Cuba strengthens capacities for the management of its water resources in the face of climate change
A group of 30 specialists linked to water management in Cuba, more than half of them women and a third part made up of young people under 35 years of age, strengthened their capacities in the formulation of projects related to water security in the face of climate change.
During two intense days, leaders, specialists and people dedicated to research at the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INRH), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), and the business system of the water sector in Cuba, received technical training aimed especially at the development of projects to be submitted to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Cuba, a small island developing country, faces the threat of climate change, based on its peculiar environmental characteristics. Its geographical location, configuration and morphology make it highly vulnerable to climate phenomena capable of compromising the availability of fresh water which, as recalled by Tatiana Villegas, Specialist of Culture and Science Programs of UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean:
Aware of this reality, and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda adopted by the United Nations, the Cuban government, together with the INRH, seeks solutions to mitigate and adapt to the effects of droughts, floods, as well as for the protection of the quality of terrestrial waters.
affirmed Dulce María Buergo, President of the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO (CNCU), present at the opening of the event, who also recognized UNESCO’s willingness to accompany the Caribbean country in its efforts to achieve compliance with the SDGs.
Held on December 13 and 14, 2021, the workshop is an initiative of the project ‘Strengthening capacities for the formulation of projects and the strategy aimed at expanding water security in Cuba in the face of climate change impacts’, coordinated and implemented by UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Havana, together with the CNCU, in close collaboration with national institutions of the Government of Cuba such as the INRH, within the United Nations Cooperation Framework for Sustainable Development in Cuba 2020-2024.
“Giving water the value that corresponds to it, a blue gold that must be protected”, was the premise that encouraged the development of this training, as Tatiana Villegas pointed out in her opening remarks, who highlighted the strategic priority given in Cuba to the incorporation of environmental, climate and disaster risk considerations into socioeconomic development strategies at the national and territorial levels.
For this reason, the project, as a whole, “also seeks to support the implementation of the use of electric cars nationwide within the water resources management system, contributing to the creation of infrastructures for carbon-free land transportation,” UNESCO representative emphasized.
The Director of International Affairs and Bilateral Collaboration of the INRH, Fermín Sarduy Quintanilla, for his part, highlighted the relevance of this initiative for the national strategy aimed at expanding water security in Cuba in the face of climate change impacts.
The technical training was enabled by national and international experts. The first day was devoted to the presentation, by INRH specialists, of the characteristics of Cuban hydraulic sector and the State Plan for Confronting Climate Change “Life Task”. It included a panel on climate finance in Cuba and national experiences in project formulation, by Dr. Wenceslao Carrera Doral, Coordinator of CUBAENERGÍA Programmes.
The international consultant Ms. Jessica Jacobs, CEO of SURECO & Partners and expert in climate finance and digital innovation, made an introduction to the GCF, which continued during the second day with training on specific issues of project formulation for this financing instrument within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
With an active participation of the attendees and the moderation of Ms. Jacobs, other practical sessions accompanied the presentations during the second day of the workshop, which resulted in the preparation of fundamental inputs to advance in the conception of the Concept Note for a possible project to be submitted by INRH to the GCF.
Closing the event, the international consultant Ms. Jacobs, who was also a GCF specialist in Dialogue with countries for Latin America and the Caribbean, shared with the participants her gratitude for having been invited to the workshop, and stressed her interest and responsibility in continuing the collaboration with this initiative.
The attendees expressed their satisfaction with the training quality and the level of debate on the subject, and ratified their commitment to continue the process of submitting a project to the GCF to strengthen adaptation and mitigation capacities in the face of climate change in the Cuban hydraulic sector.