“Climate change is real…there is no doubt about it! Since the 80s and 90s, Antigua has been going through a drought situation but we’re now at what we probably could term a crisis situation…crisis because if we look at the Potworks Dam which was the main source of our water, for I would say 85% of the island…we can see what has happened there.” These were the words of Honourable Samantha Marshall, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resources, Gender and Youth Affairs at the opening of a National Drought Risk Management Workshop held in Antigua and Barbuda from May 22nd – 24th, 2019.
It was one (1) of three (3) National Drought Risk Management Workshops put on by the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), Cap-Net UNDP (Caribbean WaterNet) and The Faculty of Food and Agriculture of The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine between May and June 2019. The three (3) workshops were carried out in the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda (May 22nd – 24th, 2019)
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines (May 29th – 31st, 2019)
- St. Kitts and Nevis (June 5th – 7th, 2019)
Each of the workshops spanned three (3) days, and targeted specific agencies at the national level who are directly involved in water resource management in their respective countries. The three (3) workshops carried the same focus. This being to increase the understanding of participants regarding droughts and the associated risks, as well as inform management and mitigation plans and policies.
Honourable Samantha Marshall, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resources, Gender and Youth Affairs is seen here delivering her feature address at the opening of the National Drought Risk Management Workshop in Antigua and Barbuda.
The workshop in Antigua and Barbuda kicked-off the series of training events. This workshop saw the participation of twenty-eight (28) representatives from various community groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other agencies. The workshop allowed for practical training, group activities and various facilitated sessions. Dr. Roopnarine, Network Manager of Caribbean WaterNet (Cap-Net UNDP) was the main workshop facilitator for all workshops. At the training in Antigua and Barbuda, two (2) other specialists also facilitated sessions. They were Professor Jacob Opadeyi and Dr. Mark Wuddivira, Head of the Food Production Department at The UWI, St. Augustine.
The second instalment of the workshop took place in St. Vincent and the Grenadinesfrom May 29th – 31st, 2019. There was a good representation of stakeholders in the three-day training, from a range of national agencies. Like the training held in Antigua and Barbuda, participants were able to gain valuable knowledge on drought risk management and reduction. The facilitators of this workshop were Dr. Roopnarine and Dr. Gaius Eudoxie, Deputy Dean in The Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The UWI, St. Augustine.
The third workshop in St. Kitts and Nevis began on June 5th, 2019. During the workshop’s opening ceremony, Dr. Ronald Roopnarine, Network Manager of Caribbean WaterNet (Caribbean arm of Cap-Net UNDP) said “Drought Risk Management is something that has been neglected in the Caribbean region.”
Dr. Ronald Roopnarine, Network Manager of Caribbean WaterNet is seen here facilitating one of the sessions at the National Drought Risk Management Workshop in Antigua and Barbuda.
The National Drought Risk Management workshop in St. Kitts and Nevis kicked off on the United Nations World Environment Day (June 5th) and saw the participation of over twenty (20) national stakeholders. Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister of Agriculture, Health, National Health Insurance, Human Settlement, Community Development, Gender Affairs, Social Services, Cooperatives and Lands of St. Kitts and Nevis, gave the feature address at the opening of the event. In his remarks he said “My government will continue to undertake and support various actions that will ensure that St. Kitts and Nevis builds its resilience to minimise the impacts of drought. The actions will also serve as a driver to undertake various activities, classifying progress in achieving the country’s Sustainable Development Goals.” The Minister gave his full endorsement of the training and its critical importance to St. Kitts and Nevis.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony of the Drought Risk Management workshop was Ms. Simone Lewis, Regional Coordinator of the GWP-C. In her remarks she stressed GWP-C’s commitment to support Caribbean countries to better manage their water resources, which included building capacity in areas such as drought risk management in the region.
The twenty (20) workshop participants successfully completed the three-day training and as was done in the previous two (2) national drought workshops, they were awarded certificates by GWP-C, Cap-Net UNDP (Caribbean WaterNet) and The Faculty of Food and Agriculture of The UWI St. Augustine.
GWP-C in collaboration with Cap-Net UNDP (Caribbean WaterNet) and The Faculty of Food and Agriculture of The UWI, St. Augustine, successfully completed three (3) national training workshops on Drought Risk Management in three (3) countries. Overall this means that at least sixty (60) stakeholders were trained in this area.
An evaluation of the three (3) national workshops showed that in each case:
- Participants all had an improved understanding of drought risk management and reduction in the context of their county.
- They had an improved understanding of strategic development and adaptation planning.
- They gained a better understanding of drivers and impacts of droughts.
- They learnt how to design and plan a risk assessment as it pertains to droughts.
- All participants were trained in drought risk management.
- Participants in the workshops had the opportunity to share experiences, find responses to their questions and provide applicable tools and mechanisms to be active advocates and participants in Drought Risk Management.
GWP-C intends to continue its collaboration with Cap-Net UNDP (Caribbean WaterNet) in the area of capacity building on drought risk management and reduction and other areas related to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) for the benefit of the Caribbean region.