The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is implementing the Reduce Risks to Human & Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) Project, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Under this project, CANARI was contracted to facilitate a workshop to increase the knowledge of key tourism and fisheries stakeholders of climate change impacts on their sectors and best practices for building resilience at the sectoral, organisational and community levels.  The workshop was held in July 2015 in St. Vincent for government fisheries officers, fisherfolk organisations, tourism representatives from the public and private sector and non-governmental organisations from across the Eastern Caribbean.

Workshop presentations, discussion and small group work were complemented by a practical field exercise to do a participatory vulnerability assessment of the impacts of climate change on Calliaqua on the southwest coast of St. Vincent.

For more information please contact:

  • Norma Cherry-Fevrier, Reduce Risks to Human & Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) Project, OECS Commission [email protected]

Highlights

  • The workshop raised awareness of participants about the impacts of climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems and the effects on tourism and fisheries sectors, which are highly dependent on the goods and services from natural ecosystems.
  • Participants were introduced to best practices in using an Ecosystem based Approach (EbA) to resilience building for: awareness raising and participatory abundance and vulnerability assessments; participatory policy development and planning; participatory governance arrangements and building the capacity of stakeholder organisations to effectively engage; community-based approaches and joint actions at the local level; and ‘climate proofing’ tourism and fisheries businesses.
  • Participants conducted a rapid climate change vulnerability assessment which found that sea level rise and storm surges will impact on coastal infrastructure and heavy rainfall events will increase flooding in Calliaqua. Adaptation can include restoring the watershed and conserving coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves.

 Key results, findings and lessons

  •  Climate change impacts on the Eastern Caribbean are projected to be: increased air temperatures and warming of the sea surface; sea level rise; ocean acidification; increased drought periods; and stronger storms with high winds, heavy rainfall and stronger storm surges. These will affect the natural ecosystems (e.g. coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass, beaches, forests and rivers), attractions and infrastructure upon which the tourism and fisheries sectors depend.
  • Climate change will have serious deleterious effects on the tourism and fisheries sectors. For example, both will be affected by damage to coastal ecosystems and infrastructure.  These sectors should therefore collaborate on building resilience.
  • Adaptation strategies include doing vulnerability assessments, raising awareness, building capacity, strengthening policy and plans and taking practical action ‘on the ground.’
  • Adaptation actions can be via engineering or ‘hard’ solutions (e.g. building sea walls) or ecosystem-based ‘soft’ solutions (e.g. restoring or protecting mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass beds for coastal protection). Cost-benefit analyses and other criteria should be used in selecting the best mix of solutions to build resilience to climate change.
  • Assessing institutional readiness for adaptation to climate change should be done at the national and sectoral levels. CANARI has piloted this using the ARIA tool in Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.  Key to building strong institutions is strengthening communication and collaboration across sectors and engaging civil society and community stakeholders in governance.

 Recent news and blogs

  • Facebook post on threats to tourism assets identified through the vulnerability assessment in Calliaqua.
  • Facebook post on poem written by participants on findings of the vulnerability assessment in Calliaqua “Calliaqua: A tale of life between two rivers.”
  • Facebook post of participants in the workshop.

Publications