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 reviewed the state of climate and disaster resilience in the region, propose a common framework and indicators for countries to measure progress towards resilience, and methods to measure these indicators. The final output will be a flagship report which takes a 360 degrees approach to resilience to natural disasters and climate change.

Main Activities

  • Sectoral Notes: These were comprised of five 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 the 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

This project was closed in June 2021. A series of 14 sectoral notes were developed to provide deep technical reviews of relevant policies that increase resilience to disasters and climate risks. The notes were developed in coordination with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the resulting geospatial data made available through CDEMA’s Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS - https://www.cdema.org/cris/). Preliminary results of this work were presented during the West Indies Economic Conference Webinar on Research for Sustainability in November 2020. The notes were finalized in June 2021 and shared with the EU Delegation.

In addition to the sectoral notes, a final draft of the synthesis report entitled Revisiting Resilience in the Caribbean: A 360-Approach Synthesis Report including a traffic light system for each country was finalized. It consists of three parts: (i) evaluating exposure, vulnerabilities, and risks in the Caribbean; (ii) a diagnostic of resilience in the Caribbean; and (iii) recommendations to strengthen resilience. The report includes a traffic light system which is presented as a risk and cross-sectoral resilience profile for each country. The synthesis report is currently undergoing a peer reviewing process after which recommendations and observations will be addressed.  

Partnerships and Coordination

This project was coordinated with activities implemented by the World Bank under the Canadian Caribbean Resilience Facility, particularly with the preparedness and recovery capacity assessment that builds on the audit of the CDEMA, and under the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction program’s CDEMA Disaster Preparedness and Response Capacity Assessment and Technical Assistance project.

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