Caribbean Tourism: Climate Smart and Sustainable

Origins of the project

Managing the impact of climate change and related hazardous events has been a priority for development work in the Caribbean region for many years. In 2014, when the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of States established the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme (NDRM) with funding from the European Union, the Caribbean Development Bank became one of the first implementing partners; the programme is a 20 million euro initiative and is dedicated to building the Caribbean’s capacity to prepare for, manage, respond to and recover from the potential impacts of natural hazards.

The National Disaster Risk Management Programme has funded a range of resilience building projects and works closely with regional stakeholders; one such stakeholder is the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Recognizing the impact of climate change on regional tourism, the CTO took steps to build resilience in the tourism sector through their Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project.

Implementing actors and responsibilities

Amanda Charles, Sustainable Tourism Specialist at the Caribbean Tourism Organization, explains that in 2017, through support from the NDRM, the CTO was successful in being awarded this particular project which benefitted thirteen member countries of the CTO and of the Caribbean Development Bank.

Objectives

The project focused on updating the Caribbean Sustainable Policy Framework and incorporating tourism risk management and climate change strategies. It also aimed to mainstream climate resilience into tourism business operations, climate proofing and tourism-related strategies. Other significant elements of the project involved preparing a strategy document and developing a disaster risk management guide for the Caribbean tourism sector, as well as compiling a series of knowledge products related to best practices in sustainable and responsible tourism.

Achievements

The first aspect of the Campaign was delivered via CTO’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn social media pages, reaching over 300 000 persons who shared, liked, or commented on the 80 visuals that were posted.

The Campaign also included a 7-part video miniseries which was produced and aired on CaribVision Television, reaching another 2.5 million viewers in 23 countries across the region as well as CTO’s YouTube channel.

Capacity building was cited as a critical element which evolved the facilitation of five national training workshops in member countries deemed to be more vulnerable and most recently impacted by extreme hazards; these include Haiti, Dominica, The Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica. An attractive postcard was also developed to target visitors to the region and a poster featuring tips for tourism businesses was also created and disseminated.

Project features

Year: 2017

Total cost of the project: € 618 423

Implementing Agency: Caribbean Tourism Organization

Benefiting Zone: Members of the CTO – Caribbean Countries

Cooperation and technical assistance: Caribbean Development Bank

Funded by: The European Union through the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM.

Caribbean Tourism: Climate Smart and Sustainable. Download the PDF version

Strengthening the organizational and functional structures of Disaster Risk Management in the Dominican Republic

The main challenges

Due to its geographic location, the Dominican Republic is highly vulnerable to the impact of adverse events triggered by natural hazards or by human intervention. The project entitled ‘Strengthening the organizational and functional structures of Disaster Risk Management in the Dominican Republic’ sought to help reduce vulnerability and exposure to these threats.

Implementing actors and responsibilities

The project was coordinated by the National Emergency Commission and the Directorate-General for Multilateral Cooperation and financed by the European Union. It was carried out through the coordinated effort of the leaders and technicians of over thirteen institutions that participate in the National Emergency Commission.

A comprehensive project executed through more than twenty different actions

Over twenty actions have been carried out to achieve the three expected results of the project. In order to help foster a culture of disaster risk reduction, a national capacity-building plan for disaster risk management was developed for the National School of Risk Management, with a five-year implementation strategy. The project has enabled the execution of forty percent of this Plan, which translates into 30 training courses for over 1000 relevant actors at the local and national level.

Part of the project entailed the creation and launch of the National Integrated Information System (SINI), which aims to organize and leverage data about threats, vulnerabilities and risks in order to gage the capacity for response of institutions charged with managing disasters.

At the regional level, a regional Caribbean meeting welcomed 170 participants from 15 countries to exchange experiences and foster regional connections, collaboration and cooperation.

In order to strengthen resilience and local disaster risk management capabilities at the municipal level, as well as to promote sustainable development in vulnerable areas, an analysis was made of the Prevention, Mitigation and Response Committees, and high-risk human settlements were evaluated and prioritized. Furthermore, seven community networks were created, trained and ratified: 3 in Santiago de los Caballeros; 2 in San Juan de la Maguana and 2 in San Felipe de Puerto Plata.

In coordination with the National School of Risk Management, the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and the Caribbean University, over 121 evaluators were trained in safety indicators for critical infrastructure. They carried out practical evaluations of vulnerability, security and resilience levels.

An innovative country tool developed to determine security indicators for aqueducts was applied to 20 major aqueducts by simultaneous multidisciplinary teams including geologists, engineers, administrators and technicians from the service providers.

Additionally, in collaboration with the National Office for Siesmic Evaluation and Vulnerabilities of Infrastructure and Buildings, a standard methodology was designed and validated to assess the seismic vulnerability of infrastructure and buildings.

Promising results

Through its various actions and results, the project contributed to the strengthening, awareness, capacity building, equipping and empowerment of the actors involved in disaster risk reduction and of the institutions. This follows the Dominican government’s national policy, centered on territorial security with a sustainable, transformative and inclusive approach, to continue building a stronger and more resilient nation.

Project features

Year: 2014 – 2019

Implementing Agency: National Emergency Commission

Benefiting Zone: Dominican Republic

Funded by: The European Union through the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM.

Strengthening the organizational and functional structures. Download the PDF version

Rio Cobre Watershed

The main challenges

Jamaica’s location, geology, hilly topography, narrow coastal plains and dense river network contribute to the island’s vulnerability to flooding. Given the frequency of flash floods, there have been efforts to promote the establishment of community flood early warning systems (EWS) to reduce damage to property and livelihoods and save lives in the most vulnerable communities. Manually operated community EWS have been installed on seven rivers, and an automated EWS was installed on the Rio Cobre in St Catherine Parish. The Rio Cobre has the third largest watershed management unit in Jamaica, covering an estimated drainage area of 646 square kilometres. The flood monitoring and data transmission networks were however inoperable since 2015, because of lightning strikes.

Implementation

The project was designed to help upgrade the flood early warning system (EWS) for the Rio Cobre watershed, supporting the delivery of accurate and early notifications to key stakeholder groups and residents to reduce the loss of life and damage caused by flooding.

The Caribbean Development Bank oversaw management of the project, entrusted to Jamaica’s Water Resource Authority.

Stream gauge and terrain gauge stations were updated and connected to a central server for real-time data transmission. The upgraded system took advantage of solar renewable energy to enable continued data and information during extreme weather events, providing more accurate and timely information.

“This timeliness is what actually saves lives,” said Peter Clarke, Managing Director of the Water Resource Authority.

Project features

Year: 2017

Total cost of the project: €305 596

Implementing Agency: Water Resources Authority of Jamaica

Benefiting Zone: St Catherine Parish, Jamaica

Cooperation and technical assistance: Caribbean Development Bank

Funded by: The European Union through the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM.

Rio Cobre Watershed. Download the PDF version

The State of the Caribbean Climate Report

Thanks to the State of the Caribbean Climate (SOCC) Report, Caribbean stakeholders and other interested groups now have access to a one-stop reference document for climate variability and change in the region to support planning and decision-making efforts.

The SOCC Report was prepared to strengthen the strategic planning and decision-making processes that will be required to accelerate resilience-building efforts in the Caribbean, specifically within the 19 Borrowing Member Countries of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). By providing significant climate data, information, analysis and references the SOCC Report should become the premise for actionable recommendations that will support climate proofing at national and regional levels.

A good base for future reports

The production of future updates will now be more easily and quickly accomplished. This has been the case for the State of the Jamaican Climate Report, from which the concept of a State of the Caribbean Climate Report was derived. Throughout the project, stakeholder feedback on the report has been very positive, confirming that the SOCC document is a valuable resource for the region. The production of future updates to the report will be vital to its continued relevance.

Interactive Climate Smart Workshops

The interactive Climate Smart Workshops continue to be one of the good practices and successes of the SOCC Project. The second Climate Smart Workshop was held 27-28 February 2020 in Nassau, Bahamas. The workshop was attended by approximately 26 Caribbean nationals (including workshop organizers and presenters), representing the following sectors: finance/economic development, tourism, health, and energy. While media coverage of the event was eclipsed by increasing focus on COVID-19, participant feedback was very positive. Attendees rated the workshop content and presenters as excellent and useful for their individual countries, sectors and work programmes. As part of the workshop, a public lecture, “Climate Matters”, was held on 27 February 2020.

Project features

Year: 2017 – 2020

Total cost of the project: € 568 339

Implementing Agency: Caribbean Development Bank

Benefiting Zone: 19 Borrowing Member Countries of the CDB

Cooperation and technical assistance:

Funded by: The European Union through the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM.

The State of the Caribbean Climate Report. Download the PDF version

Climate Smart Workshop 2019

The first Climate Smart Workshop under the “State of the Caribbean Climate 2016: Information for Resilience Building” project was held on December 12-13, 2019 in Georgetown, Guyana. Over 45 Caribbean participants attended, including organizers and representatives from finance/economic development, tourism, health and energy sectors. The workshop sought to highlight the major factors that contribute to the occurrence of hazardous events and to identify strategies to build resilience in the region. Overall feedback from participants demonstrated the usefulness of the initiative.

The continuous adaptation of renewed strategies for building resilience in combating hazardous events is critical to realizing successful outcomes in the region. The Climate Smart initiative, established in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank, is geared towards creating greater public awareness as well as identifying mitigating and/or preventative strategies to address these challenges.

Expert Presentations

Professor Michael Taylor, Director of Climate Studies Group and Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at UWI in Mona, Jamaica, alerted participants to the fact that climate change in the Caribbean region has been clearly evident in recent years, as observed through significant change in rainfall patterns. Professor Taylor’s analysis further revealed that the entire rainfall routine is changing and sea levels are rising across the entire Caribbean region. Increasingly extreme hurricanes, droughts, floods and other natural disasters have had a devastating impact in the region. In addition to the loss of human lives and the destruction of homes and infrastructure, the health, education, agriculture and tourism sectors are also gravely impacted.

Dr. Yves Personna, Programme Manager for NDRM at the Caribbean Development Bank, stated that the CDB has a commitment to help its Caribbean member countries to reduce inequality and poverty by 2025. In this context, the CDB has constructed a climate resilience strategic plan which raised some 410 million USD to support disaster risk management and climate resilience interventions in the Caribbean Region.

Climate Smart Workshop 2019. Download the PDF version

Document Library

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Review of Emergency Procedures in Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Participating States

This initiative will contribute to the improvement of emergency response procedures and protocols in CDEMA Participating States through an evaluation of States’ readiness and response to Hurricane Matthew.

Context

Hurricanes and storms are the most frequently occurring hazard affecting the Caribbean.  Every Caribbean island has experienced the direct effects of at least one hurricane or has had a disturbance in the island’s weather conditions due to a hurricane passing nearby.  Due to the frequency of hurricanes and storms, the countries of the region have put in place national disaster plans, which include hurricane/storm response plans.  

When a storm or hurricane approaches in the Caribbean region, authorities can initiate shutdown procedures as a precautionary measure. However, shutdowns can have a negative public perception. To tackle this issue, CDEMA is implementing the Review of Emergency Procedures Project. This initiative seeks to raise awareness of emergency response procedures among the general public.

National shutdowns were implemented in the Bahamas, Barbados and Haiti as a result of the approach of Hurricane Matthew in September 2016.  However, their implementation was affected by negative public perception regarding the usefulness and/or legality of the measures, following instances in which the hazard event failed to make impact at all or had a significantly lower impact than had been anticipated.  It is a widely held belief that negative perceptions about national shutdowns are perpetuated by a lack of awareness of the wide range of meteorological variables that may affect the outcome of an impending storm or hurricane.  

CDEMA has identified the need for strengthening the linkages between the general public and disaster planners in order to improve the understanding of emergency response procedures.  There is also a need for further strengthening of disaster response mechanisms at the national level, including through improved engagement between the national disaster organisations (NDOs) and the private sector organisations (PSOs) in preparation for a slow onset event.

Project outcome

The expected outcome of the project is the drafting of new guidelines for emergency response and national shutdown procedures in the CDEMA Participating States.

Project components

  • Evaluation of the readiness of four selected CDEMA Participating States impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 
  • Recommendations for strengthening Protocols and Procedures for Readiness and Response, including guidance on how to reach the poorest and most vulnerable members of the societies considered (including the elderly, women and persons with disabilities)
  • Development of Plans of Action for strengthening national readiness and response, based on CDEMA Standard Guidelines for national shutdown procedures
  • Convening a regional workshop to review the draft Guidelines for national shutdown procedures

Elements

Evaluating the readiness of four selected CDEMA Participating States impacted by Hurricane Matthew in 2016:

  • Develop a suitable tool to support country assessments based on the CDEMA Model National Operations Checklist used to undertake an annual rapid assessment of the readiness of CDEMA participant states.
  • There will also be an examination of the appropriateness of national actions undertaken through a review of national After-Action Reviews (AARs) to determine whether appropriate actions were implemented and where gaps exist.

Developing recommendations for the revision of protocols and procedures and Plans of Action for strengthening national readiness and response:

  • Identify and make recommendations to inform the revision of national shutdown procedures and to draft plans of action for strengthening of national readiness and response
  • These will be validated through four national workshops in collaboration with the National Disaster Office (NDO), and supported by the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU).  
  • Development of draft Model Guidelines for national shutdown procedures which can be adapted by the various Participating States.

Convening a regional workshop to review the draft Standard or Model Guidelines for national shutdown procedures:

  • CDEMA CU will convene a Regional Workshop to provide the opportunity to regional participants to give feedback on the draft Model Guidelines.  The Regional Workshop will be supported by the Plan Development and Review Sub-committee (PDRSC) of the CDEMA Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). 
  • The main purpose of the PDRSC is to assist the CDEMA CU in the review and development of plans and procedures that will facilitate the effective and efficient functioning of the Regional Response Mechanism and its components.  
  • The Regional Workshop will also be supported by the membership of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) along with the National Disaster Offices, to provide an opportunity for feedback on the protocols and guidelines.  The Regional Workshop will be convened in one of the beneficiary countries.

Cost: EUR 127 644
Implementing agency: CDEMA
Granted by: CDB
Beneficiary countries: Barbados, Saint Lucia, Haiti and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Period: July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019

Launching of the 11th EDF Natural Disaster Facility in the CARIFORUM Programme

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) along with the European Union have launched the 11th EDF Natural Disaster Facility in the CARIFORUM Programme. This initiative aims to contribute to the reduction of the vulnerability to disaster risks, and to promote the sustainable development from the countries of this region.

The launching of this initiative was held on 3rd December 2019, in the framework of the 11th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management, an event hosted by CDEMA in collaboration with the Government of Sint Maarten. This conference, under the theme “The Road to Resilience Checkpoint 2019 – Safeguarding Our Communities, Livelihoods and Economies”, gathered the most relevant decision makers and disaster management professionals, contributing to improve capacities and partnerships to fight climate change and strengthen disaster management strategies.

The launching ceremony of the 11th EDF Natural Disaster Facility in the CARIFORUM was presided by Honourable Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Ms. Silveria Jacobsand by His Excellency Fernando Ponz Cantó, Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.  Mr. Ponz Cantó emphasized the EU commitment to reduce vulnerability in the Caribbean Region, including the potential impacts of climate varability and change. He also referred to the importance of the participation of the Dominican Republic Government in this mechanism, as it increases the cooperation and share lessons learned among all the countries and territories of this region.

Representatives of humanitarian organizations from different countries of the region participated in this event. Outstanding was the intervention of Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA, who highlighted the impact and result of the actions and projects financially supported under the 10th EDF Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) Project, as well as the frutiful cooperation between the implementing partners of this programme along the period 2014-2019.

CTO recognises CDB for work supporting resilience in tourism sector

The ongoing efforts of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to make the Region’s tourism sector more climate resilient has been hailed by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO).

CTO recently presented the Bank with an award in recognition of CDB’s support to the regional tourism body in promoting climate smart   tourism development region wide.

In 2017, CDB provided a EUR 460,000 grant to the CTO to implement the Climate Smart project aimed at increasing the sector’s resilience to natural hazards and climate related risks.

The project supported policy formulation, the promotion of best practices in disaster risk management and climate change adaption, and the development of tools to enhance knowledge and awareness of disaster risk reduction strategies and the potential impacts of climate variability and climate change. It also included training to strengthen the ability of tourism stakeholders to undertake mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change.

The funding was provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries programme (NDRM).

NDRM works to reduce vulnerability to the long-term impacts of natural hazards, including climate change, thereby promoting the achievement of national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals.

Source: https://www.caribank.org/

Nawasa’s Community Water Storage Project

The main challenges

  • Schools were faced with school closures as a result of stoppage in supply throughout the state for varying reasons.
  • There were inadequate storage facilities at schools; as none of the schools have water tanks to assist NAWASA to provide them with a supply of water in the event of system down time or natural disasters.
  • Schools with inadequate water storage facilities were all Identified as hurricane shelters.
  • The Community relayed on the School for support with their water system when there were community events.

Implementing actors and responsibilities

  • To install emergency water storage to schools in Grenada
  • To increase water storage capacity to schools in Grenada

What actions were taken and should be highlighted?

  • 18 – 1000-gallon water storage tanks were installed at 17 schools on the tri-island state of Grenada.

What were the results of those actions?

  • Increased capacity to reduce risks to all hazards at 17 schools on the island
  • Ensure water availability and its sustainable use improved at 17 schools on the island

Major achievements

  • Improvement of piping systems within the School
  • Over 18,000 gallons of stored water available to 17 schools on the tri-island state of Grenada.
  • Four schools had their water supply network repaired.
  • Beneficiaries: 5728 plus students representing 17 public schools on the island; Male: 3170, Female: 2558

Overall, what is unique, interesting, or notable about this major achievement/case study?

  • This project is unique and notable because it fits within NAWASA’s strategic direction of sustainability and our ability to withstand seasonal challenges both in the rainy and dry season, for which storage is always a major challenge to Nawasa achieving those objects and it was one of the areas that we have significant deficiencies.
  • This project allowed us to address the critical challenge of storage at the school level bearing in mind that those same schools are used as shelters in a post-disaster situation. We were, therefore, providing resilience in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
  • This intervention allowed schools to remain open during periods of drought and also in cases when there were interruptions both in the dry and rainy season, students were able to continue their process of education. This intervention also allowed schools that are hurricane shelters to remain open and provide the needs of the community based on the emergency situation
  • In addition, this project was advanced by the National Disaster Management Agency NADMa but implemented by another government agency – NAWASA which was very positive.
  • It also highlighted a hazard like a drought which in some cases are not usually addressed but the sustainability component is very strong because the results that have emerged from this project can expand the beneficiaries beyond the initial project intervention
  • The assets generated from this project are being used by NAWASA in communities that are problematic to supply in the dry season and will become problematic in the aftermath of a natural disaster, there are dense pockets in high elevation. Tanks will be deployed in predetermined locations, filled by water trucks and persons in and around are able to address daily needs using buckets.

What are the next steps:

  • NAWASA maintains responsibility of the water tanks for the next three years.
  • NAWASA will be looking closely into the storage capacity of other government schools based on their population and will be working to ensure that adequate storage facilities are provided.

Project features

Years: 2018
Implementing Agency: National Water and Sewerage Authority Nawasa, National Disaster Management Agency
Benefiting Zone: Grenada
Cooperation and technical assistance: CDEMA
Funded by: The European Union through the Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme in the CARIFORUM.

Nawasa’s Community Water Storage Project. Download the PDF version