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Earth Today | Project looks to make nature work for islands

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor

THE NATURE Conservancy, together with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is looking to make nature work for islands, in the race to stave off the ill effects of climate change.

To make it happen, they will launch the four-year 'Resilient Islands Initiative' at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston today.

"Resilient Islands is to protect islands against the impacts of climate change by promoting the use of coastal habitats to reduce risks and by helping governments, partners and communities implement sustainable development plans that prioritise nature," revealed a project fact sheet.

"The nature Conservancy and IFRC will work with communities and agencies to design innovative tools, train leaders and implement demonstration projects within vulnerable coastal communities in the Dominican Republic, Grenada and Jamaica," it added.




Specific project outcomes include:

- Awareness raising through the development of ecosystem-based adaptation ambassadors and the training of 15-45 leaders in each country to advance nature-based solutions within their communities;

- An adaptation toolkit to synthesise data and promote better decision-making around disaster risk management and climate adaptation; and

- the Implementation of demonstration projects in one to three vulnerable communities in each participating island, with the goal to have them serve as regional models that demonstrate the importance of natural resources and their ability to enhance food security, economic development and physical protection against flooding and other climate-related risks.




Supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the project is also to see the creation of a Resilient Caribbean Coalition that puts stakeholders in touch with knowledge platforms and financial opportunities to scale-up projects and integrate ecosystem-based adaptation into policy.

"The use of biodiversity and coastal ecosystems to help people adapt to climate change is an urgent priority that must be embedded into national and regional tools, policy and planning," said Eddy Silva, project manager from TNC, in a release to the media.

"Including nature-based solutions into risk-reduction strategies in three countries will significantly broaden evidence on the effectiveness of nature to enhance human well-being and build climate resilience," she added.

The project comes at a time when vital resources, such as coral reefs and mangroves, are gaining recognition as being worthy of investment, even as they remain under threat due to human action. This is even as there is added urgency to respond decisively to climate change, given last year's experience of extreme hurricanes, which devastated a number of islands.