By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas is being significantly affected by climate change, according to the acting director of the BEST Commission.
Rochelle Newbold told The Tribune on Friday that despite the country not being a major contributor to greenhouse gases, it is time to assess the losses and damage we are experiencing due to climate change.
She was speaking as the BEST Commission - Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology - held a workshop on Friday.
The workshop focused on ways to implement the Third National Communication and the First Biennial Update report to the United States Framework Convention on climate change – used to communicate The Bahamas' national progress on meeting the goals of climate change.
Ms Newbold said we are “significantly impacted by climate change”.
She said: “It is very important for us to be able to identify and assess issues relative to loss and damage but also it is important for us to be able to identify adaptation mechanisms that will help us to be able to function and be resilient in this global changing world.
“It’s important for us to make sure we develop capacity so that we can be compliant with these reporting requirements. We are looking at avenues of expanding the interest and expanding the skill sets of Bahamians to be able to help contribute to this information.”
Ms Newbold said climate change is a "new, emerging thing" and opportunities are available for people to gain training and knowledge in the field.
She said that the reporting requirement was being introduced across the region, saying: “This is happening not just in The Bahamas but in Jamaica and Trinidad."
She added that there was an increased push for training to develop national expertise in the field. She said: “We have to do the same, we can no longer depend on international consultants to tell us what the issues are in our country. We live here, we know what the issues are in our country.”
The one-day workshop introduced the core elements of national communication, including overview of national circumstances related to climate change.
A report will be developed which will state the emissions and removal of greenhouse gases, a vulnerability and adaption assessment, mitigation assessment, financial resources and the transfer of technology and education. Along with training and public awareness, updates on national greenhouse gases inventories and information on mitigation actions taken and their effects.
The stakeholders participated in a stakeholding exercise to prepare for the project implementation plan that serves as the blueprint for the implementation of the Third National Communication and First Biennial Update report to the convention.
The workshop was designed to acquire the feedback of stakeholders on different topics relating to climate change, mitigation, greenhouse inventories, adaption, loss and damage and the process and institutional design of the preparation of the reports.