Cuba

Cuba is a large island located at the border of the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The island’s terrain is generally flat, but mountains that reach up to 2,000 meters in height can be found in the southeast. The country’s climate is tropical and it experiences a dry season from November to April and a rainy season from May to October (USDS, 2010). The population of Cuba is 11.2 million, with 75 per cent of the population residing in urban areas (USDS, 2010). The average monthly salary of workers is US$18, and the workforce is primarily employed within the following sectors: 42 per cent in services (including education, health and social services); 19 per cent in agriculture; 12 per cent in commerce and tourism; 6 per cent in transport, storage and communication; 5 per cent in construction; and 2 per cent in mining, electricity, gas and water (USDS, 2010). As the majority of the country’s means of production are owned and run by the government, approximately 83 per cent of the population of Cuba is employed by the state (USDS, 2010).

The National Environment Strategy 2007/2010 is the guiding document for Cuban environmental policy. It defines the five main environmental issues in Cuba (land degradation, factors affecting forest coverage, pollution, loss of biological diversity and water scarcity) and proposes the policies and instruments for their prevention, solution or minimization in order to improve environmental protection and the rational use of national resources. Additionally Cuba prepared its National Strategy and National Action Plan (NAP) for the Combat of Desertification and Drought in 2000. As part of the National Communication process, Cuba established a myriad of institutional and legal frameworks for climate change. Cuba has established the National Climate Change Group to bring together all the relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions. The Group is led by the Climate Centre under the Institute of Meteorology of the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment.

The main island of Cuba is the largest island in the West Indies, with a total land area of 104,945 km². The total area of the country as a whole, including the Isla de la Juventud (2,200 km2) and around 4,195 keys and small islands, is 110,860 km2. The country lies between latitudes 20º 12' 36'' and 23º 17' 09''N and longitudes 80º 53' 55'' and 84º 57' 54''W. The topography is mostly flat to rolling, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast and south-central area. The Cuban mountain range system is formed by four massifs covering 1,959,400 ha, equivalent to 18% of the surface of the Cuban archipelago. The surface cover of Cuba consists of cropland and crop/natural vegetation mosaics (44%), shrub lands, savanna and grasslands (24%), forests (23%) and wetlands (9%) (Earth Trends, 2003).

Related Content

Cuba AF Project Proposal

Cuba proposal for "Reduction of vulnerability to coastal flooding through ecosystem-based adaptation in the south of Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces"

Reducing vulnerability to coastal flooding through ecosystem-based adaptation in Cuba

Mangroves cover more than 5% of the total area of Cuba and play a vital protective role against effects of storm surges and sea level rise. This UNDP-supported project, "Reduction of vulnerability to coastal flooding through ecosystem-based adaptation in the south of Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces," seeks to reduce the vulnerability of communities in coastal areas of Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces from climate change related coastal erosion, flooding and saltwater intrusion.

Photos: 
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Thematic Area: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (-82.7929687751 22.7761815304)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Local communities in Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
$ 6,067,320
Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

With the objective of increasing the resilience of populations in the coastal regions of Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces to the effects of climate change, the project will have the following key components –

Component 1: Reduction of the impacts of coastal flooding through the recovery of coastal ecosystems Re-establishment of coastal belt of red mangrove between Surgidero de Batabanó and Punta Mora (Output 1.1); Restoration of mangrove ecosystems between Majana and Surgidero de Batabanó (Output 1.2) and; Elimination and/or control of invasive alien species in coastal wetlands between Majana and Punta Mora (Output 1.3)

Component 2: Integrated and participatory management of coastal ecosystems to increase resilience to climate change Ecosystem-based adaptation mainstreamed into integrated coastal zone planning and productive sector activities (Output 2.1); Buy-in, participation and governance in local communities (Output 2.2) and; knowledge management systems at community level (Output 2.3)

Component 3: Establishment of a favourable enabling environment at regional level for the effectiveness and sustainability of adaptation investments Consolidated information on costs and benefits of EBA available to decision makers and planners (Output 3.1); Strengthened institutions including provincial and municipal Governments, Forest Guard Corps, Frontier Guards and Fisheries Department supporting ecosystem-based adaptation actions (Output 3.2

Contacts: 
UNDP
Lyes Ferroukhi
Regional Technical Advisor
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Project Status: 

Cuba's Second National Communication - In Progress

The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities. The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

Cuba’s water sector is very vulnerable to climate variability, with rainwater its only water resource. Between 1960 and 2000, the country experienced a decline in precipitation of 10 to per cent. Coastal floods and sea water inundations are also leading to saline intrusion of the country’s groundwater aquifers. The country’s agriculture sector is also vulnerable to reduced water availability, droughts, and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. These current concerns may become more acute as in the future as the climate changes and temperatures rise. Warmer temperatures associated with climate change may also affect the health of Cuba’s population, including a possible increase in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and a rise in dengue fever, diarrhea, chicken pox and other viral illnesses.

To view progress on Cuba's SNC click here.

Photos: 
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (-82.3589879172 23.1454148409)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
420,000
Co-Financing Total: 
410,000
Project Details: 

Cuba is a large island located at the border of the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The island’s terrain is generally flat, but mountains that reach up to 2,000 meters in height can be found in the southeast. The country’s climate is tropical and it experiences a dry season from November to April and a rainy season from May to October (USDS, 2010). The population of Cuba is 11.2 million, with 75 per cent of the population residing in urban areas (USDS, 2010). The average monthly salary of workers is US$18, and the workforce is primarily employed within the following sectors: 42 per cent in services (including education, health and social services); 19 per cent in agriculture; 12 per cent in commerce and tourism; 6 per cent in transport, storage and communication; 5 per cent in construction; and 2 per cent in mining, electricity, gas and water (USDS, 2010). As the majority of the country’s means of production are owned and run by the government, approximately 83 per cent of the population of Cuba is employed by the state (USDS, 2010).

The National Environment Strategy 2007/2010 is the guiding document for Cuban environmental policy. It defines the five main environmental issues in Cuba (land degradation, factors affecting forest coverage, pollution, loss of biological diversity and water scarcity) and proposes the policies and instruments for their prevention, solution or minimization in order to improve environmental protection and the rational use of national resources. Additionally Cuba prepared its National Strategy and National Action Plan (NAP) for the Combat of Desertification and Drought in 2000. As part of the National Communication process, Cuba established a myriad of institutional and legal frameworks for climate change. Cuba has established the National Climate Change Group to bring together all the relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions. The Group is led by the Climate Centre under the Institute of Meteorology of the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment.

The main island of Cuba is the largest island in the West Indies, with a total land area of 104,945 km². The total area of the country as a whole, including the Isla de la Juventud (2,200 km2) and around 4,195 keys and small islands, is 110,860 km2. The topography is mostly flat to rolling, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast and south-central area. The Cuban mountain range system is formed by four massifs covering 1,959,400 ha, equivalent to 18% of the surface of the Cuban archipelago. The surface cover of Cuba consists of cropland and crop/natural vegetation mosaics (44%), shrub lands, savanna and grasslands (24%), forests (23%) and wetlands (9%) (Earth Trends, 2003).

Adaptation Needs and Priorities

Key Vulnerabilities

  • Agriculture/Food Security
  • Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
  • Water Resources
  • Public Health
  • Fisheries
  • Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Disasters
  • Biodiversity

As a result of its location in the western Caribbean Sea, Cuba is affected by extreme hydro-meteorological events on an annual basis, including hurricanes (UNDP, 2010). Between 1998 and 2008, Cuba was affected by over 20 tropical storms that caused widespread damage to infrastructure; however, in testament to the country’s risk reduction measures, only 35 lives were lost during these events (UNDP, 2010).

Cuba’s water sector is very vulnerable to climate variability; rainwater is its only water resource, the country experienced a decline in precipitation of 10 to per cent between 1960 and 2000 (Oxfam, 2011). Coastal floods and sea water inundations are also leading to saline intrusion of the country’s groundwater aquifers. The country’s agriculture sector is also vulnerable to reduced water availability, droughts, and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. These current concerns may become more acute as in the future as the climate changes and temperatures rise. Warmer temperatures associated with climate change may also affect the health of Cuba’s population, including a possible increase in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and a rise in dengue fever, diarrhea, chicken pox and other viral illnesses (Oxfam, 2011).

Cuba’s First National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (submitted in 2001) identifies the sectors of water, agriculture and forestry as the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and proposes a number of actions to address these impacts, including the following:

  • Freshwater sector: Improved maintenance of national water infrastructure; greater efficiency in water used for irrigation; reducing the contaminant load in bodies of water; construction of dikes against the intrusion of sea water; relocation of wells; and water conservation promotion programs.
  • Agriculture sector: Ensure greater efficiency in water use for crops through improved irrigation technology, training, and capacity building; introduction of crops that are more resistant to droughts and pests; development of agriculture and livestock production in higher elevation areas; and planting of short-cycle crop varieties.
  • Forestry sector: Reforestation and management of forests to increase coverage; replacement of firewood cooking methods with electric methods; strengthened control of poaching and extraction to discourage degradation; creation of forest plots for forest recovery; and growing involvement of the population in reforestation.

National Level Policies and Strategic Documents

Cuba has a long history of policy initiatives to address climate change. For example, in 1991, the country created a National Commission on Climate Change with a mandate to study the impacts of the phenomenon on its population, food production, water supplies and health (Oxfam, 2011). In the process of developing its First National Communication to the UNFCCC, Cuba established a number of institutional and legal frameworks for climate change, including the National Climate Change Group that brings together all relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions. In 2007, the country also launched the Cuban Society Program to Face Climate Change,which analyzes all sectors of the Cuba economy in terms of vulnerability to climate change and required adaptation measures. As part of this process, the National Water Resources Institute developed an Action Plan for Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change (Oxfam, 2011). Cuba is currently in the process of developing its Second National Communication under the UNFCCC. It also cooperates with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members on climate change initiatives, including a 2008 statement calling for increased financing to address climate change adaptation.

In addition to these efforts, Cuba has established a sophisticated national disaster risk reduction framework through the creation of a comprehensive Civil Defense System that protects lives in the case of extreme climatic events and acts as an early warning system. This system involves a series of preparatory actions, annual large-scale simulations, and a broad network of logistical support centers across the country (Oxfam, 2011; UNDP, 2010).

Current Adaptation Action

There appear to be a moderate number of adaptation actions occurring within Cuba, as compared to other countries in the region. These initiatives include:

  • CARE is currently funding an adaptation project focused on the livestock sector, which aims to build capacity, improve policy formation, and reduce risk in this area.
  • A recently completed regional project funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) aimed to improve emergency preparedness in the agriculture sectors of Cuba, Grenada, Haiti and Jamaica.

It is likely that Cuba is addressing adaptation needs through more initiatives given the long engagement of the government on this issue.

Proposed Adaptation Action

No proposed adaptation actions in Cuba have been identified to date.

Assessment

At the policy level, Cuba appears to have made considerable progress in addressing the impacts of climate change on its key sectors, as well as in establishing a sophisticated disaster risk reduction system. Through its relatively moderate number of current discrete adaptation projects, it is addressing needs related to each of its identified priority sectors of agriculture and, to a lesser extent, freshwater resources and forestry. Future initiatives could expand upon its current adaptation efforts related to agriculture, disaster risk management, government, coastal zone management, forestry and water. They could also close observed gaps related to human health, the differential impacts of climate change by gender, and build capacity in the urban areas where three-quarters of Cuba’s population resides. It is likely that Cuba’s forthcoming Second National Communication will provide a review of the country’s recent adaptation actions and clarify areas where enhanced action is required.

References:

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 
  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Potential Adaptation Measures

  • Educational & outreach activities to change management practices to those suited to climate change
  • Switch to different cultivars
  • Agricultural research and transfer of technology
  • Improve pest and disease forecast and control

Water Resources

  • Increase water supply, e.g. by using groundwater, building reservoirs, improving or stabilizing watershed management, desalination
  • Decrease water demands, e.g. by increasing efficiency, reducing water losses, water recycling, changing irrigation practices
  • Develop and introduce flood and drought monitoring and control system
  • Improve or develop water management

Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems

  • Develop Integrated Coastal Zone Management
  • Develop planning/new investment requirements
  • Protect, including building sea walls, and beach nourishment
  • Research/monitor the coastal ecosystem
Monitoring & Evaluation: 

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.

Contacts: 
UNDP
Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Abel Centella
Project Affiliate
A. Vladimir Guevara
Project Affiliate
University of Havana Centre for Environmental Studies
Juan F. Llanes-Regueiro
Project Affiliate
Carlos M. Lopez Cabrera
Project Affiliate
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Project Status: