IICA host Consultations Sessions with Stakeholders in relations to strengthening Costal and Marine Climate Resilience through Community Engagement

The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, IICA Delegation in Antigua and Barbuda, recently held Consultations on June 20 & 21, 2019 at the Antigua Fisheries Conference Room at the Point Wharf and at the Fisheries Conference Room in Barbuda, to gather additional useful information from key stakeholders and partners which will be used for the detailing and strengthening of the project proposal to the Caribbean Bio-Diversity Funds (CBF) Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) Facility.

National Specialist Craig M. Thomas IICA, in his opening remarks stated “after a number of adverse weather conditions most noticeably Hurricane Irma & Maria in 2017, which devasted Barbuda and Dominica respectively, IICA and other Partners observed the many challenges and issues which affected the livestock and crop producers and fisherfolks within the communities which were mainly related to deficiencies in adaptation strategies and practices at all levels, particularly at the farm level”.

Specifically, it was observed that increased development in Caribbean coastal communities and upstream watersheds has resulted in ongoing degradation of marine and riverine environments due to poor ecosystem health and the degradation of ecosystem services. Coastal areas are affected by sediment laden and contaminated runoff caused by: (i) upstream monoculture and subsistence agriculture operating with heavy pesticide and fertilizer use, (ii) livestock farms with ineffective waste management strategies, (iii) domestic effluents and sewerage, and (iv) erosion and land degradation caused by other commercial, industrial and agricultural activities.

The institute through the CBF call for proposal in 2018, submitted a concept note entitled Strengthening Costal and Marine Climate Resilience through Community Engagement and Ecosystem Based Adaptation Solutions in Upland Watersheds, which is a sub-regional project that includes Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago valued at 2 million USD. The main goal of the project is to facilitate development, and effective adoption and use of cost-effective, nature-based integrated soil management approaches within project communities to address climate risks and bring socio-economic   livelihood benefits, thereby reducing pressure on marine and coastal systems.

The consultation was chaired by Mr. Gregory Bailey Project Coordinator/Deputy Director of Agriculture (Ag) and  led by Dr. Chaney St. Martin-IICA, International Specialist in Water and Soil Management and Mr. Johnathan Barcant- Vetiver TT Ecological Engineering Solutions Ltd and Managing Director IAMovement https://iamovement.org/ .

 During the consultation, a team of technicians which included IICA, CARDI and MoAFBA visited a number of sites in Antigua which were considered for implementing interventions in the project concept or proposal. These included the Body Pond Watershed, Christian Valley, Cades Reef and the Cooks Landfill. In Barbuda, the team visited the Barbuda Landfill, Highland Agriculture Project Site, Sandground Agriculture Area, Natural Watersheds and the Codrington Lagoon in Barbuda where technicians, interviewed key stakeholders and technicians including who managed the target sites.

Fifteen participants attended the consultation in Antigua while fourteen persons participated in Barbuda. These included technical officers within the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Environment Awareness Group (EAG), CARDI, Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), Ministry of Education, Marine Ecosystems Protected Areas (MEPA), GEF as well as other clients, stakeholders and organizations that IICA works closely with close.

According to the rules of the CBF-EbA the concept note was selected from a pool of other submissions and is now offered the opportunity to submit a full-scale project proposal that will be vetted and considered for selection.

The consultations concluded with discussions with partners, beneficiaries and officials of the various ministries, and council members which resulted in a number of proposed actions and comments regarding the strengthening of the overall project proposal.