Climate change worry

sherieholder, sherieholder@nationnews.com

Added 14 October 2012

newallanwilliamscardi

IT IS NOT a matter of if, but or when. Climate change is rapidly taking place in the region and it is a matter of national priority and should be treated as such, says Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) consultant on agro-biodiversity conservation, Allan Williams. There have been growing concerns that the Caribbean region’s food sovereignty could soon be impacted negatively due to the devastating impacts of climate change. Speaking to the DAILY NATION following a presentation on The Importance of Agro-biodiversity – a Conservation Policy, during a climate change CARDI/CTA session today, Williams said regional leaders should begin to look at the issue of climate change as a priority on their agenda. The session forms part of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture meetings and celebration taking place at the Grand Royal Antiguan Beach Resort this week. “Climate change is really a geographic shift in the climate. Species will move with the geographic shift but we can’t move. So this is not a if, when, or but situation. We have to start taking into stock how we deal with this new climate that is coming to us,” said Williams. Painting a worrying picture that Caribbean leaders and a number of climate change related organizations were “uncertain” about what exactly was likely to happen to the region in terms of its ability to be able to feed itself over the coming years, Williams, who is also a farmer, said CARDI was working to bring more awareness in governments in CARICOM as to the need for policies to address already noticeable climate change issues. “We don’t know what to do. So our best bet is to keep open as many options as we can . . .and to keep options open you need to have diversity,” he added. During his presentation, Williams argued that it was the duty of policymakers and governments to move swiftly to develop and implement the necessary policies and framework which would help protect the region against the eminent negative impacts of climate change. “Climate change is not really a matter of taking a chance it is a matter of national priority and it is a matter of getting those national priorities adopted by policymakers,” he said. “We need to respond at levels commensurate with management. We need to prioritize the support structure for on farm agro-biodiversity conservation. We need to link farmers to new information for risk management strategy. We need to link research institutions to policy governance such that the research can be fed into strategic plans, and we need to coordinate activities across stakeholders,” proposed Williams. (MM)  

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