BELMOPAN: Australia will use its expertise in guiding the Caribbean to adapt to climate change and manage its coral reefs.
Coral reefs provide benefits to the Caribbean valued at over four billion annually. The reefs of the Caribbean are of great importance in providing shoreline protection, habitat for healthy fisheries and an essential attraction for the tourism sector, according to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) have agreed to a two-year program that will also be used to address some of the key challenges identified in “Climate Change and the Caribbean: A regional framework for achieving development resilient to Climate Change (2009-2015)” developed by the CCCCC.
Keith Nicols, the organization’s senior program development specialist, says the partnership allows for valuable expertise and knowledge to be shared and will make a real difference to the region’s marine environment.
He said the program will enable work with the CCCCC and CARICOM countries to develop a regional framework for reducing the climate change vulnerability of coral reefs and building the resilience of reef-dependent communities and industries.
The program will also support the capacity of coral reef and natural resource managers to deal with the implications of climate change through development of an adaptation toolkit and facilitation of international collaboration.
“This program follows a successful scoping mission last year and workshops in Belize and Barbados, which identified priority strategies for reducing coral reef vulnerability to climate change, key experts and organizations and mapped other regional initiatives and programs to optimize the contribution of the AusAID-GBRMPA-CCCCC program,” the CCCCC said in a statement.