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High praise for Panos’ climate change webinar

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Dr Mariama Williams

PANOS CARIBBEAN recently brought climate change response actors together in a webinar on the topic 'The Caribbean and Climate Change Adaptation in the Context of the Paris Agreement'.

The June 28 webinar, which follows the historic Earth Day signing of the new international climate deal by 174 countries in New York, has been lauded by participants who are eager for the next discussion.

"The webinar presentations were clear, accessible and thoughtful. The webinar was quite instructive for both newcomers as well as people with some experience on the issues," said economist Dr Mariama Williams of the South Centre, Switzerland.

"It was good to dig so much deeper into the Caribbean realities of climate change. Looking forward to explore further over time and to the next [webinar]," she added.

Presenters included Dr Orville Grey of the Climate Change Division of Jamaica's Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

He walked the 17 participants - drawn from in and outside of the region and diverse sector backgrounds, including gender - through the island's current adaptation efforts.

The Third National Communication and First Biennial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is among those efforts. It includes a national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as vulnerability and adaptation assessments through case studies in communities at greatest risk of climate impacts.

There is, too, the Jamaica Adaptation Fund project, together with a suite of investment, capacity-building and knowledge management initiatives under the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience.

HELPFUL AND INFORMATIVE

"I found it quite helpful and informative in terms of having a better understanding of the strength of adaptation versus mitigation. I think especially Orville's presentation, I was extremely drawn to it. It was very comprehensible," said Joan Grant Cummings, volunteer climate change educator at Jamaica's Women's Resource and Outreach Centre.

Hopeton Peterson of the Environmental Sustainability Unit in the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Barbados, and Carlos Fuller, international and regional liaison officer with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs), Belize, also presented.

Peterson gave a rundown of the CDB's work on financing climate resilience in the region, while Fuller detailed the 5Cs' own efforts - from the days of the Caribbean Planning for Climate Adaptation to Climate Change project in 1997 to the Special Programme on Adaptation to Climate Change in 2011 and other efforts since then.

"It was good hearing what they are up to right now. I am really hoping that this is something that happens at least every three months, max because the information and the issues are developing so fast that we really can't afford to fall behind," Grant Cummings noted.

The webinar was hosted under Panos' Adaptation Fund NGO Network Project, with funding from its partner Germanwatch.

"This webinar, more than anything else, was about sharing and learning at the regional level. Too often, there are community, and national-level discussions on climate change happening without any regional context. Panos, through this first webinar on climate change adaptation, is helping to address this deficiency," said Petre Williams-Raynor, country director for Panos, Jamaica.

"Events like these help to foster collaboration and build strength in numbers, which is an important asset when it comes to negotiations around climate financing for adaptation and who should pay," she added.

"So we have heard the participants and we will endeavour to convene more discussions like this in the virtual space, which is not only useful but also convenient and inclusive," Williams-Raynor added.