Saturday, October 13, 2012

Honduras: IDB to help indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities cope with climate change

About 7,000 people will benefit with a $4.4 million grant to finance irrigation projects, risk prevention and renewable energy

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $4.4 million grant to boost indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples’ ability to adapt to and mitigate climate change and to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

The grant, funded by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) of the IDB, amounted to 3.5 million euros.

The contribution will finance small-scale irrigation projects, risk-prevention infrastructure projects, and renewable energy projects — all proposed by the communities — benefitting nearly 7,000 people in Honduras. The Central American country is considered the third most affected by extreme weather events caused by climate change, including rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and rising sea levels.

The irrigation ventures are expected to boost agricultural output in targeted communities by 70 percent, while implementation of local renewable energy solutions is anticipated to produce 250 kilowatt/hours of electricity per day.

Additionally, the program will train 100 community leaders and 900 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students in ways and means to reduce the effects of climate change vulnerability in their localities.

The indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities represent 7 percent of the population. Of those living in rural areas, 20 percent are poor and 80 percent are extremely poor.

The irrigation projects will seek to tackle growing water scarcity problems posed by a reduction in total annual rainfall and the amounts accumulated during dry summer months, particularly in indigenous and Afro districts in inter-mountainous areas in the northern, central, and western parts of the country.

The NDF is a multilateral development fund established by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in 1989. It has since financed 190 development assistance projects worth 1 billion euros.