Progress on Montserrat's Climate Change Policy

LITTLE BAY – Montserrat continues moving closer to implementing a policy designed to make the island more resilient to the growing issues of climate change.

On Thursday, June 18, 2015, technicians from the public and private sector met to review the draft policy and action plan, which is being developed through the Department of Environment with the assistance of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI).

The climate change policy is part of a million-dollar Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management Project funded through the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). In the coming months farmers and communities will benefit from the project which will see a EC$200,000 solar power system for the Montserrat National Trust in Salem; a EC$250,000 soil erosion management initiative in Duck Pond and Blakes Estate; and a flood management plan for the Collins Ghaut area estimated at EC$600,000.

According to the draft policy, the goal is to “transition Montserrat into a leader in climate resilient low-carbon development through an integrated and coordinated response across sectors and society to support a strong and sustainable natural, physical and socio-economic environment with a thriving low carbon economy for the safety, security and well-being of all people in Montserrat.
Priority areas for mitigation are Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Carbon Sinks. The object is to “set Montserrat on a path to low-carbon growth through the capitalisation of opportunities to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon sinks.”
The priority areas for adaptation are Food Security and Nutrition, Natural ecosystems and resources, Energy security, Water Security and Management, Sustainable Physical Development, Human Health and Well-being, and Sustainable Tourism.

Nicole Leotaud, Executive Director CANARI said Thursday’s session focused on refining the draft policy and action plan and drilling down to establish what is the vision for Montserrat on climate resilience. The groups worked on a “realistic action plan which can be implemented given limited capacity and resources. We have to be very strategic and define what are some of the priority actions that would help move Montserrat towards climate resilience,” she explained. The action plan identifies lead agencies and the key sectors such as finance and health which need to be brought on board. Leotaud said input will be sought from several CARICOM agencies on the policy, which should be in its final draft by mid-July, when it will be ready for adoption by the Cabinet.
The consultant noted that Montserrat is currently experiencing the effects of climate change with the ongoing drought which has hit many of the islands in the Eastern Caribbean. She said more work was needed to make people more aware of the issues of climate change and how it manifests in every circumstances such as little or no rainfall.