The AGRICULTURAL sector is set to benefit from a $7 million grant given to Trinidad and Tobago by the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The GCF was established to aid developing countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to help vulnerable societies adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The fund is managed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The main beneficiary of the $7 million will be the agricultural sector as this area has been heavily impacted by climate change, according to FAO representative for Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname, Dr Reuben Robertson.
Speaking during a workshop at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain last week, Robertson said climate change is a risk to T&T’s food supply.
“Trinidad and Tobago is described as a net food importer, where more than 70 per cent of the food consumed is imported,” he explained.
“One can easily see how vulnerable the country is with respect to climate change impacts in those countries on which T&T relies for its food supply. This is even more exacerbated when we look at the domestic situation where the producers or farmers are challenged, exposed to high risk and vulnerabilities due to natural disasters, and in most cases the data to determine and assess the impacts are often not available.”
The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, has launched the “GCF Readiness Project” aimed at improving the monitoring system for climate change impacts on the agricultural sector.
Robertson said the project would aid in implementing the necessary systems and finding solutions.
“FAO seeks to build capacity to protect, restore and diversify the livelihoods of families that depend on agriculture, strengthening the countries food and nutrition security,” he said.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Planning and Development, Joanne Deoraj, said Trinidad and Tobago has been experiencing the impacts of climate change for some time.
She noted that T&T has seen periods of intense rainfall and equally intense dry seasons which have both negatively impacted on the agricultural sector.
“We have recently experienced droughts and floods simultaneously and of course the agricultural sector and food production is being impacted. The agricultural sector has been challenged by a number of factors as a result of climate change, we have not been able to maintain the volume of production nor have we been able to manage the extremes of both drought and rainfall, so looking for sustainable, climate change-resistant infrastructure is vitally important,” said Deoraj.
The first phase of the GCF Readiness Project will see an 18-month data collection collaboration with the FAO focusing on food import dependency; the impact of hydrological and meteorological data; assessment of greenhouse gas emissions; and the reporting of gender-sensitive climate impacts on agriculture and food systems.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning and Development, the post currently held by Deoraj, was nominated as T&T’s National Designated Authority to the Green Climate Fund in June 2017.
About the GCF
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest dedicated fund helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance their ability to respond to climate change.
It was set up by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010. GCF has a crucial role in serving the Paris Agreement, supporting the goal of keeping average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees C.
It does this by channelling climate finance to developing countries, which have joined other nations in committing to climate action.
Responding to the climate challenge requires collective action from all countries, including by both public and private sectors.
Among these concerted efforts, advanced economies have agreed to jointly mobilise significant financial resources. Coming from a variety of sources, these resources address the pressing mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries.
GCF launched its initial resource mobilisation in 2014, and rapidly gathered pledges worth US$10.3 billion. These funds come mainly from developed countries, but also from some developing countries, regions, and one city.
GCF’s activities are aligned with the priorities of developing countries through the principle of country ownership, and the Fund has established a direct access modality so that national and sub-national organisations can receive funding directly, rather than only via international intermediaries.
The Fund pays particular attention to the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and African States.
GCF aims to catalyse a flow of climate finance to invest in low-emission and climate-resilient development, driving a paradigm shift in the global response to climate change.
Our innovation is to use public investment to stimulate private finance, unlocking the power of climate-friendly investment for low emission, climate resilient development.
To achieve maximum impact, GCF seeks to catalyse funds, multiplying the effect of its initial financing by opening markets to new investments.