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Min. of Environment host One-Day Symposium on Climate Change

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Thursday, July 21, 2005 - A call has been sounded here for issues surrounding global climate change and its impacts on small island developing states of the Caribbean to be addressed with urgency. The latest call came Thursday, as the Ministry of Physical Development, Environment and Housing staged a one-day symposium on Climate Change and Food Production at the Cara Suites hotel in La Pansee.

Organized in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation in Agriculture (IICA) and several stakeholder groups, Thursday’s exercise sought to draw on the experiences of the past half century, as exemplified in the last two hurricane seasons, which resulted in increased loss of life and significant damages.

IICA’s representative Una-May Gordon said the challenges of climate change pose a real threat for the region’s ability to meet its goal of food security. In this regard she said efforts must be intensified at repositioning the agricultural industries of the region, if they are to survive in the 21st century.

According to Gordon, “In the past, progress in agricultural development has often resulted in environmental degradation, polluted water supplies, degraded soils, loss of biodiversity and wild life habitat and displacement of rural peoples.”

Over the next 30-50 years, it is believed that world population will more than double.

“The challenge to agriculture then will be to meet the food needs of this vastly increased population on a reduced acreage of farm land and with water shortages,” Gordon said.

Ms. Gordon called for a new institutional framework that would according to her, “transform rural isolation into a network of hemispheric prosperity.”

IICA she said had broadened its mandate to include more than just providing technical support, to become more proactive in terms of bringing agriculture, environment and rural development issues into the wider debate.

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