries will require support to develop and implement these strategies. Many of the potential adaptation strategies for the Caribbean are within the scope of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) mandate. This includes actions for addressing the sustainable use of natural resources, and risk management in agriculture, fisheries and forests sub sectors from a socioeconomic and environmental perspective.’
Explaining to the participants the advantages of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Dr. Fletcher said that this ‘is a new global fund created to respond to climate change by investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development. The GCF is looking for a paradigm shift for climate change work. It, therefore, offers an opportunity to fund innovative and sustainable solutions, which can make significant contributions to address climate change in a timely manner. This workshop, is aimed at raising awareness of the GCF opportunities for the Caribbean.’
The objectives of the two day Workshop are to assist countries that already have potential project concepts; build awareness of agriculture planners about GCF; inform countries about the GCF readiness program; determine the main elements of a regional project; and invite countries to use FAO as their main implementing entity for the GCF.
Exactly one week ago, Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries spoke at the Closing Ceremony of BHP Billiton’s Climate Change Capacity Building Programme, where he stated that ‘wherever you may stand, the reality [of climate change] is evident throughout Trinidad and Tobago and it is something that we have to address’.
Attendees included Mr. Claudelle Mc Kellar, Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago; Anthony Kellman, Barbados; Claus-Martin Eckelmann, Suriname; Conrad George, Italy; Gianluca Gondolini, Haiti; Gillian Smith, Jamaica; Ignacia Holmes, Chile; Patrick Nicolas, Haiti; Reuben Robertson, Guyana; Sharon Lindo, Belize; Cassia Toby, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Deborah Daniel-Williams, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Eric Browne, St. Kitts and Nevis; Harold Guiste, Dominica; Ika Fergus, Antigua; Iwan Samoender, Suriname; Janelle Christian, Guyana; Katherine Blackman, Jamaica; Kemuel Jean Baptiste, St Lucia; Lauren St. Louis, Grenada; Odre Valbrun, Haiti; Owolabi Elabanjo, Antigua; Rohan Dacosta, Jamaica; Sunita Daniel, St Lucia; Thelma Richard, St. Kitts and Nevis; Timothy Drakes, Barbados; Victoriano Pascual, Belize; and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Trinidad and Tobago; CARDI and CANARI.