Reducing Disaster Risks: Progress and Challenges in the Caribbean Region

By: Gabriel Thoumi
August 23, 2011



Disaster management is a global policy problem with a critical land-use change component related to settlement patterns, deforestation, and agriculture development. This is further exacerbated by climate change. For example, since 1970, the quantity of major category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes have almost doubled in the Caribbean region, from 15 major hurricanes between 1970-1979 to 29 major hurricanes between 2000-2008, with institutions attributing this increase in hurricanes partially to climate change possibly leading, over the next 20 years, to a decrease of 9% of GDP for the region.

This is the reason why addressing disaster management is one of the focuses of the climate security objective of the upcoming United Nations Rio +20 Summit.

Yet institutions, whether in the private or public sector, generally are responsive after-the-fact to single events in how to develop responses to natural disasters. Given that 60 percent of the population of the Caribbean region lives in the coastal zone with 70 percent of all economic activity located within two miles of the coastline, increasing risks associated with climate change have the potential to greatly impact deforestation and biodiversity loss unless collated and well-nuanced integrated pro-active disaster management preparedness plans are in place between public and private sector institutions.

For example, after Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 decreased Jamaican GDP 65 percent, Jamaica established an emergency information system with standard operating procedures regarding located and assessing critical resources including natural resources. Yet, while the green economy grows the Caribbean region is further at risk from increasing frequency of major category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes that could negatively impact the growing new economy.

In conclusion, as much as a “green economy” is promoted with green businesses with associated economic returns, an “integrated green risk mitigation mechanism” should also be promoted as a method to protect and insure the gains from the “green economy” while securing Millennium Development Goals and maintaining and enhancing social, environmental and governance safeguards. This is one of the key lessons from the Caribbean region presented in Reducing Disaster Risks: Progress and Challenges in the Caribbean Region.

How to order
Reducing Disaster Risks: Progress and Challenges in the Caribbean Region
Guest Editors: Ian Davis, Stephen O. Bender, Fredrick Krimgold, and Franklin J. McDonald
Paperback: 110 Pages, $99.95
Publisher: Earthscan, 2011




Gabriel Thoumi frequently contributes to Mongabay.com.













Related articles

Arctic sea ice in free fall: new record low for July

(08/10/2011) Average Arctic sea ice extent hit a new record low for July according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).If the melt continues apace, the sea ice extent could hit its lowest point since record keeping by satellite began 32 years ago. However, ice loss slowed through the second half of July as weather grew colder in the Arctic, and by the end of the month was slightly above conditions in 2007, in which the lowest sea ice extent ever was measured.


Chart: US suffers record drought

(08/01/2011) An exceptional drought is still scorching major parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. A new report from the National Drought Mitigation Center finds that over July, nearly 12 percent of the US saw exceptional drought conditions, the highest record since monitoring began a dozen years. Exceptional drought is the worst possible on a 5-scale drought scale.


Climate change to push over 10 percent of the world's species to extinction by 2100

(07/11/2011) Scientists have predicted for decades that climate change could have a grave impact on life on Earth, which is already facing numerous threats from habitat loss, over-exploitation, pollution, invasive species, and other impacts. However, empirical proof of extinctions--and even endangerment--due to climate change have been difficult to come by. A new study in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science has found that by the time today's infants are 90 years old (i.e. the year 2100) climate change could have pushed over 11 percent of the world's species to extinction.







CITATION:
By: Gabriel Thoumi (August 23, 2011).

Reducing Disaster Risks: Progress and Challenges in the Caribbean Region.

http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0823-thoumi_caribbean_climate.html