The Government of Montserrat, Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment, Department of Environment recently updated its draft National Climate Change Policy to ensure that it was more focused to address the adaptation priorities in Montserrat and developed a draft Action Plan to operationalise the Policy through identifying specific actions that can realistically be undertaken given the resource constraints facing Montserrat.  The process was conducted under the “Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project in the Eastern Caribbean” project managed by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on behalf of participating members.  This is supported by the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance (EU GCCA).

CANARI was contracted to facilitate the process as part of its technical assistance work under its Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction programme.  This was done over the period April through July, 2015 and involved conducting a desk study and facilitating two national consultations and interviews with stakeholders in Montserrat to inform drafting of the documents.  Key regional technical agencies also provided input on the final draft.  The final draft Policy and Action Plan was presented to the Government of Montserrat for consideration.

For more information please contact:

  • Mr Gerard Gray, Director, Department of Environment, Montserrat grayg@gov.ms
  • Mr Chamberlain Emmanuel, Project Technical Team Leader, Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project in the Eastern Caribbean, OECS Commission cemmanuel@oecs.org

Highlights

  • Stakeholders in Montserrat felt that climate change should be mainstreamed across all sectors, with coordinated and integrated actions for both adaptation and mitigation. Priority adaptation areas identified were: food security and nutrition, natural resources and ecosystems, energy security, water security and management, sustainable physical development, human health and well-being and sustainable tourism.  Priority areas for mitigation identified were: energy efficiency and renewable energy and carbon sinks.  Cross-cutting strategies identified were: economic planning and management, disaster risk reduction and management, research and knowledge management, capacity development, communication and awareness and inter-sectoral coordination.

Key results, findings and lessons

  • Mainstream climate change response. Climate change considerations should be specifically incorporated at all levels of development planning and programming across sectors. Climate change should be prioritised as a developmental issue thereby necessitating a combined and harmonised national response.
  • Build technical capacity. Developing effective and appropriate climate change action will require an understanding of the potential impacts of climate change as well as the emerging developments in best practices to prepare for and respond to these impacts. Scientific understanding is constantly changing, and technologies and research on how systems are likely to react to climate change are regularly updated. Climate change response will require robust mechanisms to create, collect and manage information, and to adapt management systems as this understanding improves. Re-tooling individuals, institutions and processes will be required to support this.
  • Emphasise stakeholder engagement. Climate change necessitates a response at the national as well as the individual level. Sensitisation of stakeholders to the effects of climate change is a foundational step in strengthening their ability to respond and prepare for short-term and immediate effects (such as natural disasters) as well as long-term (such as sea level rise and temperature increases). As the impacts of climate change are wide-ranging, affecting sectors in unique and complex ways, all stakeholders must be effectively integrated into decision-making processes to ensure their participation in highlighting concerns and developing solutions.

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  • Establish mechanism to coordinate climate change response. The implementation of climate change policies will require action from all sectors and levels of society. A central multi-stakeholder institution with high-level government support and a mandate to oversee and coordinate actions is a useful mechanism.
  • Prioritise funding for climate change action. While the potential costs of climate change response will be high, the economic, social and environmental costs of climate change impacts are expected to be even more significant where no preparatory action is taken. National funds should be mobilised to integrate climate change objectives into fiscal planning processes. Innovative financial mechanisms should be established to encourage private sector investment in climate change initiatives, and access to international climate funding should be strengthened. A National Climate Change Fund may be considered, to provide a central institution to collect and disburse funds for climate change activities.
  • Monitor and evaluate progress. Monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and review should be integral parts of the policy implementation and management process in order to ensure that the provisions of national climate change policies remain relevant to current and emerging needs, that lessons gained from experience are applied, that changes are made whenever necessary, and that there is full transparency and accountability in the overall process.

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