November 12, 20141274Views

A community-oriented
climate change adaptation plan is being created for Sea Cow’s Bay.

The draft plan is the
primary outcome of a Climate Smart Community Disaster Management Workshop that
was hosted here by the Department of Disaster Management in collaboration with
the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

The workshop is one of
the outputs included under the Mainstreaming climate Change in Disaster
Management Project Phase II (CCDM-II) through which the DDM has obtained funding
for the piloting of the SMART School initiative at the three schools located in
Sea Cow’s Bay.

Addressing the start
of the workshop on Tuesday, Project Coordinator at the CDEMA Coordinating Unit,
Ms. Kerry-Ann Thompson outlined the objectives of the session.

“It is important that
you understand the linkage between climate change and disaster risk reduction;
identify the specific vulnerabilities within your community and the strategies
to enhance your resilience and to apply these concepts in the design of the
community climate change adaptation plan,” she stated.

In her remarks, Deputy
Director of the DDM, Ms. Evangeline Inniss noted that the workshop fits
directly within the realm of actions to be undertaken as part of the Virgin
Islands Comprehensive Disaster management strategy and Programming Framework.

The strategic actions
enshrined in the current strategy that guides the work of the DDM makes
specific reference to reducing vulnerability and enhancing community-based
disaster risk reduction and establishing improved linkages between disaster
risk reduction and climate change adaptation,” she said.

The objectives of the
workshop also fits directly with the DDM’s concept of a SMART community which
uses Sustained Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilient techniques to resist,
absorb and/or accommodate the impact of hazards and climate change.

“We therefore embrace this
workshop as an opportunity to reinforce the growing importance of climate
change and the need to engage in climate change adaptation strategies that
would help make our communities more resilient,” Ms. Inniss stated.

During the workshop,
participants received an outstanding presentation from Angela Burnett-Penn,
Chair of the National Climate Change Committee on the causes and impacts of climate
change in the British Virgin Islands and the extensive work that has already
been done to help mitigate the impact and build community resilience.  Ms. Burnett-Penn also spoke about the work
that has been done locally to establish a policy and legal framework for
climate change adaptation initiatives.

Participants from the
workshop were drawn from various Government departments which are affiliated with
or work within the community, teachers and parents from the schools involved in
the SMART School project and other persons who have vested interests in Sea
Cow’s Bay.

The SMART School Project
was launched in July this year and already, the three schools involved in the
pilot have been assessed and reports provided, energy audits have been
conducted to determine the level of usage and ways to increase efficiency,
teachers at the school and other community members have benefitted from Community
Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and a video is being produced to
highlight the overall project and its benefits to the community.