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I found this "New Year resolution for 2014" by Mr. Horst M. Vogel of Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (GIZ) very relevant to all of us too, putting our and SUSANA's work in perspective.
Dear Partners, Colleagues & Friends,
The storm depressions that struck disaster during the week of Christmas 2013 both in the Caribbean … and in Europe, ought to act as a stark reminder that we’re living in the Anthropocene, an era that is defined by the on planet Earth.
Over the past 50 to 100 odd years, geo-ecosystems have been altered by humans at an unprecedented speed and scale. The impacts that humans are having on geo-ecosystems are now showing up in all spheres of life. Two obvious cases in point are terrestrial aquatic and marine ecosystems.
On-going human alteration of the water cycle through deforestation, wetland drainage, river regulation, agricultural irrigation and settlement expansion has significantly altered hydrologic processes, leading to on-going loss of biodiversity and natural resilience. Inevitably, this leads to ping pong events of flooding and drought. Climate change, whether natural or man-made, becomes the icing on the cake of extreme weather events.
The prime practical challenge that we’re facing is results-oriented implementation. Given the scale and magnitude of the problem this requires integrative networking and hands-on cooperation amongst regional and national institutions including international development partners. Based on my personal experience, which I summarized in a case study presentation, it also requires a culture of effective execution, the pursuance of parallel, incremental approaches, and the creation of lateral opportunities that raise the potential to strike success.
As far as the CARICOM region is concerned this ought to begin with pro-actively tapping into available funds such as, for example, The Climate Investment Funds or the Caribbean Investment Facility. These financial aid mechanisms are, amongst others, aimed at enhancing the Climate Resilience (CR) of infrastructures, strengthening Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and improving Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
Our own experience in 2013 regarding the successful identification and implementation of six fast-track projects on mainly “Integrated Water & Wastewater Management” in Belize and St. Lucia proved that there is loads of project potential in the Caribbean. These include the aforementioned projects on CR, IWRM, and DRR. From various partners in the region, we learned that they may also include projects on:
1. Green economies for sustainable development,
2. Capacity development for institutions and people,
3. Forest management including nursery development,
4. Sustainable water supply and sediment management in dams and watercourses,
5. Wastewater treatment to reduce human health risks and the smothering of coral reefs,
6. Enhancement of alternative livelihoods including the commercialization of agricultural biotechnology,
7. Rainwater harvesting for agricultural irrigation and to act as a buffer during times of hydrological drought,
8. Land-use planning to halt environmental degradation (Management of watersheds and marine protected areas (MPA),
9. Promotion of conservation farming in mountainous terrain as an essential contribution to the maintenance of rural economies.
Regional organisations and national governments need to be taking the driver’s seat and push for such bankable projects that also achieve value for money (VfM).
International development partners in turn need to think of the international harmonisation and alignment agenda and possibly pool resources for more effective development.
Best wishes for the New Year,
Horst M. Vogel
Horst Michael Vogel Ph.D.
Head of Programme (PGL)
Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions
Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
CARICOM-CARPHA: Environmental Health and Management Unit
P.O. Box 1111
T +1 758 451 6750
F +1 758 453 2721
M +1 758 716 9136