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Climate change experts meet in St Lucia

Tuesday, September 03, 2013    

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Climate change experts from across the Caribbean begin a three-day meeting here today to discuss ways of reducing the impact of climate change on the region's agriculture and tourism sectors.

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat will host its third climate change seminar from September 3 that will also focus on "strategies and innovations in tourism and agriculture".

The organisers said a mini festival portraying and dramatising issues and actions regarding the impact of climate change on the region will follow addresses at Tuesday's opening ceremony, which is expected to attract over 100 guests from across the region.

Officials say the theme for this year's seminar, "Climate Change, Tourism and Agriculture — Strategies and innovations for adaptation", is especially significant in light of negative impacts already being felt by these sectors.

"Predictions indicate that OECS Member States are likely to experience even more adverse economic impacts on their most important industries, which depend heavily on the attractiveness of natural environments and good weather and climate," says Suzanna Scott, head of the OECS Climate Change project.

A major output, expected from the seminar, is a portfolio of new ideas for strategies and innovations in agriculture and tourism that will enable these sectors to better manage climate-related risk and build resilience. The seminar is therefore organised around a number of pertinent topics, which will address each of the two sectors.

These include the economic contribution of small island resources to the tourism sector, maximising business benefits through building resilience, reducing climate related risks to agriculture and tourism, sustainable land management and agriculture and a look at adaptation measures for farming.

The seminar is being held as part of the OECS/USAID RRACC Project — a five-year developmental project which was launched in 2011 to assist OECS governments with building resilience through the implementation of climate change adaptation measures.

Specifically, RRACC is aimed at building an enabling environment in support of policies and laws to reduce vulnerability; address information gaps that constrain issues related to climate vulnerabilities; make interventions in freshwater and coastal management to build resilience; increase awareness on issues related to climate change and improve capacities for climate change adaptation.

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