OECS to host third climate change seminar

CASTRIES Saint Lucia — The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat is in final preparations to host its third climate change seminar, which is to focus on ‘strategies and innovations in tourism and agriculture’.

The seminar will take place in Saint Lucia on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

A mini festival, portraying and dramatizing issues and actions regarding the impact of climate change on the region, will follow addresses at Tuesday’s opening ceremony, which is expected to attract over 100 guests from across the region.

The theme for this year’s seminar, Climate Change, Tourism and Agriculture –Strategies and innovations for adaptation, is especially significant in light of negative impacts already being felt by these sectors. Predictions indicate that OECS member states are likely to experience even more adverse economic impacts on their most important industries, which depend heavily on the attractiveness of natural environments; and good weather and climate.

A major output, expected from the seminar, is a portfolio of new ideas for strategies and innovations in agriculture and tourism that will enable these sectors to better manage climate-related risk and build resilience. The seminar is therefore organised around a number of pertinent topics, which will address each of the two sectors, including:

• Climate change impacts on agriculture and tourism
• The economic contribution of small island resources to the tourism sector
• Maximizing business benefits through building resilience
• Reducing climate related risks to agriculture and tourism
• Sustainable land management and agriculture
• A look at adaptation measures for farming

The above topics will be delivered by selected experts from around the region and beyond namely:

• The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),
• The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre,
• The Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute (CARDI),
• The CaribSave Partnership, The World Resources Institute,
• The Caribbean Meteorology and Hydrology Institute (CIMH),
• The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility and
• The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

The OECS Secretariat estimates that some 80 participants will be in attendance at the seminar representing private entities, government agencies, international and regional bodies – who work in agriculture, tourism, environment and climate change.

The seminar is being held as part of the OECS/USAID RRACC Project — a five-year developmental project that was launched in 2011 to assist OECS governments with building resilience through the implementation of climate change adaptation measures.

Specifically, RRACC will build an enabling environment in support of policies and laws to reduce vulnerability; address information gaps that constrain issues related to climate vulnerabilities; make interventions in freshwater and coastal management to build resilience; increase awareness on issues related to climate change and improve capacities for climate change adaptation.

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