Barbados should have a completed Second National Communications (SNC) Report on activities related to climate change in the country, by next year.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage, Sarah Brathwaite, explained the preparation of the report was intended to document and communicate to the world, the domestic actions undertaken and planned, pursuant to the goals and objectives of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol.
She made these comments recently while addressing the SNC Report inception workshop and stakeholder consultation at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
"In the current climate of heightened national interest and activity in a variety of environmental management areas, we view the preparation of the report at this time as presenting a unique opportunity to enhance the ongoing national discourse and development initiatives in the areas of sustainable energy production, identification and accessing development finance from international sources, the green economy, and the broader National Sustainable Development pursuit, among others," Ms. Brathwaite said.
To achieve these goals, the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage has engaged a consortium of international consultants, Environmental Gain Limited, and local consultants, the CARIBSAVE Partnership, and Caribbean Risk Managers, to provide the required services to complete the report.
According to the project’s mandate, the consultants are required to undertake a comprehensive investigation and assessment of Barbados’ vulnerability to climate change, examine the mitigation and adaptation actions executed since the preparation of the first report, and prepare an update on the greenhouse gas inventory for each biennium between the 2000 to 2010 period.
It will also seek to identify Barbados’ constraints, gaps and the related financial, technical, and capacity needs as the country seeks to augment its climate change response.
The project will be executed through data gathering, assimilation, training sessions and workshops.
During her address to stakeholders, the Deputy Permanent Secretary pointed out that the report can be regarded as an open declaration of Barbados’ efforts to reduce global green-house gas emissions, the causative agents of global warming, its vulnerability to the ensuing climatic changes, and adaptive needs to remain a viable nation state.
She added that while Small Island Developing States were identified as being most vulnerable to the threats of climate change, a response must be given at the national level.
Ms. Brathwaite cautioned that failing to treat the issue of climate change with a sense of urgency and seriousness was to undervalue the developmental gains made over time, and future aspirations.
And, while the work of departments such as the Soil Conservation Commission, the Coastal Zone Management Unit and the Barbados Water Authority were commended, Ms. Bathwaite noted that the Ministry recognised a more integrated approach was needed to respond to the challenge of climate change.
"We need to monitor and report our actions in a coordinated and sufficiently comprehensive manner such that successes can be verified and documented as learnt experiences and our failures identified in order to inform future actions," she said.
Technical director of Environmental Gains, Bob Sargeant, said the report was an important one, which would look at energy, industrial processes, agriculture waste and land use, land change and forestry.
Mr. Sargeant further told participants that the greenhouse gas inventory was expected to begin soon. He explained that the project was now at the emission inventory stage, and was being run in parallel with other work being done on the project.
A draft report on the emission inventory is expected to be produced by August and the final report in September, followed by the second workshop to share the findings of the inventory and discuss the way forward.
The consultant added that after all the reports were submitted, the third and final workshop would be held before the SNC report is due by March next year.