St. Vincent and the Grenadines is now better equipped to monitor climate change effects on coral reefs and to record weather information thanks to the acquisition of a coral reef early warning system and an automated weather station.
The procurement and installation of the equipment were made possible through USAID funding in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology and the Sustainable Development Unit within the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning.
To this end, a ceremony to officially handover the equipment was held on Wednesday, November 14th 2018 at the AIA Training room. Attendees at the ceremony represented USAID, the Caribbean Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, the Sustainable Development Unit, the MET Office, SVG Coast Guard and Forestry Department.
Head of the Sustainable Development Unit, Janeel Miller-Findlay highlighted the importance of the equipment handed over to this country and expressed gratitude for the continued support from USAID and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.
USAID Mission Director for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Christopher Cushing, stated “The use of these systems will increase the capability of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the wider region to anticipate and manage the impacts of changing weather patterns”.
Accordingly, Cushing said the coral reef early warning system and the automated weather station are part of on-going efforts to mitigate the impact of natural hazards in the region. Cushing disclosed that the United States Government funded project cost US $ 105,000.00 to procure and install the climate and marine monitoring equipment.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Dr. Kenrick Lesley, strongly urged persons responsible for the maintenance of the 2 pieces of equipment to conduct regular checks to ensure prolonged use and reliable data recording. Dr. Lesley explained that the SVG Coast Guard has a role to play in safeguarding the coral reef early warning system. This, he said, in response to a question from a member of the media who raised concerns about vandalism of the coral reef early warning system. He also pointed out that this country is solely responsible for the upkeep of the equipment however expertise is available should the need arises.
The coral reef early warning system was placed in the waters of Southern Grenadines whilst the automated weather station is already installed and in operation on site at the Argyle International Airport (AIA).