Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From drought to hurricanes, Grenada tackles climate change with German help

Christa Marshall in E&E News: After a sudden thunderstorm this fall, Paul Valdon sat in a line of cars for 45 minutes near a bridge over a river because of gushing water....  Valdon missed an important work meeting because of the flood. "It was so frustrating. This happens at this river several times a year," said Valdon, a project coordinator at SPECTO, an environmental advocacy group.

Valdon's group is planning to fortify the riverbank with boulders and clear a buildup of sediment and debris, which is contributing to the frequent flooding. It also is planning workshops to change the practices of local communities and farmers, who routinely toss logs and other matter into the river, causing it to become elevated beyond normal levels.

It is one of several initiatives funded by the Integrated Climate Change Adaptation Strategies (ICCAS) program -- a three-year, €5 million ($6.84 million) initiative through 2016 funded by the German government to address Grenada's climate threats from droughts to hurricanes.

The ICCAS program is not the first climate change project in this 133-square-mile country by any stretch. But it is unique for being Grenada-specific rather than a blip on a broader regional effort and for considering multiple topics across government agencies, said Dieter Rothenberger, head of program at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and leader of the ICCAS work.

What has been missing in the country at times is tangible results on the ground, so the team is developing a series of projects that will have permanent effects, said Rothenberger, who is working on a daily basis with the Grenada Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and Environment.

That level of government cooperation allows for much more detailed attention than typical regional projects, where a team might fly in for a few days and move on to another Caribbean island. Grenada was selected because it has played an active role in international climate negotiations, he said at a ministry interview here....

Downtown St. George in Grenada, shot by Boltique, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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