JIS News

The Fifth Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management, which will take place from October 9 to 14 at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay, will include discussions on issues affecting Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Co-chair of the Inter-American Water Resources Network, Basil Fernandez stressed that, “without water there is no development,” and pointed out that many countries in the hemisphere still lacked the policy, legislative and institutional framework to undertake effective water management.
Addressing a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, Mr. Fernandez identified some of the issues affecting the SIDS, noting that funding was a major factor, that is, identifying avenues from which money could be allocated; and promoting investment opportunities in water management within the hemisphere.
Speaking of risk management, he emphasized the need to look at the Caribbean’s susceptibility to frequent hurricanes and earthquakes. These natural disasters, he stated, had serious impact on water resources in terms of both management and water supply delivery.
Mr. Fernandez also pointed out that small islands have alternative cycles of drought and flood, and in an effort to take a more pro-active approach to these issues, the development of a flood policy within the water resources area and a flood water control master plan, would be examined.
“We are also very susceptible to climate change,” Mr. Fernandez added, and pointed out that if “we begin experiencing sea level rises in the Caribbean, most of our towns and major investments would be affected since they are along the coast”.
He made note of a Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed in Japan in 2003 between the Caribbean and the South Pacific (SOPAC), in an effort to merge work and interests between both regions in integrated water resource management and the issue of rising sea levels.