New climate programme launched for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 23, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is on Thursday launching the “Weather and Climate Ready Nation” programme for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean.
The project is being launched in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Barbados Meteorological Service (BMS), the Barbados Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) along with other national, regional and international partners
CIMH said the “Weather and Climate Ready Nation” programme, which is sponsored by the USAID/OFDA , is focused on the impacts of flash floods, coastal inundation, landslides and climate change.
The two-year, multi-agency project, which integrates aspects of the successful United States Weather Ready Nation programme, and aims to improve community, national and regional resilience to severe weather, increased climate variability and climate change by embedding targeted impacts forecasts into mitigative planning and decision-making processes.
The programme will also empower broader stakeholder engagement in weather and climate resilience efforts through the introduction of an Ambassador programme which will integrate many of the successful and transferable approaches present in a similar programme in the United States that has signed up more than 4000 ambassadors to date.
CIMH said that the project will result in improvements to the early warning and impact-based forecasting systems for Barbados during the initial demonstration phase with subsequent implementation of the program in other Eastern Caribbean states.
It said the outputs of the programme will allow participating government to improve planning, policy development and decision-making related to storm surge and coastal inundation, high winds, flash flooding and landslide.
“Implementation of the Weather and Climate Ready Nation programme extends the Weather Ready Nation concept pioneered by the United States by integrating the region’s vulnerability to climate change and increasing climate variability,” said CIMH principal, Dr. David Farrell.
“By mainstream warnings derived from impacts-based forecasts, it is expected that the region will be better placed to implement appropriately target responses that will reduce economic and social impacts including reductions in loss of life and livelihoods.”
Dr. Richard Jeffries, Director of the COMET Programme, which was established by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and NOAA’s National Weather Service, said ‘with the introduction of advance satellite, radar and numerical weather prediction this program is setting new directions for cooperation between the United States and our brother nations in the Caribbean.
“This programme is about helping member states to implement impact based weather and climate forecasts and warnings in the National Meteorology and Hydrometeorological Services and Disaster and Emergency Management services to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events,” he added.
CIMH said that by the end of Weather and Climate Ready Nation programme, it is expected that the resilience and socio-economic sustainability of the participating states to severe weather, increased climate variability and climate change will be enhanced thereby saving lives and reducing the impacts to livelihoods, investment and socio-economic development.
Through the programme, participating states should be better placed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it added.

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