CDB Approves Funds for Guyana, Climate Resilience in the Region

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) said Tuesday it had approved funds estimated at nearly three million US dollars to increase the use of technology to build greater climate resilience throughout the region and for upgrading the water sector in Guyana.

The CDB, which is holding its annual board of governors meeting here, said that the US$1.5 million grant for the climate resilience project would be executed by the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) over a three-year period.

It said it would support flight-mapping services to collect Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data for almost 10,000 square kilometres of vulnerable Caribbean coastal areas.

The grant provides resources for the preparation of an Intellectual Property Policy (IPP) and the creation of a product development and marketing strategy for the Centre, as well as the training of 38 end-users from the Bank’s borrowing member countries (BMCs) in the applications of LiDAR data.

“Generating quality scientific data and information products, data sharing, and ease of data access and transfer, are important aspects of building climate resilience across the region because they support an improved understanding of climate risks and impacts,” said Daniel Best, the director of the CDB’s Projects Department.

“LiDAR-based mapping technology can therefore assist the region in addressing some of the problems being experienced, due to the absence of geo-spatial data for decision-making, and improve the capacity of stakeholders to make better-informed decisions, for more effective management of natural hazard and climate risks,” he added.

LiDAR is a remote sensing technology used to obtain highly accurate elevation measurements of the earth’s surface. LiDAR technology is capable of simultaneously gathering both topographic and bathymetric data, which are used to provide detailed information of land and ocean floors, and offer economies of scale.

The CDB said the project fills an important gap in efforts to design new climate-resilient investments, retrofit existing infrastructure, support coastal zone management, identify natural hazards and formulate disaster risk management strategies throughout the region.

Currently, progress with these activities is being hampered by the absence of quality spatial datasets, which are often project-specific and provide limited data documentation methodology. Moreover, the cost of acquiring high quality datasets is expensive—a factor that constrains routine updating, it said, adding that the LiDAR project will enable BMCs to acquire high-resolution coastal and bathymetry datasets at significantly reduced costs, compared with commercial sources.

Meanwhile, the US$1.3 million loan to Guyana will help the Caribbean country upgrade its water sector and will be used to provide consultancy services to develop a national water policy, as well as to provide designs and estimates for the construction of water treatment plants and the upgrade of related infrastructure.

“The government of Guyana is currently seeking to enhance the management of its water resources, as well as increase the availability and access of water to communities. We expect that these funds will be used to provide technically viable solutions for the improvement of water supply to approximately 68,000 people who live along the coast as well as in the hinterland regions,” said Best.

In laying the groundwork for the construction of water treatment plants and the upgrade of existing infrastructure, under the Water Sector Enhancement Project, consultants will also conduct a study to determine the feasibility of using water from the Hope Canal for potable water purposes; prepare a national water policy, and develop recommendations for institutional strengthening.

For many residents and businesses in the coastal regions of Guyana, water supply is characterized by low water pressure. In addition, the projected impacts of climate change are expected to result in more frequent dry periods, as well as more intense rainfall. The plans for new infrastructure will incorporate climate resilient designs.

This phase of the Project is expected to be completed within 18 months and the CDB said it is consistent with its strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development within its BMCs. – CMC

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