The Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the World Bank and executed by the Organisation of American States. The project is coordinated in the Caribbean through the Regional Project Implementation Unit (RPIU), which was established by the UWI Centre for Environment and Development (UWICED). A Policy Advisory Committee chaired by CARICOM, provides overall guidance for implementation of activities.
The project’s overall objective is to support Caribbean countries in preparing to cope with the adverse effects of global climate change (GCC), particularly sea level rise, in coastal and marine areas through vulnerability assessment, adaptation planning, and capacity building linked to adaptation planning. More specifically, the project will assist national governments and the University of the West Indies Centre for Environment and Development (UWICED) to: (i) strengthen the regional capability for monitoring and analyzing climate and sea level dynamics and trends, seeking to determine the immediate and potential impacts of GCC; (ii) identify areas particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and sea level rise; (iii) develop an integrated management and planning framework for cost-effective response and adaptation to the impacts of GCC on coastal and marine areas; (iv) enhance regional and national capabilities for preparing for the advent of GCC through institutional strengthening and human resource development; and (v) identify and assess policy options and instruments that may help initiate the implementation of a long-term program of adaptation to GCC in vulnerable coastal areas.
The project will follow a regional approach; it will be executed through the cooperative effort of all twelve participating countries and through a combination of national pilot/demonstration actions and regional training and technology transfer linked to adaptation planning. This approach seeks to strengthen regional cooperation and institutions, and to provide cost-effective means for adaptation planning, data collection, and sharing of information, skills, and project benefits. The project will seek to build on existing institutions and experiences, and to liaise with other important regional initiatives and programs underway in the Caribbean. Project activities will focus on planning for adaptation to GCC in vulnerable areas, including regional sea/climate data collection and management, impact and vulnerability studies, and the assessment of policy options through a series of regional activities and pilot studies. These enabling activities will be complemented by selective capacity-building activities, aimed at creating or strengthening endogenous conditions and capabilities necessary to prepare a long-term program for adaptation to GCC. The project will execute a comprehensive program of human resource development for upgrading the skills of technicians and officials from participating countries in areas relevant to GCC and adaptation planning. Project execution will take four years and involve both regional and pilot-based components. The four regional components include the following:
(a)Design and Establishment of Sea Level/Climate Monitoring Network.
The sea level/climate observation network proposed for installation in each of the twelve participating countries will include a standardized set of instruments to measure water level, vertical land motion (which affects the relative relationship between sea surface and land interface), air and sea temperature, wind velocity, precipitation, and other site-specific ancillary variables. The network will be composed of 18 state-of-the-art gauges generating digitized data available in near real time by satellite telemetry or telephone. In addition, each tide gauge bench mark will be fixed in geocentric coordinates so that the vertical movement of the land can be distinguished from sea level changes (local tide gauges measure a combination of the two). The U.S. National Ocean Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been involved in the installation of tidal gauges around the world as part of the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS), and will act as lead agency in the installation of the proposed network. Each participating country will be directly involved in the selection of sites, and designated national agencies, such as the National Weather Service, will manage their individual observatories. The Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI) will be the lead regional agency, and will take on the responsibility of overseeing the network after project completion. To assure long-term financing for this activity, the project will establish the Tidal Gauge Replacement Fund (US$50,000) as an earmarked account within CMI for the maintenance and replacement, as needed, of the sea level tidal gauges. It is expected that the Tidal Gauge Replacement Fund would be supplemented or replenished through the collection of data user fees, where appropriate, and other related contributions.
(b)Establishment of Databases and Information Systems.
The data bases and information system to be established under this component will form the backbone for the participating countries in their efforts to plan for adaptation to climate change. The information system will allow key regional and national institutions to acquire, analyze, store, and disseminate data on climate change and the impact on natural and manmade systems. It will facilitate access to the information on a wide range of public and private sector users and researchers, and will also serve to facilitate project management and monitoring and evaluation by linking Regional Archiving Centers with the data bases of the National Implementation Coordinating Units (NICUs) and the Regional Project Implementation Unit (RPIU). Each one of these nodes will be provided with the necessary software for data base management, data visualization and display, INTERNET communication, and web browsing. Appropriate training will be provided upon installation of the system, as well as ongoing technical support.
(c) Inventory of Coastal Resources and Uses.
The objective of this component is to further develop each participating country’s inventory of coastal resources so as to provide the necessary baseline data for the execution of other project activities. Coastal resource data needed for the proposed project include coastal physical characteristics, natural environments, and information on the use of coastal areas and resources. The inventory takes into consideration the widely varying coastal zone resources, existing inventories, and analysis capabilities in the region. Under this component, all twelve participating countries will acquire a Geographic Information System (GIS) capability in the form of hands-on and formal training; the establishment of data management procedures and standards; and collation and automation of existing data. A regional training course will be provided in resource inventory preparation.
(d) Formulation of a Policy Framework for Integrated Coastal and Marine Management.
This component will support the development of a generic policy framework for the preparation of ICZM legislation throughout the region. The framework will incorporate mechanisms for planning for adaptation to climate change, including specific tools such as land use guidelines and disaster contingency planning. A draft framework will be presented at a regional meeting of CPACC representatives for review and training, and in-country consultations will be conducted to assist in adapting the framework to meet specific country needs. Countries requesting special support (zoning, building controls, etc.) will be offered direct assistance. A public awareness and education program will also be conducted.
The pilot-based components include the following:
(e) Coral Reef Monitoring for Climate Change.
This component is designed to increase existing knowledge about the extent and sources of coral reef degradation in three countries (the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Belize, and Jamaica). Building upon ongoing work on coral reef monitoring throughout the region, this component will establish a long-term monitoring program which over time will show the effects of global warming factors (temperature stress, sea level rise, and hurricanes) on coral reefs. Under this component, a subregional forum of specialists from government, NGO, and CARICOM institutions, as well as experts from the scientific community, will identify the methodologies to adjust and extend current monitoring efforts of global warming impacts on Caribbean reefs. The activities will depend heavily on the inventory work of Component (c) above, and will consolidate information from past inventories with that extracted from the current monitoring efforts. In addition, specific activities will be dedicated to public awareness, education, and transfer of technology. Regional meetings will take place to review the monitoring program and to train country specialists from other countries on monitoring methodologies and lessons learned.
(f) Coastal Vulnerability and Risk Assessment.
Three countries (Barbados, Grenada, and Guyana) have agreed to participate in the development of vulnerability and risk assessments for their coastal areas. The component will begin with a review of coastal vulnerability assessment models and the application of the IPCC common methodology in these three countries and throughout the region. With the execution of the three vulnerability and risk assessments, representatives from these three countries will receive special training, and information will be transferred throughout all the agencies dealing with coastal zone management issues. A regional workshop will be held to present the results of the three case studies to the entire region. Manuals will be prepared for the execution of coastal vulnerability and risk assessments, and a public awareness and education program will be conducted to raise the level of public consciousness concerning the vulnerability of coastal areas.
(g) Economic Valuation of Coastal and Marine Resources.
This component will include the design and implementation of pilot studies in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the economic valuation of resources in selected coastal ecosystems at risk from sea level rise. Each of the three pilot studies will focus on an ecosystem and associated economic activities. Using existing information and input from other project components, the pilot studies will identify resources of significance, resource uses, and threats from sea level rise. Each pilot study will then use alternative approaches to estimate market and non-market values of resources at risk. The pilot studies will illustrate the use of valuation data, in some cases by demonstrating the development of environmental accounts with linkages to national accounting frameworks, in others by demonstrating cost-benefit and other decision-making frameworks for selecting among environmental management approaches. Capacity-building activities under this component will include the training of regional and local personnel in the use of alternative resource valuation strategies, the development of environmental accounts, and cost-benefit analysis. In addition, the results of the pilot studies will be used to develop and disseminate appropriate techniques for use throughout the region.
(h) Formulation of Economic/Regulatory Proposals.
This component will implement two pilot studies in Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis to demonstrate the design and use of economic and regulatory approaches to environmental protection in response to threats from sea level rise. The component will demonstrate how innovative approaches to environmental regulation, such as the use of economic incentives, can provide flexible, cost-effective alternatives to traditional “command and control” regulatory policies. In addition, the two pilot studies will address methods for generating funds to finance other programs aimed at mitigating the impacts of global climate change. Under this component, local and regional personnel will be trained in the design of economic-based regulations and other innovative approaches for coastal and marine management, as well as in program finance for environmental management. The results of the pilot studies will be used to develop training materials for use in regional workshops and will serve as input for the development of a region-wide policy framework.
(i) Enabling the preparation of national Communication in Response to Commitments to the UNFCCC.
This component will enable St. Vincent and the Grenadines to prepare its initial national communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This component has the following elements: start-up activities; establishment of an Information Network and a Web Site; preparation of a report on national circumstances; preparation of green house gases (GHG) inventory following the guidelines adopted by the UNFCCC; planning for adaptation to global climate change, concentrating on impacts on coastal areas and agricultural and water supply sectors; and preparation of the Initial National Communication to UNFCCC.