More than 35 persons from 12 Caribbean countries gathered in St George last week for 3 days of workshop, to identify opportunities for technical and financial support to respond to the impacts of climate change in fisheries, aquaculture and coastal management and to promote Blue Growth.
The workshop, organized by Grenada’s Blue Innovation Institute, Inc (BII) was led and funded by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in collaboration with their Climate Change Adaptation of the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries (CC4FISH) and a partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank. It convened representatives from the Ministries of Fisheries together with the National Designated Authorities of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and formed part of FAO’s efforts to build climate resilience within the fisheries and aquaculture sectors through the provision of technical assistance.
This workshop provided government participants with information on ways to access the Green Climate Fund (GCF), as a primary target to mobilise much needed financial resources to adapt their marine sectors to climate change.
The Caribbean is already feeling the impacts of climate change on fisheries, aquaculture, and coastal areas and projections indicate that risks and vulnerabilities will continue to increase. Some of the challenges presented by climate change require further investment across a range of areas including research, institutional capacity building, policy development and climate investment projects.
Despite their vulnerabilities, several Caribbean countries have been classified by the World Bank as middle and upper income countries and therefore have limited access to concessionary grant funding. The Green Climate Fund, therefore, offers small island developing states and vulnerable countries and an opportunity to access resources through specially designed access programs that allows timely disbursement of funds to support necessary mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop held at the Trinidad Room of the Radisson Conference Centre, FAO’s Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Dr Lystra Fletcher–Paul shared that recognising the impacts that climate change and variability will have on the sector, the FAO is currently working on developing and implementing programs and projects geared towards building resilience of fishers and relevant stakeholders, such as in the climate change adaptation for fisheries projects. The FAO has also implemented activities such as ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries as well as assisting member countries in disaster preparedness.
Also opening the workshop was Grenada’s Ambassador to the United States and the co-founder of Grenada’s Blue Innovation Institute (BII), Dr Angus Friday who reminded workshop participants of the importance of sustainable development of our oceans and “Blue Space” in adapting our fisheries, aquaculture and coastal sector to climate change. Dr Friday noted the significance of the partnership between the FAO and Grenada’s Blue Institute in further developing Grenada’s Blue Economy and Blue Growth Sector.
The Blue Institute was founded in 2017 as a direct outcome of Grenada’s 2016 International Blue Week Conference supported by a unique partnership between the governments of Grenada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands known as the Blue Network. The institute will further work in sustainable ocean management by anchoring innovative approaches in science, research, technology and “Blue” investments in the Caribbean under the framework of the Blue Economy and building much needed regional capacity through partnerships with a range of international public and private sector agencies
As part of the workshop, presentations were made by experts from FAO, the GCF, and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Country Participants exchanged knowledge and information on their own experiences in designing fisheries projects and building their country’s readiness in order to access the GCF. To supplement workshop discussion, attendees also visited 3 key projects in St Andrew which showcased Grenada’s work in climate change adaptation initiatives. These community-driven projects supported by the GrenAdapts Programme under the UNDP/GIZ Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (ICCAS) Projects and The Nature Conservancy’s At Water Edge Initiative included the Seamoss Farming Project in Telescope, the Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) Fishermen’s Ice Box Project the site of a proposed “fishers’ village” in Soubise.
The FAO and Grenada’s Blue Innovation Institute, Inc will continue to partner on research and training initiatives under the scope if FAO’s global Blue Growth Initiative and the Grenada’s Blue Economy development. Although already operational, Grenada’s Blue Innovation Institute, Inc is set to officially launch this year.