Posted: Friday, August 27, 2021. 12:08 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Four Cuban coastal development experts from Cuba’s GAMMA Institute are conducting a coastal erosion assessment in Dangriga and Hopkins where erosion is eating up the beachfront at an alarming rate due to the adverse effects of climate change, said the National Climate Change Office (NCCO).
The NCCO which is part of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management said last Friday, August 20, they welcomed the Cuban team which started the field assessment on Tuesday, August 24.
The NCCO said the coastal erosion assessment is a collaboration with Cuba’s Institute of Marine Sciences and the GAMMA Institute through an MOU with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
“We know the causes of erosion and that these impacts are human-driven so we are eager to look at the options that will help us to address these fundamental issues,” said Climate Change Minister, Orlando Habet, as he welcomed the Cuban experts.
The NCCO said a March 2019 preliminary assessment of coastal erosion in both communities “showed that the shoreline has retreated to about 20-25 feet over the past five years.” The objective of the assessment is to identify how erosion can be alleviated and deliver benefits to groups affected by the effects of climate change.
“One of the areas the Centre is very interested in is the utilization of the ecosystem-based approaches,” said Executive Director of the CCCCC’s, Dr. Colin Young. “These areas will require quite a bit of resources.”
“This is also an excellent opportunity to educate the people who live in the communities about this interaction between sea-level rise, climate change, and land use issues that when you take sand from the river, cut down the mangroves and others, it will accelerate the coastal changes.”
The GAMMA team should complete its assessment of the beach and nearshore system in Dangriga by September 12. The NCCO said the study should develop a shoreline recovery and stabilization project for Dangriga and Hopkins.
“This trilateral cooperation is important because it combines the skills of Cuba with that of 5Cs and the local entities,” said Cuban Embassy Counsellor Orestes Hernandez.
The NCCO said the assessment is funded under the Fourth National Communication and First Biennial Update Report and the Enabling Gender-Responsive Disaster Recovery, Climate Change and Environmental Resilience in the Caribbean (EnGenDER) projects, and the Government of Belize.
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