CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER RISK REDUCTION Title: Climate change and biodiversity in the insular Caribbean

Project countries: Caribbean islands

Dates/Term: 2007-2009

Funders: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Project amount: USD 250,000

Background: Given the inevitability of climate change, there is an urgent need to address the uncertainty about what the patterns of change will be and how these will impact on the biodiversity resources in the Caribbean. While most countries in the region have ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change few have put in place adequate changes in policy or practice to address the threats.

Attempts were being made to refine coarse global climate change models to better predict specific impacts on the insular Caribbean. Some efforts were underway in the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Havana and other academic institutions in the region to assess the impacts of climate change on the region’s nature resource base. However, a systematic and comprehensive assessment of the current research and its policy implications for the insular Caribbean had not yet been conducted. Regional involvement in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process facilitated linkages between Caribbean and international initiatives but much remained to be done.

Recognising that global warming is occurring and threatens biodiversity conservation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MacArthur) decided to make an initial investment of $5 million over three years to identify and mitigate the threat from global climate change on species in the most diverse ecosystems of the planet. The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) was selected to coordinate the Caribbean assessment.

This project was implemented to address the uncertainty surrounding climate change. The research focused on increasing understanding of and consensus on what was known, and perhaps more importantly what was not known, about the predicted climate change trends and their impact on biodiversity in Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS). The aim was to develop a regional research agenda and capacity needs assessment to address identified gaps and to consider how protected area management, biodiversity protection, and conservation policy could best address climate change in the region.

Goal: To assess the threats and vulnerabilities to biodiversity from climate change in the insular Caribbean through an examination of current research and the identification of a research and policy agenda for the region.

Expected results:

  • Increased understanding and consensus on what is known, and perhaps more importantly what is not known, about the predicted climate change trends and their impact on biodiversity in the islands of the Caribbean with a view to developing a research agenda and capacity needs assessment in relation to how protected area management, biodiversity protection, and conservation policy might address climate change in the region.
  • Stimulation of a series of further scientific, policy and communications research proposals from a variety of institutions within and outside the region, for submission to the MacArthur Foundation and others.

Update: In March 2012, the MacArthur Foundation hosted an international workshop on climate change investment, to which all grantees of the $5 million investment programme were invited to share their experiences, specifically the results, challenges and lessons earned and to identify existing gaps that still need to be filled in terms of climate adaptation. The workshop also formulated a framework for climate vulnerability assessment and biodiversity adaptation planning. Future investment by the Foundation is expected to be guided by the outputs of this workshop. Nature Serve, one of the co-organisers of the workshop, took the lead on developing a paper based on the discussions at this workshop, co-authored by several of the grantees. The paper will be shared on this page after its publication.

Activities:

The goal was achieved through the facilitation of a process which engaged climatologists, biodiversity experts and policy analysts in:

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For more information:

Please contact Nicole Leotaud at [email protected] or + 868-626-6062.