By Orville Williams
The efforts toward building resilience and adapting to the impact of climate change in Antigua and Barbuda will soon be boosted by a partnership between the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO) and the European Union (EU).
The partnership was confirmed yesterday and includes a grant agreement worth EC$30 million, toward “a regional initiative to be implemented by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH)”.
In a media statement yesterday, the delegation of the EU to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and Caricom/Cariforum disclosed some of the development areas that will receive direct, immediate support. These areas include new climate products and data platforms, toward “improving access to and uptake of climate information”.
Antigua and Barbuda is no stranger to the impact of climate change and increased climate activity, with 2017’s Hurricane Irma still haunting the minds of many residents, specifically Barbudans.
However, this partnership could also help to better prepare countries for events like that one, through accelerated work on the emerging Caribbean Framework for Climate Services (CFCS) at the regional and national levels.
That programme will “improve climate forecasts and strengthen the capacity of Caribbean countries to deliver sector-specific climate services and information. This information will then “support actions to reduce the vulnerabilities within the tourism, energy and other key sectors”.
Only three countries are set to benefit directly from the aforementioned improvements, namely, Dominica, Guyana, and Jamaica, according to head of the CIMH, Dr David Farrell. The other CMO member states will, however, “benefit from the transfer of knowledge and knowhow from these pilots”.
This partnership will surely be welcome news for the CMO member states, especially amid early predictions of a more-active-than-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
For Antigua and Barbuda specifically, it will surely add to the advancements to be made domestically, following the US$32.7 million grant funding secured by the Department of Environment last year.
That funding is expected to go toward improving the infrastructural resilience of several critical service buildings, against increased climate change activity.
Along with Antigua and Barbuda, the other CMO member states set to benefit from this new partnership include Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.