Interview with Trevor Thompson, Acting Chief Land Use Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands of Grenada.

The small island nation of Grenada, like many other small island nations around the world, has felt the brunt of climate change. Tropical storms and hurricanes are an annual occurrence, as are drastic changes in weather from extreme rainfall and to droughts, as well as major shifts between the wet season and dry seasons. For this small island, flooding during the dry season, droughts during the rainy season, and sea level rise are just some of the many and most evident impacts of climate change in Grenada. Consequently, this also affects the island’s infrastructure, its population and their livelihoods. Farmers and communities are among those groups who are most affected.

How is climate change impacting livelihoods in Grenada?

Government expenditures have increased due to roads being damaged, affecting communities and people’s livelihoods. Many farmers are losing their livelihoods, homes are lost, businesses are affected and recovery takes a very long time.

Grenada is taking the opportunity to strengthen gender equality and social engagement through its national climate plan (Nationally Determined Contribution or NDC). Could you tell us more about that?

We have a very strong Gender Division within the Ministry of Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment in Grenada. In fact, Grenada is one of the leaders in terms having a balanced number of female and male members of Parliament and in our processes. We have a good balance between male and female in our processes. It’s part of our mandate. Gender is also a part of the NDC.

We also see the marginalization of youth and young men as a challenge. For that reason, when we talk about gender, we are talking about having a balanced view so that we are ensuring that we provide opportunities for everyone, and not just for one sector or one group.

We have a very strong relationship with community groups, and at the community level we have, within each ministry, a climate change focal point whose responsibility is to ensure mainstreaming climate change in their focus area. For example, we have one focal point who focuses on tourism. That individual works with all the players in the tourism sector; same for the utilities, also for agriculture, education, et cetera.

How does Grenada achieve such a whole-of-society approach?

We also have an inter-governmental and non-governmental agency body that oversees all of the NGOs and CSOs. They are part of the National Climate Change Committee, where they provide input into all climate change activities and they provide representatives for consultations for additional input.

What are some of the next steps you are considering in the NDC process?

The NDC did not have well developed concepts. It had areas of interest, but we know developing these into full-blown project proposals and concepts –for example, for renewables; transport and waste. Since we did not have an implementation plan with clear timelines for deliverables, we are in the process of developing a roadmap for NDC implementation for Grenada. We hope that this will bring some clarity to the way forward for implantation of NDCs.

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