Context and Objectives

The Caribbean region periodically suffers major economic losses from natural hazards. The region frequently experiences hydro-meteorological, seismic, and geological hazards including hurricanes, flooding, storm surges, volcanic eruptions, and landslides, many of which are being exacerbated by climate change. The region’s physical characteristics explain its high vulnerability to natural hazards and the challenges resulting from these disasters. For small island or small coastal states, when a disaster strikes a large part of the population, infrastructure and businesses are directly or indirectly affected. The region’s lack of economic diversification also explains the high levels of disaster risks. The economy of the region is concentrated in a few sectors like tourism, manufacture, agriculture and fisheries, which suffer nation-wide and regional losses when disasters strike. High poverty levels in many Caribbean countries increase the socio-economic impacts of disasters, as the poor are more vulnerable to disasters. 

The objective of the Revisiting Resilience in the Caribbean project was to provide guidance to policy makers and development partners as well as information to the public on how to approach resilience to natural disasters and climate change in a holistic way in the context of the Caribbean, characterized by high risks and small island states. The Project studied the state of climate and disaster resilience in the region, proposed a common framework and indicators for countries to measure progress towards resilience, and methods to measure these indicators. The final output entailed a World Bank Group report which took a 360 degrees approach to resilience to natural disasters and climate change. This project closed in 2021.

Main Activities

  • Sectoral Notes: 18 sectoral notes were developed providing technical reviews of relevant policies that increase resilience to disasters and climate risks in the context of small states and small island states.  
  • Quantifying Resilience: Indicators identified in 18 sectoral notes were brought under a common framework and translated into the parameters of the model developed for the “Unbreakable” report.  
  • Synthesis Report and Policy Recommendations: The synthesis report provides an overview of resilience in the Caribbean and recommendations.

Results

A series of 18 sectoral notes have been finalized on the following themes: 

  1. Assessing the Level of Sea Level Rise and Resilience Potential in the Caribbean.
  2. Transport Infrastructure Resilience in the Caribbean: Natural Hazards Exposure Assessment and Areas for Future Work.
  3. Resilience in the Water Supply and Sanitation Sector.
  4. Review Paper on the Macroeconomic Costs of Disasters in the Caribbean.
  5. Adaptive Social Protection in the Caribbean: Building Human Capital for Resilience.
  6. Education Sector Background Note.
  7. Health Systems Resilience in the Caribbean.
  8. Private and Financial Sector Resilience.
  9. Resilient Building Regulations in the Caribbean.
  10. Urban Planning and Resilience Building in the Caribbean.
  11. Impact of Extreme Weather and Infectious Disease Outbreaks, and Economic Recession on Caribbean Tourism.
  12. Nature-Based Solutions for Resilience.
  13. Improving Resilience to Climate Change for Caribbean Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors.
  14. Disaster Risk Financing in the Caribbean Region: Framework and Assessments.
  15. Overview of Engineering Options for Increasing Infrastructure Resilience in the Caribbean.
  16. Macroeconomic Resilience in the Caribbean.
  17. Mangroves as a Coastal Protection of Local Economic Activities from Hurricanes in the Caribbean.
  18. Disaster Resilient and Responsive Public Financial Management.

In addition to the sectoral notes, the World Bank report titled “360° Resilience: A Guide to Prepare the Caribbean for a New Generation of Shocks” was published on 27 October 2021. The report, which covers 17 Caribbean countries, provides a cross-sectoral overview of resilience in the region identifying general strengths and weaknesses and examples countries can learn from. It brings the many dimensions of resilience together in a way that has not been done before for the region. It also underlines that Caribbean countries have achieved resilience levels that have allowed them to support economic development despite large recurring damages and losses from multiple hazards and shocks. But this relies to a large extent on informal mechanisms that neither systematically protect the poor and most vulnerable groups nor prevent the loss of human capital. The report also developed a traffic light system that can serve at a country level to identify, using cross-sectoral indicators, strengths as well as areas that need to be addressed. The report was launched during a roundtable discussion on 17 November 2021, involving the EU, World Bank, CDEMA, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, CARICOM, and a youth activist and lecturer.

Partnerships and Coordination

This project was coordinated with work under the Canadian Caribbean Resilience Facility, managed by GFDRR, particularly with the preparedness and recovery capacity assessment that builds on the audit of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and with work under the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction program’s CDEMA Disaster Preparedness and Response Capacity Assessment and Technical Assistance project.

Useful links

The sectoral notes are accessible here.

The report in English and report summary in English, French and Spanish are available here.

More information on the report can also be found on the Press Release, available here

A GFDRR Results in Resilience story has been published here.

The launch event recording is available here.
 

Which Areas of Engagement are covered by this grant?

Sendai Priorities

Priority 1Understanding disaster risk
Priority 2Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk
Priority 3Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience
Priority 4Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction