Title

Climate-Fragility Risk Brief: The Caribbean

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Extreme Events

Keywords

srhreports, naturaldisasters, the Caribbean, climate change, naturalhazards, flood risks, rising temperatures, tropical cyclones, sea-level rise, population growth, urbanization, economies, social and security challenges, COVID-19

Description

The Caribbean region is considered to be relatively peaceful and politically stable, but highly vulnerable to direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Caribbean countries, most of which are small-island developing states (SIDS), have long suffered from the destructive impacts of natural hazards, including hurricanes, severe weather events, drought and sea level rise. Climate change is projected to make them worse; rising temperatures and an increase in flooding risks are anticipated. Tropical cyclones are becoming more frequent and intense. Changing precipitation patterns, as well as sea level rise and ocean acidification, are threatening the livelihood and physical security of coastal communities. However, climate change is not acting alone. Its impacts are adding to the pressure of population growth and rapid urbanization on land space and already limited food, water and energy resources, resulting in environmental degradation and rising unemployment, inequality and poverty levels. This will have significant consequences for the Caribbean countries’ economies. Climate change impacts will also amplify existing social and security challenges, such as loss of livelihoods, urban migration, crime, labor market inequalities, and the feminization of poverty. In turn, these dynamics risk putting additional stress on governmental support structures, which could lead to political instability as citizens increasingly question their legitimacy. The COVID-19 pandemic is adding a further layer to these risks, slowing foreign direct investments, halting tourism, increasing unemployment and decreasing remittances. To address these challenges fully and effectively, it is important that these risks are analyzed and understood in an integrated way. In this paper, we identify three possible pathways through which climate change interacts with other drivers of fragility and insecurity in the Caribbean region.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Climate-Fragility Risk Brief: The Caribbean

The Caribbean region is considered to be relatively peaceful and politically stable, but highly vulnerable to direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Caribbean countries, most of which are small-island developing states (SIDS), have long suffered from the destructive impacts of natural hazards, including hurricanes, severe weather events, drought and sea level rise. Climate change is projected to make them worse; rising temperatures and an increase in flooding risks are anticipated. Tropical cyclones are becoming more frequent and intense. Changing precipitation patterns, as well as sea level rise and ocean acidification, are threatening the livelihood and physical security of coastal communities. However, climate change is not acting alone. Its impacts are adding to the pressure of population growth and rapid urbanization on land space and already limited food, water and energy resources, resulting in environmental degradation and rising unemployment, inequality and poverty levels. This will have significant consequences for the Caribbean countries’ economies. Climate change impacts will also amplify existing social and security challenges, such as loss of livelihoods, urban migration, crime, labor market inequalities, and the feminization of poverty. In turn, these dynamics risk putting additional stress on governmental support structures, which could lead to political instability as citizens increasingly question their legitimacy. The COVID-19 pandemic is adding a further layer to these risks, slowing foreign direct investments, halting tourism, increasing unemployment and decreasing remittances. To address these challenges fully and effectively, it is important that these risks are analyzed and understood in an integrated way. In this paper, we identify three possible pathways through which climate change interacts with other drivers of fragility and insecurity in the Caribbean region.