St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is the second most disaster-prone country in the world by population and the fifth most disaster prone by land size.
Thatâs the assessment of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), and Kedahli Crichton of the Physical Planning Unit in the Ministry of Housing believes that projects like the European Union (EU) funded âILAND RESILIENCEâ initiative are very important to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like SVG.
âILAND RESILIENCEâ is the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean Statesâ (OECS) brand associated with the groupingâs managed Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project. This project focuses on âsustainable development in SIDS through sustainable land management towards climate change adaptionâ.
Crichton, the focal point for the GCCA project in SVG, said on Monday that the project seeks to help locals mitigate the threats that come with climate change and create awareness, among other things.
âWe have a long history of being impacted by climatic anomalies and we also have a great deal of people living under threat, given our particular development scenario where we are all on the coast,â Crichton stressed.
Locally, statistics say that 41.2 per cent of Vincentians are at risk from two or more climatic hazards and Crichton warned that âturned the other wayâ, this means that 58.8 per cent of Vincentians are at risk of facing two or less hazards.
âWe are definitely disaster prone,â he stressed, noting that through the GCCA project, a lot of policy decisions are being made to address climate change mitigation and how SVG and other OECS countries can see âour way out of suffering the full effects of climatic hazardsâ.
The engineer explained that the floods that have taken place locally have captured a lot of media attention, but there have been droughts as well, and along with shifting weather patterns have impacted the agricultural sector and other facets of Vincentian life.
âIt is something that we at the … department and the Ministry of Agriculture are paying close attention to and the GCCA project seeks to build awareness and institutional capacity and create actual physical mitigation measuresâ, Crichton added.
Under the physical adaptation part of the GCCA project, he noted, the department has planned an extension of the Cumberland/Perseverance Watershed Management Plan, which seeks to put in place a management plan for the deforested areas and all the services that persons derive from that watershed.
âWe had some work done on that already [and] institutional strengthening has been done as well,â revealed Crichton, who added that the GCCA project has trained persons on Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping which âallows persons to visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends and present geographic data.
âWe have had a number of persons doing data gathering to bolster the analysis done in the local area plans â¦ so we have trained people to collect live data and that is to input on another part of the project.â