Barbados is now one step closer to fully establishing a Regional Climate Centre (RCC).

This will come about because the RCC is now in demonstration mode, and is expected to gain significant ground following the recent launch of the Programme for Building Regional Capacity in the Caribbean.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resources Management, Esworth Reid, explained that such a programme in Barbados would address current deficiencies in the lack of accurate and consistent climate data and information in the region as being one of the top constraints.

He made these comments recently during a ceremony at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) to launch the programme. The United States Government is providing over US$5 million in funding over the next three years to establish the Centre for the Caribbean at the CIMH.

???The programme is timely and its objectives will build critical capacities at regional and national levels to access, analyse and use climate data to better inform decision-making in climate sensitive sectors,??? he said, adding these sectors would include the areas of agriculture, water resources and tourism.

Noting that Small Island Developing States were susceptible to climate change, Mr. Reid stated that the outputs and outcomes from the programme would contribute to their sustainable development.??

That, he said, would be done through supporting the region???s initiatives to adapt climate change and increasing climate variability and disaster risk reduction. ???I envisage a Caribbean resilient to climate risks and hydro-meteorological hazards, an inheritance we can be proud to pass onto future generations,??? he noted.

The Permanent Secretary, who is also the Chairman of the CIMH Board of Governors, warned that the impacts of climate change on economies like Barbados could be more severe than the impact of any global economic recession.

???At least our Governments can manipulate current tax structures and public expenditure in an attempt to dampen the effect of a global economic recession on the local economy, but such policies would not work when the economy is impacted by a phenomena such as climate change???,??? he stated.

The impact of climate change on economies like Barbados may be more severe than the impact of any global economic recession.

Principal of the CIMH, Dr. David Farrell, said he hoped that the Centre, now in demonstration mode, would be the first to be established in this part of the region. He explained that the Centre was concerned about building the capabilities of people to do things for their own region.

???We need to be able to tell people how to plan, and this investment will ensure that we have some level of sustainability,??? he pointed out.

Among the benefits of the programme are seasonal forecasting capabilities; access to the use of remote sensing data for assessing climatological risk; enhancing the statistical capabilities of the CIMH; and communications and marketing.

US Ambassador, Larry Palmer, said the Centre would also help the region to better understand how the climate was changing and how its people could best respond strategically to increase the resilience of economies, ecosystems and communities.

He added that it would also strengthen the capacity of the CIMH and national institutions across the region to monitor the changing climate and to convert data into products that would better inform decision-making in climate-sensitive sectors.

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