The strategic vision driving this regional strategy is to lay the ground for a “regional society and economy that is resilient to a changing climate.”
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has prepared this framework document at the request of CARICOM Heads of State participating in the First Congress for the Environmental Charter and Climatic Change, held at Ávila Mountain, Caracas, 11-13 October 2007.
The strategic vision driving this regional strategy is to lay the ground for a “regional society and economy that is resilient to a changing climate.” The seriousness of the challenge global climate change (GCC) poses to the development prospects of small island and low-lying costal states is addressed in the Barbados Plan of Action (BPoA), as the first of 14 priority areas for achieving sustainable development.
Global climate change is the most serious threat to sustainable development facing CARICOM states. While the contribution of CARICOM countries to greenhouse gas emissions is quite negligible, according to a recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)2 the projected impacts of global climate change on the Caribbean region are expected to be devastating. These impacts would be reinforced due to the limited adaptive capacity of the CARICOM small island and low-lying coastal states. Specifically, GCC is expected to result in more hostile regional climate change and rising sea levels. Rising sea levels, together with the associated coastal erosion and salt water intrusion, an escalation in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes, and disruptions in rainfall and fresh-water supply threaten the very existence of the CARICOM countries.
The vulnerability of CARICOM countries to climate events is evidenced by the impact of hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding in the region. Between 1995 and 2000, the region experienced its highest recorded level of hurricane activity. Over the last three decades, the Caribbean region has suffered direct and indirect losses estimated at between US$700 million and US$3.3 billion owing to natural disasters associated with extreme weather events.