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Cuba takes climate change seriously

As part of the process of adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change, a programme has been developed on the Caribbean island to reduce the agricultural sector’s vulnerabilities and safeguard long-term food production.


Marnie Fiallo Gómez


From the perspective of agricultural production, the project  —Environmental Fundamentals for Local Food Sustainability, or BASAL in the Spanish abbreviation— confronts the increasingly frequent and intense incidence of drought, and the rising air temperatures and sea levels caused by global warming.

Thirty-three municipalities in Cuba are taking part in this initiative, which began in 2013 under the guidance of Cuba’s Environment Agency, the Institute of Tropical Geography and the Ministry of Agriculture.

National and local institutions are involved in the implementation of the project, which includes promoting knowledge and methodologies of adaptation measures that fit local conditions, as one of the programme’s farmers, Joel Báez, told Prensa Latina.

He also emphasised that the programme trains producers and promotes the use of 42 good practices and technologies for agriculture, as well as the impact of the effects of global warming on crop yields.

The most notable results include improved quality of produce and services, the delivery of technological equipment —such as efficient irrigation systems— incorporation of green manure for improved soil preparation, acquisition of seeds and the incorporation of varieties that are more resistant to climate change, Báez commented.

“In essence, BASAL is a platform to share knowledge, experience and to enrich the local response to climate change in the agricultural sector; it directly benefits 14,505 actors,” he stated.

The project is administered by the United Nations Development Programme, and supported by the European Union’s Joint Research Centre and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Union of Caribbean Nations

Today, erosion is a widespread phenomenon affecting Caribbean beaches. Therefore, protecting these areas from the effects of global warming is the essence of the project: Impact of Climate Change on Sandy Coasts: Alternatives for its Control.

Lead by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), Cuba and the  Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), this regional initiative proposes sharing best practice to avoid the loss of diversity of flora and fauna, as well as effects on tourism and coastal communities.

The aim is to slow down the estimated rate of coastline erosion, mainly caused by the progressive rise of sea levels recorded in recent decades, linked to the effects of climate change and the incidence of harmful human activity.

Among the harmful human activity in these areas, the following stand out: extraction of sand for various purposes; the construction of roads, hotels and other buildings on the dunes; the incorrect location of coastal protection works; damming or diverting rivers; and the damage caused to coral reefs and seagrasses.

It also responds to the challenge of a decline in the volume of sediments, which has a negative effect on the natural mechanism of sand supply.

ACS representative for this project, Heidy Linares, told Prensa Latina that although everyone will benefit, ten nations are direct participants (Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Granada, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago).

She stated that the idea includes the creation, in 2019, of a team to monitor each of the participating countries’ coastlines; the rehabilitation phase has been started and before the end of the year the Erosion Monitoring Network should be underway. (PL)

(Translated by Rebecca Ndhlovu – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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