Saturday, May 28, 2011

Official urges quick adoption of global agreement on climate change

Samoa - The science adviser to the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS), Dr. Albert Binger, is urging countries to quickly adopt a global

agreement which will spare small island states the agony of having to deal with the effects of more intense hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Dr Binger, who is on secondment from the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that while discussions are taking place on climate change, many are unaware of the urgency of the situation.

“Essentially we have five years to set a global agreement to keep the emissions to where we see we can survive.

“It seems like in all the talk people don’t seem to recognise the urgency involved in the situation. There are 2,000 days or five years to actually get an implementation to meet a window to keep the temperature below 1.5 degrees.

“If it goes above 1.5 degrees a lot of countries especially those in the Caribbean and Pacific will be in serious trouble,” he warned. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Mangroves of France overseas

The Conservatoire du littoral, an IUCN member, has carried out an inventory of the mangroves in France overseas. For the first time it presents

the extent and distribution of these ecosystems associated with coral reefs between the eight regions located in the Caribbean, Amazon, Indian Ocean and the Pacific

The mangroves are ecologically, culturally and economically very important. They provide indispensable fish nurseries, filter coastal pollution and provide wood for local populations. They also play an important role in protecting the coasts from tropical storms and tsunamis.

The report entitled Les Mangroves de l’outre-mer français : Écosystèmes associés aux récifs coralliens (Mangroves of France overseas: Ecosystems associated with coral reefs) includes an analysis on recent evolution, biogeographical distribution, biodiversity and role of mangroves. It also identifies various threats such as natural pressures, climate change and anthropogenic pressures, and provides an overview of safeguards that are currently in place.

The analysis includes Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean, French Guiana in the Amazon region, Mayotte and Scattered Islands in Indian Ocean, and New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna in the Pacific.

The report was prepared upon the request of IFRECOR, the French Initiative for Coral Reefs. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Friday, May 27, 2011

Intra-regional cooperation crucial for energy security

Tehran - Major fossil fuel exporting and importing Asia-Pacific nations, meeting at a United Nations forum, agreed on the need for enhanced

cooperation to promote energy self-reliance in the region.

High food and oil prices threaten economic recovery and prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region, a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC) said here on Wednesday.

Priority must be given to improving physical connectivity and building institutional linkages between the energy-surplus and energy-deficit countries, government leaders and Asia-Pacific economic bodies told a high-level forum on regional energy security cooperation held during this week's 67th annual Session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Representatives of Central, South, Southeast and East Asian, and the Pacific subregional cooperation blocs emphasized the importance of energy security for social and economic development in the region which is a net importer of primary energy.

For Kazakhstan, a major energy exporter, ensuring stability of supplies to consumers is a high priority. The country is trying to diversify its export routes to reassure importers, H.E. Timur Suleimenov, Vice-Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Kazakhstan told the meeting.

Pacific island countries, which depend heavily on oil imports, have agreed on a regional energy security framework focusing on fuel diversification to include non-fossil and renewable energy sources, coordinated imports through bulk procurement, price monitoring and harmonizing fuel standards, said Feleti Teo, Deputy Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). Pacific island countries are also working with ESCAP on technology transfers from Asia to bring in appropriate low-carbon energy know-how to the subregion. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Island Nations May Keep Some Sovereignty if Rising Seas Make Them Uninhabitable

NEW YORK — Global sea level rise has put a handful of nations at risk of extinction — small island states in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

But this week, a collection of international lawyers and politicians have begun work to ensure that doesn’t happen.

They can’t prevent what many scientists see as the physical inevitability: a rise in ocean levels of 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet) by 2100, even if all greenhouse gas emitting into the atmosphere were to cease tomorrow. Rather, they are exploring ways to use existing formal and informal rules that would allow many nations to continue as legal entities entitled to ocean fishing and mineral exploration rights, even if their entire populations were forced to relocate elsewhere.

The tiny nations of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati and more are among those at most risk in the Pacific. These atoll nations are among the lowest-lying in the world, and should their archipelagos not completely submerge, it’s likely that rising sea levels and extreme saltwater flooding will permanently damage freshwater supplies and destroy agriculture, making them uninhabitable. The Maldives and Seychelles in the Indian Ocean face the same risks.

But at a three-day discussion on their legal options at Columbia University, wrapping up today, scholars are pointing out ways that these states can still maintain an identity and international legal authority, even as they lose all their habitable territory. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

UNDP Launches Guidebook on Catalyzing Climate Finance

19 May 2011: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a publication titled "Catalyzing Climate Finance – A Guidebook on Policy

and Financing Options to Support Green, Low-emission, Climate-resilient Development," which aims to enable countries to better assess the level and nature of assistance they will require to catalyze climate capital based on their national, regional and local circumstances.

The Guidebook, authored by Yannick Glemarec, UNDP Director for Environmental Finance, was launched on 19 May 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The launch event included a presentation of UNDP’s approach to enhance the capacity of developing countries to formulate, finance and implement sustainable and inclusive development strategies, followed by a presentation of the main findings of the publication. The Guidebook indicates that developing countries will face three key climate finance challenges, namely: accessing new and innovative sources of climate finance; promoting synergies between development and climate finance; and using and delivering limited sources of public finance to catalyze climate capital. It notes that developing countries will require technical assistance to address these challenges, mitigate climate change impacts, and seize new opportunities associated with the transition to a low-emission climate-resilient society.

The publication is part of a series of manuals, guidebooks and toolkits to formulate green, low-emission and climate-resilient development strategies. This series of documents draws on the experience and information generated by UNDP’s support for climate change adaptation and mitigation projects in about 140 countries over the past decade. [Publication: Catalyzing Climate Finance – A Guidebook on Policy and Financing Options to Support Green, Low-emission, Climate-resilient Development] More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Caribbean shares lessons learned in climate change and disaster risk reduction

Port of Spain, May 20, 2011 – A delegation of climate change experts and policymakers from throughout the Caribbean region are in Samoa from 23 to 26 May to participate in a climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction conference.

The aim of the conference is to share experiences and lessons learned in relation to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction among Small Island Developing States from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean, drawing in experiences from Australia and elsewhere.

The Conference is co-hosted by Australia and the South Pacific Regional Environment Program and is funded by the Australian Government, through the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Australian Agency for International Development.

“Here is an example of how shared knowledge and experience in climate change adaptation and disaster risk mitigation will benefit peoples and communities from across very distant hemispheres. We anticipate that the linkages made in Samoa this week will facilitate future collaboration among regions in dealing with these challenges that face communities everywhere,” says Australian High Commissioner, Philip Kentwell.

Experts from the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the Belize Red Cross are amongst a diverse line-up of presenters for the Conference. Topics under discussion include: information and awareness raising; national planning and policy frameworks; community-based response to climate change and disaster risk reduction and strategies and on-ground options.

The Conference will enable policymakers and experts from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean to identify good practice, innovative solutions and priorities for future activities covering a range of sectors, including coastal management, water and food security, health, tourism and infrastructure. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Friday, May 20, 2011

Caribbean islands fear climate change threat to tourism

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AlertNet) - Regina Dumas, who runs the Coffee River Resort on the cigar-shaped Caribbean island of Tobago, worries that local tourism is suffering from increasingly uncertain weather.

“Last year’s dry season was excessively dry, and this year we’ve had excessive rain,” she says. “When people spend their money to come to the island, they’re disappointed with the erratic weather we’ve been experiencing. It’s just unpredictable.”

The resort offers nature trails, bird watching, a diverse range of flora and fauna, and trips to the rain forest - the oldest in the Western hemisphere.

“We don’t know what to tell our guests when they can’t go out to the trails because of the unseasonable rains or because of intense heat,” Dumas frets.

Tobago, the smaller sister island of industrialised Trinidad, promotes itself as an eco-tourism destination, attracting visitors from around the world to its rainforests, wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs, which host a colourful array of birds and fish.

Orville London, chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, which administers the island, agrees that the local climate appears to be shifting, bringing larger storms. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Climate change and the challenges facing small states

THIRTY-TWO of the Commonwealth's 53 member countries are small states, defined as countries with populations of less than 1.5 million people.

They range in size from micro-states, such as St Kitts and Nevis in the Eastern Caribbean with less than 50,000 people and Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique of the Lesser Antilles in the Windward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean with a population of 110,000 inhabitants, to countries like Botswana and Gambia in Africa.
These countries, without exception, are characterised by their extreme vulnerability in the areas of security, environmental disasters, limited human resources and a lack of adequate economic capital.

Despite the threat to the survival of these human-scale societies posed by unstable currencies, military-civil wars, poverty, HIV/AIDS, etc, climate change remains the single most important threat yet facing their prospects for economic development, peace and security and territorial existence.
What is more, the catastrophic impact of severe weather related to the rise in sea temperature, which is closely correlated with the increasing ferocity of hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons, which are appearing in unusual latitudes, is also associated with climate change. In other words, climate change holds no respect for any country in the global village. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Bahamas joins regional effort to conserve marine resources

TRINIDAD - Non-government organisations (NGOs) have formed alliances with the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries to protect and sustain marine resources throughout the region.

In a workshop held in Port of Spain, Trinidad, yesterday, the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project (CLME) with financial support of Global Environmental Facility (GEF) explained to representatives of the media from across the region their vision to assist the wider Caribbean in "improving the management of shared living marine resources."
The Bahamas is one of 23 countries participating in the project that began in May 2009 and aims to develop intervention programmes, including fishery reforms, conservation and contamination control measures and other sustainable measures to protect marine resources on a long-term basis.
The three main areas of focus are the continental shelf, coral reefs and the offshore pelagic environment.
CLME has been conducting pilot projects and case studies to collect information and experiences in the field that will assist in developing a core body of knowledge that will feed the development process of Caribbean LMS and a Strategic Action Programme (SAP). More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hope and caution over worlds water woes

Despite some progress, 1.1 billion people worldwide still lack access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion have no access to basic sanitation.

The world's water crisis was brought into sharp focus this spring in Washington, D.C., at a variety of forums that kicked off with World Water Day on March 22.

"The water crisis is a health crisis, it's a farming crisis, it's an economic crisis, it's a climate crisis, and increasingly, it is a political crisis. And therefore, we must have an equally comprehensive response," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the "Water for the Future" event at the World Bank Headquarters, where she signed a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. government and World Bank to collaborate on water-related areas.

A few weeks later on April 15, the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., and Rotary Club Paris Academies hosted a "Water is Life: International Summit on Water in Developing Countries 2011" to discuss meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) intended to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

"As we are generating new water sources at a very rapid rate around the globe. At the same time we're failing miserably as far as sanitation is concerned," said Samuel Lee Hancock, president and executive director of the nonprofit group EmeraldPlant. "It's hard to imagine that people are actually out drinking mud in order to survive in many countries."

Indeed, the reality of water scarcity isn't a pretty picture, and has more far-reaching effects than most people realize. More than 5,000 people die each day from causes linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene - the majority of whom are children. The World Health Organization estimates that diarrhea alone causes 1.5 million deaths per year. More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SOCMON) are pleased to announce the availability of a new tool for

assessing social vulnerability to climate change. The new guidelines, "Indicators to assess community-level social vulnerability to climate change" are now available for download at

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

LOICZ Open Science Conference on 'Coastal Systems, Global Change and Sustainabilty'

Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Open Science Conference on 'Coastal Systems, Global Change and Sustainability'

Conference Venue:        Yantai, China
Date:                        12 - 15 September, 2011
Conference website:

Preliminary Draft Session Program:

The Deadline for Abstract Submissions has been extended: 31 May, 2011 ! ! !

Monday, May 16, 2011

Seaports need a plan for weathering climate change, Stanford researchers say

The majority of seaports around the world are unprepared for the potentially damaging impacts of climate change in the coming century, according to a

new Stanford University study.

In a survey posed to port authorities around the world, the Stanford team found that most officials are unsure how best to protect their facilities from rising sea levels and more frequent Katrina-magnitude storms, which scientists say could be a consequence of global warming. Results from the survey are published in the journal Climatic Change.

"Part of the problem is that science says that by 2100, we'll experience anywhere from 1.5 to 6 feet of sea level rise," said the study's lead author, Austin Becker, a graduate student at Stanford. "That's a huge range."

Port authorities, like many government agencies and private companies, have to make tough financial decisions when it comes to funding infrastructure, he said. They need accurate information from scientists about what to expect, so that they can plan accordingly. Building a structure to withstand a 6-foot sea level rise would cost much more than trying to accommodate a 1.5-foot rise, said Becker, a doctoral candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford.

In 2009, Becker distributed 160 surveys to members of the International Association of Ports and Harbors and the American Association of Port Authorities – the first worldwide survey of port authorities to address climate change adaptation. A total of 93 agencies representing major seaports on every continent, except Antarctica, responded. The majority of respondents ranked sea level rise and increased storm events associated with climate change high on their list of concerns. However, only 6 percent said that they intend to build hurricane barriers within the next 10 years, and fewer than 18 percent had plans to build dikes or other storm protection structures.
More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mining to blame for islands to sink beneath waves

Two small islands in South Asia's first marine biosphere reserve have sunk into the sea primarily as a result of coral reef mining, experts say.

The islets were in a group in the Gulf of Mannar, between India and Sri Lanka.

The Indo-Pacific region is considered to contain some of the world's richest marine biological resources.

The group's 21 islands and islets are protected as part of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, covering an area of nearly 560 sq km (216 sq miles).
More >>>

Location:George Town, Cayman Islands

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

UNDP, SPREP and SPC Hold Pacific Workshop on Climate Change Impacts in Agriculture

2 May 2011: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre, in collaboration with the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme

(SPREP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), and with support from the Nadi Meteorology Service, is hosting a three-week workshop, from 2-20 May 2011, in Nadi, Fiji, on Assessment of Climate Change Impacts in Agriculture for agricultural and meteorological experts.

Workshop participants will address, inter alia, climate change scenarios and modeling, climate change impact assessments, weather and climate forecasts for agriculture and the models that determine crop production based on climate change. The workshop aims to build the capacity of experts to better support the farming community through the dissemination of weather changing patterns and climate information for better planning their planting season and for protecting them from weather-related losses.

The workshop is organized under the UNDP’s Project on ‘South-South Cooperation between Pacific and Caribbean Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management.' The project is funded by UNDP’s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation and the UNDP-Japan Partnership Fund, with support from UNDP Pacific Centre. Participants are from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, as well as representatives from East Timor and the Maldives. [UNDP Pacific Centre Press Release] More >>>

Location:George Town, Cayman Islands

Climate change conference will feature small islands

A celebrated US law school will this month host an academic conference tackling the legal options for Island nations threatened by climate change.

The Center for Climate Change at Columbia Law School announced that it would host a conference titled “Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of Rising Seas and a Changing Climate,” discussing the ramifications of islands nations, like Bermuda, being submerged by rising sea levels.

Along with discussing long term strategies that could prevent such a catastrophe, the conference is intended to tackle difficult legal questions, such as if larger countries have an obligation to take in displaced people, or if a nation can maintain statehood and sovereignty without a physical nation.

Marshall Islands President, Jureland Zedkaia, and Foreign Affairs Minister, John Silk, are both scheduled to take part in the conference, along with dozens of government officials, diplomats, lawyers, academics and scientists.

The conference will take place May 23 to 25 at Columbia Law School in New York, and will be webcast live on Twitter. More >>>

Useful website:

Location:George Town, Cayman Islands

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Caribbean Community’s Climate Update Focuses on Green Climate Fund

5 May 2011: The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has published the seventh issue of its Weekly News Update on Climate Change, featuring international and regional news on climate change-related issues.

The newsletter reports on the first meeting of the Transitional Committee for the design of the Green Climate Fund, which took place from 28-29 April 2011, in Mexico City, Mexico. It highlights the statement by Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, in which she stressed the need for the new Green Climate Fund to spur private investment in poorer countries, underlining the importance of private sector investment in ensuring a low carbon future for such countries.

Also on international news, the Weekly Update reports on the statement by the incoming chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Marlene Moses, the UN Ambassador of Nauru, in which she qualified sea level rise as the “most terrifying” impact of climate change, particularly for low-lying atolls like the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu. She also called for a leader to emerge from the developed world to address the climate crisis, stating that this “leadership crisis” is holding up the multilateral process. The issue also highlights statements by the US and EU envoys that a legally-binding agreement on climate change would not be reached at the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011.

Regional news contained in the update include: a workshop on climate change research data held in Belize from 27-29 April 2011; and an upcoming regional climate workshop for Latin America and the Caribbean to be hosted by the Adaptation Fund Board in 2011. [Publication: CCCCC 7th Climate News Update]

Location:George Town, Cayman Islands

Monday, May 9, 2011

Record Arctic warming to boost sea level rise

OSLO — Record warming in the Arctic over the past six years will substantially contribute to a global sea level rise of up to 1.6 meters by

2100, according to a study published in Oslo Tuesday.

"Surface air temperatures in the Arctic since 2005 have been higher than for any five-year period since measurements began around 1880," the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) said.
"In the future, global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9 to 1.6 meters (2.95 to 5.25 feet) by 2100 and the loss of ice from Arctic glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland Ice Sheet will make a substantial contribution to this," the authors of the study said, stressing, however "that high uncertainty surrounds estimates of future global sea level." More >>>

Location:George Town,Cayman Islands

Friday, May 6, 2011

Tidal Gate Across San Francisco Bay Proposed to Manage Sea Level Rise

A large dam, gate or lock to manage tidal flows could help locals cope with anticipated sea level rise from climate change.

SAN FRANCISCO -- A giant tidal barrier stretched across the Golden Gate is among the adaptation remedies proposed by a Bay area nonprofit to cope with anticipated sea level rise caused by climate change over the coming century.

The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association mentioned the idea this week as part of an extensive analysis of how global warming might affect the City by the Bay, which is thought to be highly susceptible to flooding and other dangers in the decades ahead. More >>>

Thursday, May 5, 2011

IISD launch of a new version of the website for Latin America and Caribbean

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Reporting Services is pleased to announce the launch of a new version of the website

for our Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage Programme (LARC). More interactive, visually pleasant and user-friendly, the new LARC site layout will facilitate your navigation around the website and help you find information that is most relevant to you.

The new LARC site features news articles researched and produced by our team of thematic experts, resulting in all original content.

Features of the new LARC site include:

A knowledgebase of summaries of activities (publications, meetings, statement or projects) by a range of actors, with the option to search these summaries by several categories (subregion, actor, action and issue);
An archive of all posts on the site, organized by date posted;
A clickable map of the region, enabling you to view sustainable development policy news by subregion (Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, South America);
A link to subscribe to LARC-L, a moderated community announcement listserve for policy-makers and practitioners involved in sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean;
A link to the most recent Latin America & Caribbean Regional Update, a periodic feed of recent posts to the LARC Regional Coverage knowledgebase;
A Calendar of upcoming international events related to sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean;
A link to our LARC iCalendar, which automatically updates your own calendar program with upcoming events related to sustainable development in LAC; and
A link to our RSS feed.
We invite you to visit the new LARC site at

Generous start-up funding for LARC has been provided by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

For further information on LARC or to provide us with information about your activity related to sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, please contact Keith Ripley, LARC Manager, at

The Latin America & Caribbean Regional Coverage Team
IISD Reporting Services

More >>>

Location:Cayman Islands

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Seas could rise up to 1.6 meters by 2100: study

May 3 2011 - Quickening climate change in the Arctic including a thaw of Greenland's ice could raise world sea levels by up to 1.6 meters by 2100, an international report showed on Tuesday. 

Such a rise -- above most past scientific estimates -- would add to threats to coasts from Bangladesh to Florida, low-lying Pacific islands and cities from London to Shanghai. It would also, for instance, raise costs of building tsunami barriers in Japan.

"The past six years (until 2010) have been the warmest period ever recorded in the Arctic," according to the Oslo-based Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), which is backed by the eight-nation Arctic Council.

"In the future, global sea level is projected to rise by 0.9 meters (2ft 11in) to 1.6 meters (5ft 3in) by 2100 and the loss of ice from Arctic glaciers, ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet will make a substantial contribution," it said. The rises were projected from 1990 levels. More >>>

Territory’s coral reef monitoring system reviewed

The Territory recently concluded a two-day assessment of the Coral Reef Monitoring in the Virgin Islands as part of its local commitment to the Enhancing Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change (ECACC) Project in the United Kingdom (UK) Overseas Territories.

The Virgin Islands is the first UK Overseas Territory to conduct the assessment facilitated by Marcia Creary, a consultant with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

Creary holds the post of Environmental Data Manger for the Centre for Marine Science at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and was the Coordinator for Expansion under the Mainstreaming and Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) project to the eastern Caribbean from 2007-2009. More >>>