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Last week a major step was made towards an urgent carbon-neutral future for Caribbean Tourism.
Faced with potential sea level rise, coastal erosion, extreme weather events, an increase in disease and consequent loss of employment, sustainable livelihoods and economic development - the meeting emphasised the importance of action.
Earlier, Oxford University had teamed up with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to investigate the opportunities available in the Caribbean and to develop an integrated and holistic practical approach to climate change challenges. Visits were arranged by experts in the field of tourism and climate change from the Universities of Waterloo, Lund and Oxford.
After the initial visits, a symposium was arranged to share experiences. Ranged around the table at Merton College, Oxford’s oldest college, last week, were representatives of the whole range of stakeholders from throughout the Caribbean area.
Delegates included representatives of Caribbean Tourism Ministries; academics; the Caribbean Tourism Organisation; donors and development agencies; development banks including the World Bank and the Inter American Development Bank; environmental organisations such as the Nature Conservancy, WWF, the Rainforest Alliance and Conservation International.
The two day symposium included sessions on understanding, adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects and development. Presentations were made on scenarios operating in the pilot Caribbean countries. Break out workshops shared experiences to provide plans for the future.
A climate-neutral Caribbean beckons. The next step is a major meeting in Nassau, this September.
The Caribsave partnership has 7 principal objectives:
- To model regional, national and destinational climate-change potential
- To assess vulnerabilities
- To measure and evaluate knock-on impacts on tourism and livelihoods
- To inform and develop regional policy
- To develop, implement and monitor adaptation and mitigation strategies
- To build capacity and transfer skills through design and implementation of initiatives
- To create the world’s first ‘Carbon Neutral’ tourism region