Throughout the Caribbean, global climate change (GCC) is causing more frequent and intense weather events, changing and less clearly defined wet and dry seasons, periods of heavy rainfall and drought, increased ambient atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, and rising sea levels. Caribbean nations are highly sensitive to these changes due to their small geographic size, low coastal elevations, and fragile landscapes. These changes have already escalated coastal erosion and coastal flooding; salt-water intrusion into freshwater aquifers; soil salinization; loss of topsoil from intense rainfall events; coral bleaching and die-off due to higher sea temperatures and ocean acidification; loss of mangroves, sea grass beds and other coastal vegetation; and the proliferation of insect vectors (e.g., mosquitos) which transmit tropical disease. These changes have far-reaching implications for regional economic growth and sustainability, impacting food security, public health, fresh water availability, and infrastructure. In particular, reduced incomes from tourism and agricultural outputs threaten the long-term economic sustainability and the development capacity of the region. The poorest and most marginalized communities are especially vulnerable and often live in areas most heavily affected by flooding and erosion from storms and sea level rise.
With climate-change induced droughts, floods, storm surges, and other extreme weather events expected to worsen in coming decades, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports activities which strengthen the adaptive capacity and resilience of countries to reduce such vulnerabilities and avoid further devastating climate-related impacts. Programming will strengthen an integrated system for the implementation and financing of sustainable adaptation approaches in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region.
- Building technical capacity to collect and analyze climate data
- Strengthening the use of climate science and analysis in decision making
- Supporting pilot initiatives to demonstrate innovative strategies to adapt to climate change
- Increasing access to climate financing for the scale-up and replication of successful pilot GCC adaptation initiatives through, for example, applying cost benefit analysis to assess impact
- Building an evidence-base of successful models to a range of GCC adaptation issues facing small island and low-lying developing states
- Enhancing public awareness of climate change issues and actions to reduce vulnerability
- Strengthening local, national, and regional institutions’ capacity to promote climate change adaptation
- Hosting annual events to highlight and promote evidence-based approaches to GCC adaptation