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 is 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 will study 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 World Bank Group -published flagship report which will take a 360 degrees approach to resilience to natural disasters and climate change.

 

Main Activities

  • Sectoral Notes: These will be 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 will be 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 will provide an overview of resilience in the Caribbean and recommendations.

 

Results

A series of sectoral notes are being developed and entail deep technical reviews of relevant policies that increase resilience to disasters and climate risks. Two notes have already been finalized, one assessing the resilience potential to the extent of sea level rise in the Caribbean and the other on the macroeconomic costs of disasters in the Caribbean. Another fourteen notes are being developed covering a wide range of sectors including tourism, transport infrastructure, education, urban planning or nature-based solutions. The notes are being developed in coordination with CDEMA, and the resulting geospatial data will be 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 are to be finalized by June 2021 and will be shared with the EU Delegation for review once all the drafts of the sixteen notes are finalized.

The indicators identified under the sectoral notes use a common framework to help quantify resilience, based on the Unbreakable flagship report. The framework focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of different social protection measures for increasing resilience to disasters and health shocks. This has been done so far in Haiti and the same model is currently being applied in Saint Lucia, with a focus on COVID-19 related effects on tourism and agriculture, and compound risks with disasters. Preliminary results show that households in the Caribbean are currently much more vulnerable to disasters than they were in June 2020, especially due to job losses in the tourism sector or income losses in the agriculture sector. Further potential applications of this work are being explored for Jamaica and Grenada.
 

Partnerships and Coordination

This project is working in close collaboration with relevant EU Delegations, donors and agencies active in DRM within the Caribbean region. It will closely coordinate with regional organizations like the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to integrate experiences like the “Country Work Program Development Models” and the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Audit Tools into the report’s recommendations and the evaluation framework.

 

Countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Trinidad and Tobago

 

Region

Caribbean

 

Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility Component

Regional Technical Assistance Facility to Mainstream Resilience

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