Science & Services for Caribbean Climate Resilience
In the Caribbean, the economic importance of agriculture and tourism—combined with rural poverty and vulnerability to extreme events like hurricanes and droughts—makes adapting to climate change an urgent necessity. Integrating climate information and decision processes can be a powerful approach to building resilience in this region.
That was the theme of a May 2014 workshop in Kingston, Jamaica, convened by the International Research and Applications Project (IRAP) in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology. IRAP—which is funded by NOAA and USAID and led by the University of Arizona and Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society—advances research on climate adaptation and resilience while furthering the application of climate services in developing countries.
The workshop, from which a report is now available, immediately followed the 2014 Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF), an annual event that brings together producers and users of climate information to consider seasonal forecasts for the Caribbean region. The CariCOF and the workshop engaged participants from 28 countries (including the United States) to explore links between the social and physical aspects of climate risk, inform the development of tools and research for decision support, and build new partnerships. Workshop participants covered issues such as:
- how climate vulnerability varies with the capacity of individual communities for collective action;
- challenges in coordinating disaster preparedness and response among different sectors;
- how to sustain and improve the CariCOF;
- how to evaluate the efficacy of climate information services; and
- research needs for better understanding and evaluating the end-to-end climate service approach.
The workshop served as the launching point for IRAP’s involvement with the Caribbean region, with the associated report laying the groundwork for continued analysis and engagement.