Deputy Chief of Mission Gives Remarks at the closing ceremony for the USAID Climate Change Adaptation Program, November 18, 2020

Deputy Chief of Mission Gives Remarks at the closing ceremony for the USAID Climate Change Adaptation Program, November 18, 2020

(as prepared)


Hon. Dr. Douglas Slater, Assistant Secretary General, CARICOM Secretariat,
Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director – the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre,
DCM Joaquin Monserrate, US Embassy Bridgetown,
Ambassador Karen Williams, US Embassy Paramaribo ,
Representatives from the Government of Guyana,
Representatives from governments in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean,
Representatives from regional organizations,
Members of the private sector,
Members of the media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

It is a tremendous pleasure and honor for me to attend today’s closing ceremony for the USAID Climate Change Adaptation Program. This event represents an important milestone in strengthening climate science networks that are necessary to protect the region’s vast assets from natural hazards. It also signals the enduring partnership the U.S. Government has with the Government, and the people, of Guyana.

As we all know, the Caribbean has endured significant weather events over the past five years, and disaster planning has become the norm on matters related to the weather. I’m pleased that this project has resulted in sound evidence-based decision-making guided by sound data, which should help policy makers in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean make more informed decisions about the safety and prosperity of its citizens.

I am proud that USAID considers climate risk when it programs development assistance, much as it considers other risks. This program supported the installation of automatic weather stations, coral reef early warning systems and a light detection and ranging equipment to support climate related data gathering in Guyana and across the region. To reinforce what has already been mentioned, 50 weather stations were installed across the region including 21 that were donated to the Hydrometeorological Services office in the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Climate Change Office in the Office of the Presidency. The expansion of data networks and increase to data and sample size helps improve modeling data to better predict weather patterns.

In a country such as Guyana that has significant differences in the topography and climatic conditions across the country, the new stations provide scientists and meteorologists with new and more robust data. The data generated also has direct application in the agriculture and aquaculture, water resources, coastal zone management, health and tourism sectors. For example, farmers are provided with periodic precipitation forecasts which they can use to select crops and plan their planting cycles. Fishermen, tourism businesses and water resources managers can also access hydro-meteorological data to support the decision-making component of their enterprises.

I hope that information gained from these 21 new stations and the others in the region greatly assist in Guyana’s and the region’s ability to forecast events and to become self-reliant in taking proactive measures to protect its people and assets. We hope that these investments as well as others made through the Eastern and Southern Caribbean will contribute positively to individuals, communities, and the country long into the future.