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Climate Change on the Agenda

Climate Change on the Agenda

Cayman's efforts to adapt to climate change will advance next week with a training workshop involving local multi-sector and regional climate change officials.

The two-day (21-22 October) Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) Training Workshop at the Grand Cayman Marriott Resort will see stakeholders from Cayman's public and private sector, and NGOs being trained to assess the potential impact of climate change on tourism and other sectors.

The workshop has been organized by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DoE); the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

Minister of Tourism and Environment the Hon Charles Clifford said the exercise is a key step in Cayman's drive to address the effects of climate change. "We are working to get all our sectors ready to deal with the threats that climate change poses to our economy," he said.

He added, "I am pleased that tourism is one of the first sectors on which we are focusing, because it is an area that depends on our natural attributes for sustainability. Ironically though, it is also at great risk from the effects of climate change."

Minister Clifford further noted the importance of assessing the risks and capacities of tourism as they relate to adapting to climate change. He said the information will help the industry implement environmental best practices and proper adaptation strategies, and facilitate long term economic sustainability.

Giving background details, DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that this training workshop is part of a work plan under the DFID-funded 'Enhancing Capacity for Adapting to Climate Change (ECACC) in the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories (UKOT) Project . This exercise follows the initial project planning workshop held in November last year.

"That was when all the UKOTs agreed to formulate national climate change adaptation strategies and work plans for how to achieve this. Conducting VCAs for use in adaptation planning will require considerable data collection efforts. Once the tourism VCA study commences we will be appealing to many businesses and communities to assist in ways which will meaningfully contribute to our national climate change strategy," she said.

Mrs Ebanks-Petrie added, "Since last year's meeting, the Cayman Islands has made significant progress and has put a multi-sectoral climate change adaptation working group in place to work on the objectives."

Specifically, the workshop will focus on training local government and non-government individuals from across various sectors to complete vulnerability and capacity assessments with the help of the wider public. Mrs Ebanks-Petrie further explained that the workshop will begin by providing a detailed introduction into these assessments, including techniques; methods; and their limits and benefits for Cayman's environments and economies.

The DoE Director said that the assessment model developed for the tourism sector may be applied to other sectors including agriculture, water or health.

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes