REGIONAL STAKEHOLDERS RECEIVE FINDINGS OF THE GCCA OECS GAP ANALYSIS
Alandmark OECS initiative focusing on sustainable land management and Climate Change Adaptation achieved its first project milestone in Saint Lucia this week. A regional stakeholders’ workshop at the Bay Gardens Hotel on December 16th signaled the completion of the research component of the GCCA Project on Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Land Management in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS Gap analysis which ran from September to the end of November undertook an assessment of the capacity and resources of the OECS’ Commission and Member States, in terms of the governance and administration of land and land use. Coming out of the Gap Analysis will be recommendations to guide Member States in creating the enabling conditions to balance sustainability with national development in the face of Climate Change and its threats to OECS economies and livelihoods. As such, the GCCA Project will assist member states to reform land policies and administration, as well as modernise systems and processes to lessen the impact of climate triggered events on the environmental, social and economic pillars of the respective societies.
A consulting technical team from the UWI was contracted to undertake the OECS Gap analysis consultancy. Led by Environmental and Climate Change Specialist Eleanor Jones, the consulting team presented preliminary findings on the state of play relative to the institutional and regulatory gaps to be addressed. Gaps emerging and common to all Member States relate to out-dated legislation, insufficient institutional strength, lack of enforcement, improper/ inadequate land use planning, unmonitored developments and poor building practices, deforestation, poor agricultural practices and the absence of a holistic approach to Sustainable Land Management. Member States’ vulnerability to climatic events such as heavy rainfall, droughts, storms and hurricanes is further exacerbated by these gaps.
Joining a technical team from the Social and Sustainable Development Division of the OECS Commission to receive and discuss the findings were some eighteen participants from across the OECS representing various ministries including Physical Planning, Health, Housing, Environment, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Sustainable Development and Disaster Management.
EU funding to the tune of EU$1.9 million is intended to assist the OECS Member States to institute the necessary reforms and implement a number of ‘quick win’ projects across Member States. An additional EU 5M is earmarked for the implementation of Physical Adaptation Pilot (PAP) projects in each Member State. Some eighteen proposals for these projects have been submitted for consideration and funding. Assessment of the PAP proposals fell under the remit of the UWI Technical Gap Analysis team.