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Public meeting planned as part of climate change risk assessment

Community 24 May, 2022 Follow News

Public meeting planned as part of climate change risk assessment

A public meeting is planned for Wednesday, 25 May as part of the ongoing climate change risk assessment being undertaken by the Cayman Islands Government in partnership with the Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH).

Representatives from Cefas and UKCEH are visiting Grand Cayman to facilitate the public meeting, interviews with local news media, and a two-day, invitation-only technical workshop with stakeholders from the public sector, non-governmental agencies and academia.

Premier and Minister of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Hon. G. Wayne Panton, JP, MP said the climate change risk assessment is a critical first step in reviewing and updating the Cayman Islands’ Climate Change Policy.

“The risk assessment framework is a means of agreeing and prioritising mitigation and adaptation actions to protect human life, our natural environment, and our economic prosperity. The stakeholder input received throughout this process will help us develop a robust climate change policy and strategy for the Cayman Islands,” Panton said. “We are grateful to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for their support, and to the visiting scientists from Cefas and UKCEH for their guidance and expertise.”

Following extensive desktop research, Cefas and UKCEH have together drafted a detailed ‘evidence report’ that offers the most detailed assessment of climate change impacts ever undertaken for the Cayman Islands. From this report, Cefas compiled a ‘long-list’ of 52 key risks and opportunities related to biodiversity and habitats, the economy and society. Over the course of a two-day technical workshop, local stakeholders and regional experts will review, score and rank this list to inform a final report which is expected to be completed by September 2022.

Dr. John Pinnegar, Cefas Principal Scientist and Lead Advisor (Climate Change), said the assessment is an important step to building local resiliency.

“Cefas are delighted to be working with the Cayman Islands Government and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on this Climate Change Risk Assessment. It builds on our previous work for the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) looking at ocean and marine climate change threats facing all of the UK Overseas Territories. The Cayman Islands will face many challenges in the future, including more frequent coral bleaching events, changes to the abundance and distribution of key fishery species – this assessment will help the Government identify the most pressing risks in order to build resilience,” Dr. Pinnegar said.

UKCEH Project Manager Christopher Barry said: “We are proud to be involved in finding ways to enhance climate change resilience across the Cayman Islands. This collaboration across land, sea and water is crucial for understanding the complex challenges that climate change presents for both people and nature in the Cayman Islands, and we look forward to discussing these findings with its stakeholders.”

The public is encouraged to tune in to Radio Cayman at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, 24 May, to learn more about the climate change risk assessment from representatives of the Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency, the Department of Environment, Cefas and UKCEH.

H. E. Governor Martyn Roper said he was pleased the UK has been able to offer both technical support and funding to help provide the Cayman Islands with a comprehensive Climate Change Risk Assessment for all three islands.

“I am pleased that colleagues from the Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology are able to visit in person to carry out the workshop which will see stakeholders with a variety of expertise come together to identify key climate change risks,” Roper said. “I know there is much interest in this initiative so I encourage the community to attend the public meeting or to take part in the survey and make your contribution to this important initiative which will benefit everyone across the Cayman Islands.”

Details for the public event are as follows:

Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, 25 May

Location: Constitution Hall, George Town

Later this week, the Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency will also launch a public questionnaire to evaluate knowledge, attitudes and practices related to climate change in the Cayman Islands.

For more updates on the progress of this important project, please visit: https://www.gov.ky/sustainability/

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