Sensitizing CARICOM to Climate Change

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

The small island states of the Eastern Caribbean are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and to heighten public awareness within the region to this threat, media professionals from throughout the English–speaking Caribbean gathered in Belize City for a training workshop on this issue.
Belize’s National Climate Change Office (NCCO) hosted the workshop as a follow-up to a public survey of Climate Change knowledge, attitudes and practices. The NCCO partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (5Cs), the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) and the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) in hosting the workshop at the Ramada Princess hotel in Belize City on Wednesday and Thursday, April 26-27.
The NCCO also launched its Belize Climate Change awareness campaign with the slogan “Feel the Change” at the forum. The NCCO aims to encourage Belizean to focus on the changes which they are seeing and feeling in our environment; as they urge Belizeans to: “Be a Part of the Change!”
J-CCCP project manager Yoko Ebisdawa welcomed the regional journalists; and CCCCC project development specialist Keith Nichols fielded questions from the media professionals on a host of issues; as climate change is a complicated topic with multiple impacts on every aspect of the economy: water, health, agriculture, food security, energy, coastal zones, fisheries, forestry, tourism and the Meso-American barrier reef, which is threatened by climate change’s by-product; ocean acidification.
The NCCO had contracted VALINOR, sustainability management consultants from Ontario, Canada, to conduct the training workshop; and VALINOR’s managing director Kalim Shah Ph.D and his team helped the journalist sharpen their skills on how to bring climate change issues across in an easily understandable manner. The tem included media training expert Everald Hosein Ph.D and Mary Owen, a digital coordinator for ABC News, Chicago, Illinois USA.
The NCCO also distributed reusable shopping bags as well as solar powered lanterns when they visited the communities of Corozal and Southside, Belize City on April 22 and 24 to coincide with Earth Day, which was celebrated worldwide last Saturday. The NCCO shared climate change knowledge among the community through interactive discussions and games with the residents.
The campaign was designed based on the results of a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey conducted by the J-CCCP last year, which was followed by the development of a National Climate Change Communications Strategy. The J-CCCP is also supporting Belize’s National Adaption Plan (NAP) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) development as well as the implement of a sustainable agriculture and water resources management pilot project in order to advance the process of inclusive low-emission climate-resilient development in Belize.
The J-CCCP is a regional initiative working in eight Caribbean countries, including Belize. The programme of work under the JCCCP is in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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