The Virgin Islands has led the way regionally in implementation of the five-year OECS iLAND Resilience Project and was featured highly at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) iLAND Resilience Project Closure Conference held in Saint Lucia from April 25 to 26.
The Territory achieved the largest absorption of project funds by any participating Member State (16% of the total €10.6 million project funding) and largest portfolio of successfully implemented iLAND Resilience formally known as the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) Project on Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in the Eastern Caribbean.
The Cane Garden Bay Revetment, completed in July 2017, is one of the major success stories and flagships of the iLAND Resilience Project and has become flagship at the regional level. The boulder structure was engineered based on a coastal dynamics study to protect the critical coastal road into Cane Garden Bay from storm surge associated with a Category 4 hurricane and one meter sea level rise. The revetment actually withstood the unprecedented storm surge of Category 5 Hurricane Irma and now serves as a regional model for coastal defense. Other on-the-ground projects included road drainage improvements in Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay.
The Territory’s first approved National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) developed through the enVIsion 2040 public consultative process was also delivered under the project. The NPDP consists of a series of land use maps and polices that together guide planning and development for the next 20 years and provides a comprehensive investment strategy that supports growth, climate change resiliency, sustainable land management, disaster risk management and sustainability.
Along the vein of strengthening national policies and plans, iLAND Resilience also delivered the adopted Climate Change Trust Fund Operational Manual, the draft Land and Marine Estate Policy, best practice recommendations for implementation of the Revised OECS Building Codes and Building Guidelines and the Draft Environmental Management and Climate Change Bill.
The Territory also benefitted from a hydrology and coastal dynamics study in Cane Garden Bay and Brewers Bay and additional project designs to address flooding and coastal erosion in those communicates along with the procurement of equipment to retrofit the Cane Garden Bay Sewage Treatment plant, a weather station and GPS devices to enhance climate monitoring and data gathering efforts.
The Closure Conference was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, which served as the Project Focal Point, including Deputy Secretary, Mr. Joseph Smith-Abbott; Climate Change Officers, Ms. Angela Burnett and Ms. Pearline George. Representatives from key implementing agencies also attended, including the Acting Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works, Ms. Haley Trott; Acting Director of the Public Works Department, Mr. Navarro Donovan and Chief Planner for the Department of Town and Country Planning, Mr. Gregory Adams.
Consultants, Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal and Mr. George de Bert Romilly engaged under the project, also participated in the conference.
Photo 1: The Virgin Islands delegation at the OECS iLAND Resilience Project Closure Conference in Saint Lucia (Provided)
Photo 2: Completed Cane Garden Bay Revetment delivered under the OECS iLAND Resilience Project (Provided)