The Government of the Virgin Islands recently obtained additional technical assistance to support and enhance its efforts towards Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
This was done in collaboration with the OECS Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) Project in the Caribbean. The Departments of Conservation and Fisheries, and Agriculture received Geographic Information System/Global Positioning System (GIS/GPS) technology for effective use of geo-spatial data necessary to inform decision making, policies and strategies. The Department of Disaster Management also received an Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and additional associated training to enhance the local capacity for critical weather and climate data collection, analysis and forecasting.
The technical support is a result of needs and objectives identified by the OECS Member States participating under the GCCA project umbrella, which is a formal group of Governments working to improve the territory’s and region’s natural resource base resilience to the impacts of climate change. This would be done through effective and sustainable land management policy, capacity, awareness, and practices; and implementation of specific physical adaptation measures, including soil and land stabilisation, river and sea defense, forest and ecosystem restoration.
Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Mr. Joseph Smith Abbott, stated that the total value of the GIS/GPS and the automated weather station equipment and training is Euro Dollar (EUD) 80,517. He expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the outcomes and objectives of the GCCA project.
Mr. Smith Abbott said, “I am very pleased to see that the steps taken have come to fruition. The members of the recipient departments are working hard to collect information so that we can make better, well-informed decisions in the future. The GIS software and GPS devices, as well as the weather station will strengthen our technological capacity to acquire data to track long term weather patterns and better manage our natural resources. We are grateful for the financial and technical assistance of all the entities involved.”
The weather station was designed and installed by Hortus Inc. with assistance from the Department of Disaster Management.
The local GCCA project is part of the OECS “iLand Resilience” Project. This project seeks to assist member states to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change through strengthening of the enabling environment, human and technical capacity, and awareness for sustainable land management. The project also seeks to implement physical measures which demonstrate best adaptation practices for the small, vulnerable island states of the sub-region. The OECS Commission has stated that it is fulfilling relevant provisions of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre and the St. George’s Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability to achieve the long-term protection and sustained productivity of the region’s natural resource base, for broader economic and social development.
The project is financed by the European Union in the amount of 10.6 Million Euros, which will support activities across nine OECS Member States.