One of the effects of climate change is the rise in sea level due to rising sea temperatures, melting of glaciers and land-based ice caps. Coastal zone communities will be the ones that will be mostly affected by this. A workshop to look at adapting to the changes was held today.
Johanna Pacheco Climate Change Officer, National Climate Change Office: “What they are focusing on right now are the different measures that they can take especially looking at Cuban experiences so we learned from what they have done in the past and what they are currently doing because they are much more advanced than us in terms of coastal zone adaptation mitigation actions and in terms of adaptation: knowing the trends of sea level rise that we are facing. If we do those sort of assessments we may be able to come up with better adaptation measures than we currently have in order to mitigate the effects of: flooding, erosion, salt water intrusion. Maybe we need better sea walls or maybe we need to stop cutting down mangroves. We know all of this stuff but we need the studies to actually back it up so we need to train out technical experts to do these kinds of studies to implement these sort of adaptation methods that we need.”
Dr. Marcelino Hernandez from the Cuban Institute of Marine Sciences is the facilitator of the workshop. Ahnivar Peralta, Research Assistant at Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre spoke about the different impacts of climate change being looked at in the training.
Ahnivar Peralta Research Assistant 5C’s: “The impacts of sea levels are many: you have coastal inundation , flooding, destruction of coastal structures due to storm surges and so Belize City because it is below sea level is very vulnerable to these impacts of climate change because of the sea level so therefore this training will allow us to see how better we can tackle that impact. Making calculations and using the modeling so that we can be better be informed to see how we can proceed in addressing this. There are many different options that we can take. There is natural interventions and man made which includes: sea wall growing, revetments and so forth while the natural will be the planting and the restoration of mangroves, adding more forest ecology in the coastal areas which would address the sea level rise impacts so once we have the information and the results then now we can make a better decision of course in partner with the community.
The participants include representatives from Forest Department, Fisheries, Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, National Emergency Management Organization and the National Meteorological Service.
Ahnivar Peralta Research Assistant 5C’s: “The stakeholders are very critical because they are the ones out in the field, they are the ones that know what is happening out there in the coastal areas so therefore we bring them so we can hear what they experienced and what data is available for those areas. Once we have that then the expert can now have a better idea of how can we now address our sea levels using that information. How can we do modeling? So we can address those issues so it is very important for them. Now once we start the process of doing calculations and everything and the results are ready of course they will be consolidated as well. Now we can tell them this is what is happening. Let’s see how best we can address the issues and impacts of sea levels with the input of coastal communities and only that way we can build climate resilience for our country.”
The four day workshop is being conducted by the National Climate Change Office in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, the Cuban Institute of Marine Sciences and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. According to Johanna Pacheco, Climate Change Officer at the National Climate Change Office, the purpose of the workshop is to focus on the different ways that can be used to integrate coastal zone assessments into climate change action. ///