Barbados/USAID Agreement To Address Climate Change Signed

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Flooding in Trents and Holetown, St. James and along the West Coast will be addressed when a US$7,049,000 Climate Change Agreement signed between Barbados and USAID (US Agency for International Development) comes into being.

The three-year agreement was signed by Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe and US Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Larry Palmer, at the Ministry???s new headquarters, Warrens Tower II, Warrens, St. Michael, recently.

The Minister explained that the project, which falls under the Water Resource Management and Flood Resilience Climate Change Adaptation Programme, was expected to use technical and scientific-based approaches to cover six main areas.

Those areas are improved flood management, a framework for improved management and control, analysing water quality, water harvesting, improving climate science systems and increasing awareness and public education.

Dr. Lowe explained that the project would look at improved flood management. He added that Trents in Holetown, St. James, traditionally prone to flooding, would benefit from the design and construction of appropriate storm water drainage structures.

In addition, the Minister said there would also be an analysis of the causes of the pollutants and debris upstream of the Holetown Lagoon, and an examination of effective measures to reduce or eliminate the marine environment hazards.

???Barbados remains committed to ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place to protect our inland, coastal and marine ecosystems from flooding events,??? he said.

The Minister noted that the project would also coincide with work already being undertaken by the Coastal Zone Management Unit and the Drainage Division along the island???s West Coast. ???The intensity and frequency of rainfall this year, particularly during the hurricane season, has taken a toll on our drainage system,??? he said, noting the systems were designed in an era when the threat of climate change was not a prominent issue.

Mr. Palmer also told those present that without urgent strategic action, climate change matters that affected Barbados, including the availability of fresh water and the impact on coastal areas resulting from higher sea levels, were expected to worsen.

???For the US government, this partnership with the Ministry is one piece of our much broader climate change programme in the Eastern Caribbean, working in collaboration with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, its member states and other regional organisations,??? he said.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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