Nelson Island and Fort San Andres will be among the first Heritage sites to benefit from research conducted through the Resilient Heritage Trinidad and Tobago project.
The revelation came from Minister of Planning and Development, Pennelope Beckles-Robinson during the opening ceremony of the “Keeping Heritage Above Water” (KHAW) conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Port-of-Spain.
This is the first time the KHAW conference is being held outside of the USA and the conference is a component of important research conducted for the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago by the University of Florida and partner agencies, into risks and mitigations for the impact of climate change and sea level rise on coastal heritage sites and by extension the surrounding stakeholders in their vicinity.
Beckles-Robinson said these sites were prioritised due to their risk of being among the first impacted by climate change and sea level rise.
“These sites are historically, socially and economically important,” she said.
“Resilient Heritage Trinidad and Tobago also involves engagement with stakeholders, data sharing and knowledge transfer and the information being gathered throughout the course of the project would ultimately feed into the creation of conservation and adaptation management plans with prioritised recommendations for the preservation and ongoing maintenance of the named Heritage sites.”
She added that the project will serve as a model that can be replicated to “increase climate resilience for many other Heritage sites across Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region.”
She said the two-year project was launched in April 2022 and is a collaborative effort made possible through a grant of US $190,960 from the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation in collaboration with the University of Florida Historic Preservation Programme and the Kreg Group partners.
Also speaking at the event, US Ambassador to T&T Candace Bond said combating climate change is a shared goal of both countries.
“We are very proud to be your partners in this effort,” she said.
Ambassador Bond noted that the effects of climate change and the rising sea level are witnessed annually in T&T.
“One can see the damage from persistent and damage from devastating flooding which occurs almost every time there is a torrential rainfall, especially during high tides,” she said.
“We need to change the way we think about the infrastructural design of our cities, ports, agriculture, housing and public buildings and we need to consider climate change on food security and economic development.”