Similar to other parts of the world, the Caribbean has experienced climatic changes over the past few decades, and recent studies project that these changes will continue in the future (Centella, 2010; Christensen et al., 2007; Meehl et al., 2007; Mimura et al., 2007). Centella (2010) estimates that mean annual temperatures in the Caribbean will increase by between 1° and 5°C by the 2080s. Warming is projected to be greater in the northwest Caribbean territories (Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica) than in the eastern Caribbean island chain (Taylor et al., 2007, cited in Centella, 2010).
Temperature increases are expected to be much larger over land areas then over the sea (Mimura et al., 2007). In regards to precipitation, climate change projections generally predict that various regions of the Caribbean will become drier (Mimura et al., 2007; Centella, 2010). Most models indicate the greatest decrease in rainfall will occur in the summer, particularly around the Greater Antilles (Mimura et al., 2007). Sea levels are also anticipated to rise due to global warming. Determining the degree to which this increase will occur in the Caribbean is challenging, however, as it is highly influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and volcanic and tectonic crustal motions. When combined with model limitations, the resulting large deviations between simulations make estimating the rate of sea level rise across the entire Caribbean region uncertain (Mimura et al., 2007).
Uncertainty also remains regarding potential changes in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather events, with few models having been developed that simulate hurricanes in the context of climate change.
These changes in the region’s climatic conditions are anticipated to adversely affect a number of its key resources and economic sectors. Of particular concern to countries in the region are the projected impacts of climate change on coastal zones, the quantity and quality of freshwater resources, and agricultural systems. These concerns include:
- Coastal Zone Management: Most of the population of the Caribbean lives within the coastal zone, which is also the location of most of the region’s tourism infrastructure—a main source of employment and foreign exchange earnings. Climate change is projected to lead to: coastal erosion; risk of displacement for coastal communities; loss in touristic attractions; eutrophication and sedimentation of coastal waters; and coral bleaching.
- Freshwater resources: Water resources are already stressed in many states as a result of forest and wetland depletion and degradation (which also compromises water quality), coupled with high water consumption to meet tourist needs. Climate change is anticipated to lead to: contamination of water supplies through salt water intrusion; further forest and wetland depletion and degradation; and decrease in water quality.
- Agriculture: Generally, the second most important source of employment and foreign exchange earnings in the Caribbean, agricultural production is also critical to meetingsubsistence needs and ensuring the food security of island nation. Climate change could lead to a reduction on agricultural productivity, resulting in: a loss of employment and foreign exchange earnings; loss in local food production; and increased risk of food insecurity.
Identified adaptation needs and priorities
Through their National Communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Haiti’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and other national reports and strategies, Caribbean countries have identified priority sectors for adaptation as being coastal zones, freshwater resources and agriculture. Other important overlapping sectors that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are tourism, human health, biodiversity and fisheries. A wide range of measures to reduce the vulnerability of Caribbean countries to the impacts of climate change have been identified, including the following:
- Coastal Zone Management: Restoration and conservation of coastal ecosystems (mangroves and coral reefs); investments in infrastructure development (i.e., artificial breakwaters, erosion control) and coastal zone planning.
- Freshwater Resources: Integrated watershed management; revision of water pricing; water harvesting and storage infrastructure; use of advanced technology to increase water supply in response to climate induced drought; energy-intensive technologies for water purification (such as reverse osmosis); and water production (such as desalinization).
- Agriculture: Research into the impacts on key export crops; cultivation of drought-, heat- and salt-resistant cultivars; agricultural diversification; planting of short-cycle crop varieties; recuperating degraded lands; wider application of integrated pest management; ensuring greater efficiency in water use for crops; and installing water storage facilities .
Presentation by Global Water Partnership (GWP) Caribbean to the J-CCCP Inception Workshop
26 January, 2016
Presentation by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to the J-CCCP on ongoing initiatives and potential synergies
January 26-27, 2017
Presentation by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) to the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) Technical Advisory Group
26-27 January, 2016
The presentation focused on:
- Ongoing intiatives and potential syngeries
- Work at regional and national lvels contributing to development of implementation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) an National Adaptation Plans (NAPs)
Risk Reduction Management Centers: Local Adaptation Response to National Climate and Early Warning Information in the Caribbean
The main objective of the proposed “Risk Reduction Management Centers: Local Adaptation Response to National Climate and Early Warning Information in the Caribbean” project is to upscale the function of local Risk Reduction Management Centers (RRMC) in Caribbean municipalities to deliver climate risk information services, preparedness and response measures to the most vulnerable segments of the population. The project works in three target countries: Cuba, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. The RRMC acts as a local clearing house for risk information and coordination centre for the effective use of early warning information and risk planning. This mechanism aims at strengthening local governments and communities to better prepare and respond to climate-induced disasters through multi-hazard, multi-sector and integrated approaches to address climate and disaster risk. In doing so, the project will strengthen the decision making and planning capacities of national, provincial and municipal authorities and agencies, improve the quality of climate and disaster information, and strengthen coordination and analysis mechanisms. The project will address climate change and disaster risks related to water resources management: in Cuba and Jamaica. The project will also focus on sustainable water management to address drought-related water shortages and coastal erosion related to sea-level rise in Jamaica and Dominican Republic. Finally, the project will address the risks related to river flooding and its effects on environment and livelihoods. The project builds on the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI), a platform launched in 2004 by UNDP, which supported the Cuban model of Risk Reduction Management Centers (RRMC) and its transfer.
Latin America and the Caribbean is exposed to a wide variety of natural hazards including earthquakes, storms, extreme temperatures, droughts, floods and landslides, many of which are regularly exacerbated by climate variability. Changes in regional temperature and precipitation regimes, including shifts in the frequency and intensity of extreme climate-related events, will affect population health, livelihoods, economies, the environment and natural resource availability across national borders. Sea level rise, already observed in recent decades, will likely lead to greater inundation, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion and greater susceptibility to storm surges.
Exposure to climate change and extreme climate-related events in the LAC region varies considerably with more than half of Caribbean nations facing ‘extreme’ exposure risks. The Caribbean nations of Jamaica, Dominica and Cuba as facing extreme and high-risk vulnerability to climate change.
The Caribbean possesses inherent geographical, economic and social characteristics which intensify vulnerability and limit ability to respond to catastrophic events. These include geographic isolation, small populations located in hazard prone areas, coastal positioning of critical and economic infrastructures, prevalence of poverty, limited capacity and resources, fragile ecosystems and undiversified economies vulnerable to shocks; weather-dependent economic sectors, such as agriculture and tourism, create greater risk of negative impact of climate related events and conditions.
Changes in the rainfall regime and sea level rise are the key risk drivers in the Caribbean. Decreasing rainfall over the Caribbean is likely to be accompanied by an increase in the occurrence of heavy rainfall events, affecting the frequency and intensity of both floods and droughts. A high proportion of land area of many Caribbean islands is near sea level, resulting in susceptibility to future sea level rise. Though highly uncertain, climate change may act to decrease the overall number of tropical cyclones (hurricanes) but increase the frequency of the most intense storms in the Caribbean region.
These driving forces affect important ecosystems and ecological processes in the region. Human-induced soil erosion is affecting up to 2.23 million square kilometers of land in LAC, and river networks transport these sediments and other land-based sources of pollution to the oceans, impacting coastal ecosystems. The World’s Water Quality Assessment (2016) states that about one-quarter of all river stretches in LAC fall in the severe pollution class; and the number of rural people coming into contact with polluted surface waters is estimated to be as high as 25 million.
The main objective of the project is to upscale the function of local RRMC in Caribbean municipalities to deliver climate risk information services, preparedness and response measures to the most vulnerable segments of population. The RRMC acts as a local clearing house for risk information and coordination centre for the effective use of early warning information and risk planning. This mechanism aims at strengthening local governments and communities to better prepare and respond to climate-induced disasters through multi-hazard, multi-sector and integrated approaches to address climate and disaster risk. In doing so, the project will strengthen the decision making and planning capacities of national, provincial and municipal authorities and agencies, improve the quality of climate and disaster information, and strengthen coordination and analysis mechanisms.
Component 1: Local Risk Reduction Management Centers (RRMCs)
Outcome 1.1.: Local government’s capacity strengthened to coordinate disaster preparedness and response through community-managed RRMCs connected to national early warning and climate information services.
Output 1.1.1.: RRMCs established, equipped, functional linked with national EWS. 43
Output 1.1.2.: Vulnerability and hazard studies and risk mapping available at the municipal/community level.
Output 1.1.3.: Local government and population trained on preparedness measures using EWS
Component 2: National climate information and early warning services for disaster risk reduction
Outcome 2.1.: Enhanced capacities of national agencies to generate and disseminate climate information and early warning on hydrometeorological hazards to sectorial and local entities.
Ouput 2.1.1: Observation network strengthened with automated weather and flow stations and related data transmission equipment refurbished and installed in disaster-prone areas44
Ouput 2.1.2.:Hydro-met and sectorial databases and information systems and platforms streamlined, software, methodologies and procedures developed for information analysis and prognosis.
Ouput 2.1.3.: Climate information and EWS products complemented and developed with ICT protocols and tailored to sectorial and local entities.
Component 3: Disaster Risk Reduction/Adaptatio n plans and measures
Outcome 3.1: Local governments are able to integrate DRR/CCA into territorial development planning.
Output 3.1.1: climate resilient territorial development plans (municipal, parish, provincial) developed with DRR/CCA measures integrated
Output 3.1.2. Selected adaptation measures prioritized in the development plans are implemented
Component 4: Knowledge management and South-South cooperation
Outcome 4.1: Good practices and lessons learnt are documented and disseminated among the participating countries and in the Caribbean region.
Output 4.1.1.: Technical guides, toolkits, standardized methodologies, experience notes and multimedia experience materials are developed and disseminated
Output 4.1.2.: Exchange site visits organized between participating government and community reps
Output 4.1.3.: Regional training and lessons learnt events held
Outcome 1 - Local government’s capacity strengthened to coordinate disaster preparedness and response through community-managed RRMCs connected to national early warning and climate information services.
Outcome 2 - Enhanced capacities of national agencies to generate and disseminate climate information and early warning on hydrometeorological hazards to sectorial and local entities.
Outcome 3 - Local governments are able to integrate DRR/CCA into territorial development planning.
Outcome 4 - Good practices and lessons learnt are documented and disseminated among the participating countries and in the Caribbean region.