One of the first things mentioned in Workshop 7 on “Building Partnerships and Alliances to Scale Up Climate – Smart and Adaptation Solutions in the Caribbean” was that the workshop would be centred on solutions, instead of the dismal situation that we are all so very aware of. It was also established we would keep farmers and fisherfolk at the centre of discussion. That is, any concerns, issues, solutions or strategies would be discussed always keeping perspectives and benefits to farmers and fisherfolk in mind. It was within this context that discussion began.
Sheets of papers, markers, and groups for discussion set the stage for some serious engagement, and the debates commenced. Participants laid out the issues and highlighted key challenges common to all nations present. There was significant cross-fertilisation of ideas as groups were asked to switch tables and expand on ideas that the previous groups had begun to discuss. It was very exciting to see linkages being made and participants all invested in establishing challenges that the session would specifically tackle.
Speaking from experience
Una May Gordon, social entrepreneur from Jamaica and consultant on climate change policy and initiatives throughout the region, was very positive about the discussions taking place. She mentioned to us how thrilled she was that the workshop had featured collaboration and exchange of ideas.
“Often in the Caribbean we focus on problems instead of solutions. We are very pleased that this workshop has given practical examples of successes and has created opportunities for networking and implementing customized versions of those successes in applicable situations across our regions.”
She also looked forward to later presentations that would showcase success stories of featuring farmers and fisherfolk across the region.
Challenges and solutions
For the Caribbean, some parts of Africa, and the Pacific, we know that climate change is already severely affecting livelihoods. For instance, Jamaica is one of the world top 40 climate hot spots, which means that Jamaica is one of the countries that has been and will be worst affected by climate change. Small islands states are all facing similar issues when it comes to dealing with climate change.
A few of the key challenges highlighted in the first set of discussions included:
- Acceptance of responsibility for action and adaptation
- Governance, policy, and legislation
- Building capacity (funding, infrastructure, equipment, partnership and networks)
- Access to and viability of markets and economics.
Some other success stories shared by presenters later in the day included projects featuring water harvesting as a climate variability adaptation strategy, projects for turning fisheries sector waste into value (specifically bioenergy and green energy), implementation of early warning response systems for fisherfolk, fisheries insurance initiatives, and ICTs for climate adaptation.
What are some successes of climate change adaptation in your nation? Share your stories in the comments below and follow #CPAF15 #Intra_APP for live updates from the Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum in Barbados.
Photo credit: Carole Cholai
Blogpost by Zina Edwards and Chelsea Wallace, Social Reporters for the Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum 2015.