Canada Supports St. Lucia in Boosting Resilience in Water Management

Water for Resilience project advances in second Eastern Caribbean country

March 27, 2024
group of people posing for a photo in a meeting room

Participants of the Water For Resilience inception workshops in Castries, St. Lucia.

Castries - St. Lucia is on its way to more efficient and resilient national water management systems.

Government officials and other national stakeholders recently convened in Castries for the inception workshop of the Strengthening Resilient Water Management in the Eastern Caribbean project, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Canada.

The Strengthening Resilient Water Resource Management in the Eastern Caribbean – or Water for Resilience (W4R) – Project is designed to support vulnerable communities in the islands of Grenada, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to increase access to secure, nature-friendly water supplies and enhance ecosystem conservation for improved water resources management, both in communities and at the governance level. The project also includes a regional knowledge-sharing component to enhance water management practices. It is funded with a contribution of CAD$4.8 million (USD$3.53 million) from the Government of Canada.

The workshop held at the Union Orchid Garden served as a critical touchpoint to ensure the implementation of the regional project in Saint Lucia is well-adapted to local and national needs. 

In his opening remarks, Director of Saint Lucia’s Water Resources Management Agency, Jason Ernest, welcomed the initiative, noting that it will help fill critical data and information gaps.

“Water is important for all aspect of life and as we continue to develop, the demand continues to outpace supply. Are we being efficient? All land-based activities affect water resources and therefore building resilience in the sector needs an integrated water resource management approach. Stakeholders need to interact and be informed. To ensure success, data and information is key,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, UNDP Cluster Lead, Dr. Mohammad Nagdee, told participants: “Through improving national and local capacities to deploy resilient local water systems, digitizing historical hydrometeorological data for better water monitoring and climate adaptation, and advancing community-driven solutions that embrace gender equality and environmental rights, we are setting a new standard for water resource management in the region.”

He highlighted that the W4R initiative aims to counter the threats posed by climate change, pollution, and unsustainable consumption by empowering communities, promoting women’s meaningful inclusion in water resource management, and enhancing ecosystem conservation.

Senior International Assistance Officer of the High Commission of Canada, Natalie Hutchinson, underscored the importance of community ownership of water resource management initiatives to ensure lasting impact. She said, “This initiative will be making a particular effort to ensure that community voices are included and engaged. It is many of you who understand the peculiarities of water issues in your communities, and we count on you to share your ideas, knowledge, and experience with the team.”

She added that, with its extensive experience in watershed management, it was anticipated that Saint Lucia would bring great value to the project’s knowledge-sharing component as it relates to conservation and enhancement of national spaces to improve water quality, reduce erosion and landslides, and create microclimates to combat drought.

woman standing at podium and speaking to roomful of seated meeting participants

Senior International Assistance Officer of the High Commission of Canada, Natalie Hutchinson, addressing the workshop.

The W4R project team is conducting a similar exercise in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this week, having done so in Grenada at the end of 2023. 

The Water for Resilience project is part of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean's commitment to building resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises while reducing gender vulnerabilities. As climate change effects become more prevalent in the region, it is vital that developmental efforts continue to reinforce the need for regional resilience and bolstering livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups. 

About UNDP

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. 

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