The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

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.

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