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Climate Services and Caribbean Resilience: A Historical Perspective.

Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS) are among the world's most fragile economies that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (Avellan and Castonguay 2015). Analyses of the region's growth performance (Inter-American Development Bank 2014; International Monetary Fund 2016; Caribbean Development Bank 2016) consistently demonstrate that Caribbean SIDS, as a group, have the worst economic performance when compared to other economic sub-groupings (e.g. emerging markets). In the period 1980-2014 for example, annual real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Caribbean experienced sluggish expansion (1.7 percent) when compared to global growth (3.7 percent). This trend continued through 2015-2016, with the real GDP averaged across the Caribbean underperforming, at 0.8 percent when compared to global growth at 1.4 percent (IMF 2016).

Against this background is the fact that the Caribbean is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world (IMF 2013). Disasters inflict large welfare costs, especially on developing economies (IDB 2010). It is important to underscore the significant impact that weather and climate-related disasters have historically had on the region. For example, research shows that, compared to South Pacific and Indian Ocean SIDS, the Caribbean has had the highest number of people affected by disasters over the period 1987-2004 (United Nations Environment Program 2007). Moreover, weather and climate-related events are associated with more economic damage and loss cumulatively than other types of natural hazards. According to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (2013), for the period 1950-2008, wind storms accounted for 60 percent of natural hazard events in the region, flooding accounted for 25 percent, while drought accounted for 5 percent. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan caused losses equivalent to 200 percent of the GDP in Grenada; floods in Guyana in 2005 were associated with losses of 60 percent of GDP; Hurricane Tomas accounted for losses in the order of 60 percent of GDP in Saint Lucia in 2010; while Tropical Storm Erika resulted in damage and losses in the order of 90 percent of Dominica's GDP (Farrell 2012; World Meteorological Organization 2013; CDB 2016). Moreover, in 2009-2010, the most severe drought in the region in fifty years reduced crop production, increased bushfires and led to widespread water shortages and an increase in food prices across many Caribbean territories (Farrell, Trotman, and Cox 2010). More recently, from 2014 to 2016, the Caribbean experienced another extreme drought event that resulted in a shortage in water supply in many countries and severe disruption in several key socio-economic sectors (Trotman et al. 2017). While both events were severe, the region's experience with these events differed.

The inextricable inter-connection between disasters, particularly climate-related disasters, and negative socio-economic outcomes in the Caribbean has been recognised at regional and international levels. Professor the Hon. Sir George Alleyne, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, in reflecting on the region's debt burden (which exceeded US$40 billion in 2013) noted "... one of the features that continues to be emphasised is that this (regional debt) has not been due in any way to the fiscal profligacy on the part of the region's governments. Much of this has been due to the impact of natural hazards and consequent disasters..." (Jamaica Observer 2015). Sir George reinforced this point by highlighting the adverse socio-economic impacts of Tropical Storm Erika on Dominica in 2015. While noting the impact of the singular event, it should be recognised that Erika occurred during a larger prevailing El Nino climatic event (El Nino), which produced severe regional drought from 2014 to 2016. The drought's impact on the region's ecosystems compounded the impact of the storm. Such a scenario makes the case for analysts to evaluate the magnitude of Erika and similar severe weather systems within the context of the prevailing climatic state. The contribution of weather and climate events to poor economic growth in the Caribbean has also been recognised by stakeholders external to the region. Standard and Poor's Financial Services LLC advised investors to be circumspect in approaching Jamaica's debt stating "... Our ratings on Jamaica reflect its high general government debt and interest rate burden; limited fiscal, monetary and external flexibility; lower growth prospects; and vulnerability to natural disasters due to its location in the hurricane belt..." (Jamaica Gleaner 2012). The global financial ratings company's inclusion of Jamaica's vulnerability to disasters as one of the key factors negatively impacting the country's financial position should be a wake-up call to all states in the region which are all highly vulnerable to climate-related disasters.

The Caribbean will likely be further impacted by the adverse effects of climate variability and change unless appropriate mitigative policies and plans are implemented as part of its weather and climate adaptation programmes (Farrell 2012). The World Bank estimated, for example, that by 2080, the Caribbean will experience annual losses in GDP in the range of US$11.2 billion (in 2007 US$) directly due to, among other factors, the effects of climate-related events such as droughts and floods (Toba 2009). Many of these losses will be felt in vulnerable, climate-sensitive sectors. It is extremely important, therefore, that Caribbean countries give greater policy attention to weather and climate impacts on the economic performance of the region, and particularly to the need for climate-sensitive sectors to engage in climate risk management (CRM) (Martinez et al. 2012).


Climate services refers to "the production, translation, transfer, and use of climate knowledge and information in climate-informed decision making and climate-smart policy and planning" (Climate Services Partnership n.d.). At the international level, the development and incorporation of science-based climate monitoring (e.g. climate summaries) and prediction (e.g. seasonal climate forecasts) products into planning, policy, and practice is at the core of the vision of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), a United Nations-led initiative spearheaded by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to support the production and consumption of climate early warning information by five global priority sectors, namely, agriculture and food security; water; health; disaster risk reduction; and energy, to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change (WMO 2011, 2014, 2017).

The GFCS recognises that many countries, including SIDS, lack the policy, planning, and institutional frameworks necessary to enable them to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the development and integration of climate services into national and sectoral planning and practice (WMO 2011). In the Caribbean, these opportunities abound. For example, in a region that is the most tourism-dependent in the world (WTTC 2016), seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) can support the ability of tourism hoteliers and policymakers to make adjustments to facility operations, procurement strategies, and marketing strategies, three to six months in advance of adverse or favourable climate conditions in the region. On the other hand, it also positions these potential users to capitalise on marketing and revenue opportunities that can arise from unfavourable climate conditions in tourist-generating regions (e.g. if there is a forecast of wetter than normal winter conditions in the UK, the US, or Canada), or alternatively from unfavourable climate conditions in extra-regional tourist-receiving regions (e.g. South-East Asia) that compete directly with the Caribbean.

The Caribbean health sector can also benefit from climate early warning information that addresses high impact human health challenges faced by the region. Many Caribbean SIDS currently suffer high socio-economic burdens from climate-sensitive health outcomes, including morbidity and mortality from vector-borne diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika. A conservative estimate suggests that dengue alone costs the Caribbean about US$321 million annually. Moreover, the Caribbean remains the area within the Americas with the highest cost per capita (international dollars $8.70) (Shepard et al. 2011) and about 9,000 years of lost time, due to ill health and premature deaths as a result of dengue (Carrington 2013). Yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika share a common vector--the Aedes aegypti mosquito--that is climate sensitive (Ortiz et. al 2015). The routine production of climate-driven early warning information that forecasts increased Aedes aegypti populations therefore remains an untapped opportunity to support climate resilience in the wider Caribbean now and well into the future.

Climate services can also support CRM in the Caribbean agriculture sector. The poultry industry, the largest livestock agribusiness in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is a major employer of women and likely the largest single contributor to the rural economy of the region. Poultry products also supply more than 57 percent of the protein needs of Caribbean people, making it a major contributor to nutrition and good health in the region (CPA 2004). Heat stress in poultry production is a growing concern in tropical regions (Ayo, Obidi, and Rekwot 2011). In this context, it is important to note that Stephenson et al. (2014) reported that the Caribbean is experiencing increased temperatures, with more frequent occurrences of extremely high temperatures and warm days and nights. Given the importance of the poultry industry to the region's socio-economic development and nutritional needs, and the likely negative effects of future climate on those outcomes, the development of heat stress early warning systems for the industry could be beneficial.

1967-2017: The 50-year evolution of Caribbean climate service development and integration

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), in its role as the WMO's Regional Climate Center for the Caribbean, is well-placed to continue leading the implementation of the GFCS in the Caribbean. The CIMH is an institution of CARICOM and the technical organ of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO). Since its inception as the Caribbean Meteorological Institute (CMI) in 1967, the CIMH has evolved its capability to serve the climate information needs of the sixteen CMO Member States.

As a repository for the region's climate data archive, the CIMH has been supporting and providing climate services to partners and stakeholders by facilitating the delivery of quality-controlled climate data for fifty years. Since 2000, the climate data sets produced through this activity have spanned a sufficiently long period to enable delivery of other services beyond data (CIMH 2016). In 2007, the Institute made a strategic decision to increase the range of climate services it provided to the region, leading to the establishment of the Applied Meteorology and Climatology (AM&C) section, which was tasked with the broader mandate of converting climate data into climate products and services for an expanding client base, including climate-sensitive socio-economic sectors seeking targeted climate services and products to enhance their decision-making processes.

The shift from climate data to climate-driven early warning information products presented the opportunity for CIMH to attract increasing levels of funding from the donor community to support various national and regional weather and climate-related resilience efforts. The Caribbean Water Initiative (CARIWIN), a joint project with the Brace Water Institute at McGill University, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (which supported the University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development Program) became the first beneficiary of this new strategy. CARIWIN engaged water resource managers in Grenada, Guyana, and Jamaica to improve their capacity in the use of the principles of Integrated Water Resources Management, hydro-meteorological data processing and management, the use of field instrumentation, drought monitoring information and water policy. While the design and launch of CARIWIN in 2006 pre-dated the establishment of the AM&C Section in 2007, the programme benefitted from the shift to a product development and stakeholder support focus.

At the regional level, early warning information systems (EWIS) were recognised by the second Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Programme Framework 2007-2012 (CDEMA 2007), as well as, CARICOM's Implementation Plan for the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change 2009-2015 (CCCCC 2009) as critical to the effective management of climate-related disasters and adaptation to climate extremes, climate variability and change. The establishment of the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network in 2009, a grouping of technical climate monitoring experts across the region, advanced the implementation of the Caribbean Drought Early Warning Infor-mation System (DEWIS). The network began to provide operational Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) maps as a means of monitoring drought and excessive seasonal rainfall. The 2009-2010 drought event thereafter triggered the Caribbean DEWIS to provide potentially useful seasonal drought-related information to help sectoral decision-makers--particularly in the agriculture, water management, and disaster risk management sectors--to better understand the relative chances that extreme drought events would occur in upcoming months (Farrell, Trotman, and Cox 2010).

The CIMH commenced implementation of the Caribbean Agro-Meteorological Initiative (CAMI) in partnership with the WMO, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and ten National Metereological Services (NMHSs) in November 2009. This three-year initiative marked CIMH's first major attempt to interface with the agricultural sector to provide weather and climate services through NMHSs. Interaction with farmers and agricultural extension officers built awareness and capacity and provided them with information communicated in a manner that was useful and usable. One of CAMI's major outcomes was the development of regional and national agro-meteorological bulletins to inform the sector of recent events and the three-month seasonal precipitation forecast (Trotman 2012).

In many parts of the world, Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) provide consensus-based, user-relevant seasonal climate forecasts to decision-makers at regional and national levels. June 2010 saw the re-establishment of the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) after a long hiatus. This event was critical to the establishment of a reliable network to provide consensus rainfall outlooks, as well as, to train personnel at the CIMH and NMHS in the art and science of seasonal forecasting. Since that time, the Forum has brought together meteorological service professionals and decision-makers to produce and discuss seasonal climate forecasts issued for the Wet Hurricane season, and since 2014, for the Dry season (CIMH 2014a, 2014b; Van Meerbeeck et al. 2013). CariCOF assemblies, held annually since 2012, have expanded sectoral engagement. CariCOF assesses the likely implications of the seasonal climate outlooks on socio-economic sectors and explores sector-specific applications for them. It also reviews barriers to the use of climate information, and highlights experiences and success stories. At the 2013 CariCOF assembly, a newsletter began to be operationally disseminated to convey the key points of the outlooks to stakeholders and users.

In May 2013, the First Regional Workshop on Climate Services at the National Level for the Caribbean brought together one hundred stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities related to implementing climate services in the region. Participants agreed on a common way forward, including the need for national pilots and the need to support the CIMH as the WMO Regional Climate Centre for the Caribbean (WMO 2013).

Strategies for linking loss and damage due to increasing climate variability and climate change represent a significant challenge for many developing countries, SIDS, and Least Developed Countries. The Conference of the Parties 19 (COP 19) established the Warsaw Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts as the main vehicle under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to promote the implementation of approaches to address loss and damage in a comprehensive, integrated and coherent manner (UNFCCC 2014). Robinson and Phillips (2014), in a study commissioned by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with support from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) (now CCRIF Segregated Portfolio Company), to assess strategies for linking the ECLAC damage and loss assessment methodology to the post-disaster needs assessment, concluded, among other things, that the lack of baseline data in the Caribbean was a challenge. Another problem is that many of the damage and loss studies conducted for severe weather events often lack climate context. To bridge this gap, the CIMH, in collaboration with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and its partners, developed and launched the Caribbean Climate Impacts Database between 2013 and 2015. The database is an inventory of geo-referenced, climate-related impacts extending from 1780 to present in nineteen Caribbean states (CARICOM members and associates). At present, five climate-sensitive sectors previously mentioned are accounted for in the Caribbean CID, with the potential for including other climate-sensitive sectors such as energy in the near future.

Connecting providers of climate information with users ensures that climate products and services adequately address their needs. The 2009-2010 drought represented a watershed moment in understanding this relationship and, in particular, addressing the inadequacy of targeted climate information being developed for the region. It was clear that while explicit indications for a severe drought across the region were present prior to the event, the adequacy of the information to drive mitigative action was lacking. To address this challenge, the CariCOF Drought Outlook was implemented in 2014 as the first demand-driven climate outlook product for the Caribbean. It now forms part of a drought early warning alerting system for the Caribbean that provides several months of warning lead-time. The availability of monitoring and outlook information for drought, as well as the incremental awareness and capacity that have been built around product interpretation and associated implications, is likely to have had a positive impact on regional and national preparedness. For example, although the 2014-2016 El Nino event (a major driver of the Caribbean drought) was one of the strongest in history, anecdotal evidence suggests there was less intense concern, particularly among Caribbean heads of government, compared to the 2009-2010 drought event. This may have been due to the fact that through the CDPMN, there was a wealth of information at the regional scale, as well as nationally, through information generated by the NMHSs. Nonetheless, the 2014-2016 event reinforced the need for drought early warning information to be integrated into national development plans and policies, as well as regional programmes (CARICOM 2015).

CariCOF stakeholder meetings currently represent important forums for identifying, testing and launching new climate products and services. The 2015 Wet Hurricane Season CariCOF introduced two new operational products: the Caribbean Coral Reef Watch, and the CariCOF Wet Days and Wet Spells Outlooks. The Caribbean Coral Reef Watch, produced in collaboration with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch, maps and explains the current and expected coral reef bleaching situation across the entire Caribbean region. This information is critical for a range of stakeholders including ecosystem managers, coastal zone managers, dive shop operators, and the fisheries/food production sector. The CariCOF Wet Days and Wet Spells Outlooks forecast the frequency of wet days, as well as, three- and seven-day wet spells over the upcoming three months. These outlooks provide additional context to the Precipitation Outlook, particularly regarding managing flood risk by adding detail with respect to rainfall occurrence within the season (Van Meerbeeck and Mason 2015). This type of sub-seasonal information is increasingly salient for planning and preparedness across the agriculture and water resources management sectors, as well as for tourism and disaster management.

Political support is key to the sustainability and success of many Caribbean initiatives. The 53rd Special Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), held in 2015, recognised the importance of climate services, including the GFCS to sustaining regional development. The Meeting noted that the GFCS offers significant benefits to the Caribbean as it adapts its systems and processes to address increasing hazards, vulnerabilities and development risks associated with increasing climate variability and climate change (CARICOM 2015). Key COTED requests included calling on:

1. the CIMH to conduct an economic analysis of the impact of drought on CARICOM Member States that examines the relationship between drought and poverty;

2. Member States to ensure that the GFCS is integrated into existing regional policies, frameworks, and programmes, and that its principles are integrated into national climate early warning systems; and

3. the CIMH to facilitate greater levels of interactions between all stakeholders to improve decision-making, as well as increased technology transfer, know-how, and partnerships within the region.

Finally, the 53rd COTED Meeting endorsed the need to strengthen regional institutions, and in particular, the WMO RCC for the Caribbean, to enable them to better identify, develop, and deliver targeted user-driven and user-friendly climate services to climate-sensitive sectors.

To improve and accelerate the development of weather and climate products and services, as well as to deliver on the COTED's call for the CIMH to facilitate increased technology transfer and know-how within the region going forward, the CIMH established the Caribbean Centre for Climate and Environmental Simulations (CCCES) by combining its computational resources into a single organisational structure. The CCCES provides CARICOM scientists, engineers and researchers with state-of-the-art computational resources to conduct complex simulations and analyses within and across disciplines on a range of scenarios (covering varying spatial and temporal scales). This allows researchers to adequately identify, assess, and address the drivers of risk to the social and economic development of the Caribbean.

Building research and development programmes to address societal adaptation to extreme weather and climate involves consideration of both structural and non-structural approaches. Often, these approaches are treated as separate and distinct, with the social science community focusing on non-structural approaches, and the science and engineering community focusing on structural approaches. However, for solutions to be truly transformative, this siloed treatment of resilience issues needs to be replaced with a more integrated one. Recognising that implicit in the successful implementation of the GFCS across the Caribbean is the unification of structural and non-structural approaches, the CIMH has followed an integrated implementation model. From 2013 to 2017, under the United States Agency for International Development's (Higher Education Development) Building Capacity to Manage Water Resources and Climate Risks in the Caribbean Programme, the Building Regional Climate Capacity in the Caribbean Programme, and the Environment and Climate Change Canada-funded Programme for Implementing the Global Framework for Climate Services at Regional and National Scales, the Institute began the process of integrating social science approaches with its traditional natural science methodologies to improve the development and delivery of climate services. This was timely and critical since, until the integration of social science analysis into the CIMH programme, knowledge regarding end-user needs for, and capacity to use, climate information in Caribbean climate-sensitive sectors was not robust. The conduct of a comprehensive baseline assessment of user needs has generated new, targeted knowledge needed to inform product tailoring and development for sector-specific applications. Looking ahead, the institute has continued to act on its commitment to integrate social science approaches. Most recently, it has partnered with the NOAA, through the US National Weather Service, and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) to pilot a weather and climate-ready nation(s) programme in the Eastern Caribbean that will feature the integration of structural and non-structural approaches to improve disaster risk reduction in pilot countries.

Under the Building Regional Climate Capacity in the Caribbean (BRCCC) Programme, the CIMH continued to improve the range and use of climate-based products and services available to sectoral decision-makers. At the 2016 Wet/Hurricane Season CariCOF, a future line of products geared to help facilitate the development of heat-health early warning information systems was first proposed. The line includes excessive heat outlooks covering the warm part of the year from May to October, heat wave frequency outlooks, as well as more detailed information on the historical record of excessive heat occurrence. The public health, livestock, and energy sectors are poised to benefit from outlooks of excessive heat by informing decisions such as required cooling needs or water consumption.

Increasing climate variability and climate change will impact multiple sectors simultaneously. In addition, impacts in one sector may cascade in unforeseen ways into others. As a result, stand-alone actions and policies for individual sectors may result in a less-than-optimal outcome at the national level, when compared to more integrative decision support and policy development processes. For example, management decisions in the water sector in response to climate scenarios can have inadvertent impacts on water-dependent sectors (e.g. agriculture and health) and ultimately the national economy if the needs of these sectors are not considered. As a result, climate problems cannot be viewed as intra-sectoral challenges but must be viewed as inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary (Mahon, Rankine, and Trotman 2015a). Recognising the inter-sectoral linkages driven by climate, the CIMH and climate-sensitive sectors in the Caribbean established a partnership to co-design, co-develop and co-deliver user-driven climate early warning information. This regional partnership is embodied in the Consortium of Sectoral Early Warning Information Systems across Climate Timescales (EWISACTs) Coordination Partners. Established in 2015 and formalised in 2017, the Consortium leverages synergies offered by lead technical institutions, who are intimately familiar with their regional and sectoral contexts, and can consistently invest in the co-production of user-driven climate early warning information (CIMH et al 2015). While the Sectoral EWISACTs' Coordination Partners (see Figure 1) currently consist of six regional sectoral agencies--the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association--and a regional climate service provider (the CIMH) that are committed to collaborating on the development and integration of climate services into sectoral decision-making, the concept is scalable at national and global levels and extendable (i.e. more climate-sensitive partners can be accommodated).

The Consortium of Regional Sectoral EWISACTs Coordination Partners has been instrumental in developing the next generation of user-specific and actionable climate information products that synthesise and message out the implications of climate for sectors from CIMH's existing suite of technical climate products (see Table 1).

June 2017 saw the launch of the enhanced monthly Caribbean Agro-Climatic Bulletin of the Caribbean Society for Agro-Meteorology (CariSAM), as well as the new Caribbean Health-Climatic Bulletin and the new quarterly Caribbean Tourism-Climatic Bulletin--all joint efforts with regional Consortium partners. The sector-specific Bulletins (Figure 2) seek to provide a broad overview of climate conditions and communicate sectoral implications up to 3 to 6 months in advance. The Bulletins not only integrate sector and climate perspectives, but also pitch scientific information at an appropriate level to sectoral users, and effectively expand the number and range of products being accessed by sectoral decision-makers.

Research to support the development of more complex sector-specific products that integrate climate and sectoral variables has begun. For example, the CIMH continues to partner with the health community at regional and national levels, NMHSs, and an international research team to co-design and co-develop a spatio-temporal modelling framework for Aedes aegypti proliferation in the Caribbean. Preliminary analyses from this work piloted in Barbados and Dominica provide evidence for the role of climate in seasonal and interannual variability in Aedes aegypti dynamics and dengue transmission. These preliminary findings lay the groundwork for developing a climate-driven early warning system for Aedes aegypti and associated viruses in the Caribbean. Over time, the outputs of this modelling framework should provide probabilistic maps that can be used for operational, evidence-based decision making in the area of vector surveillance and control. In addition, in the near future, the CIMH will partner with the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association to develop a tourism-climate spatio-temporal modelling framework that predicts the influence of intra- and extra- regional climate on tourist arrivals to the Caribbean. Over time, the outputs of this modelling framework can be used to inform strategic and operational marketing. Close collaboration with Consortium partners will continue to be instrumental to the success of these future product development processes.


As noted earlier, political buy-in is critical for increasing the use of operational climate services in all aspects of national policy, planning and decision-making. While the decisions of the 53rd Special Session of COTED signals buy-in at the regional level, the key to the future growth of operational climate services in the Caribbean will be national and community level buy-in. In this regard, the CariCOF process, along with the associated products and services, have received moderate levels of buy-in. However, much of the investment in the CariCOF process is from external entities. The BRCCC and ECCC programmes both saw national level buy-in as important and explored this through their support for National Climate Outlook Forums, national stakeholder consultations, and national training workshops. Over the next five years, an important metric will be the sustainability of these activities through national and regional funding mechanisms. Failure to attract funding from such sources to drive the development and delivery of climate services will signal that the true value of operational climate services to national economies is neither fully appreciated nor fully understood. It is therefore critical that, as requested by the 53rd COTED, models for the quantitative assessments of the socio-economic benefits of operational climate services within the Caribbean context be developed and implemented in the near term. This will require new partnerships with regional and extra-regional professionals and academics with the requisite experience.

Extending operational climate services beyond those sectors currently being supported is also key. It is expected that, in the near future, operational climate services will be integrated implicitly and explicitly in the financial, construction, and insurance sectors, among others. Interventions in the new sectors will require discussions and stakeholder mapping strategies to define the areas and styles of intervention.

Finally, it is envisioned that, in some cases, operational climate services will be best developed, delivered, and implemented through public-private partnerships. Currently, the intervention with the tourism sector represents, in some aspects, the start of such a trend. It is expected that the delivery of operational climate products and services to the energy sector will, in some cases, be built on a public-private partnership model.


The poor growth performance in Caribbean countries in the last two decades has reinforced interest in how to increase productivity and address underlying long-term structural barriers to sustainable growth and development in the region. Extreme weather, increasing climate variability, and climate change have been shown to have significant negative impacts on socio-economic development in the Caribbean, with the lasting effects of some events extending over a generation.

This article presented the evolution of the Caribbean region's climate services programme over the last fifty years, and particularly the strides made in the last decade. In doing so, it highlighted how climate risks in climate-sensitive socio-economic sectors can be reduced and managed through the co-design, co-development, and co-delivery of climate products and services that bring together climate information providers and users. The highly participatory processes and integrated outcomes from the multi-sectoral EWISACTs portfolio, and other developments underpinned by this philosophy, are a central part of a value chain to minimise the impact of weather and climate-related events at national and regional scales. The continued success of this portfolio will add further weight to the evidence base for the growing importance of climate services to the building of a climate-resilient Caribbean.


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Servicios Climaticos y Resiliencia Caribena: una Perspectiva Historica

Roche Mahon, David Farrell, Shelly-Ann Cox, Adrian Trotman, Cedric van Meerbeeck y Garfield Barnwell

Este articulo describe la evolution de los servicios climaticos en el Caribe en los ultimos cincuenta anos, lo que representa una contribution importante a la creciente resiliencia de la region a las condiciones climaticas severas y la variabilidad climatica extrema. En particular, se centra en los avances recientes realizados por el Instituto de Meteorologia e Hidrologia del Caribe (IMHC) en colaboracion con sus multiples socios internacionales, regionales y nacionales, para sentar las bases e implementar sus sistemas multisectoriales de alerta temprana a lo largo de la cartera Agenda Climatica que atiende los sectores de agua, reduction del riesgo de desastres, agricultura y seguridad alimentaria, salud, turismo y energia, entre otros. La experiencia historica acumulada de la region deja en claro que la capacidad del programa de servicios climaticos del Caribe para mejorar efectivamente la resiliencia regional depende de la construction de productos y servicios que no solo cubran necesidades sectoriales criticas, sino que tambien ofrezcan oportunidades para facilitar las reformas estructurales para la transition a un camino de desarrollo sostenible.

Palabras clave: Servicios climaticos, gestion del riesgo climatico, resiliencia, desarrollo socioeconomico, sistemas de alerta temprana

Services Climatologiques et Resilience des Caraibes: une Perspective Historique

Cet article decrit revolution des services climatologiques dans les Caraibes au cours des cinquante dernieres annees, ce qui represente une contribution importante a la resilience croissante de la region aux phenomenes meteorologiques violents et a la variabilite climatique extreme. En particulier, il met l'accent sur les progres recents realises par l'lnstitut caribeen de meteorologie et d'hydrologie (ICMH) en collaboration avec ses multiples partenaires internationaux, regionaux et nationaux, pour jeter les bases et mettre en ceuvre ses systemes d'alerte precoce multisectoriels tout au long du Portfolio Climate Timescales qui comprend les secteurs de l'eau, la reduction des risques de catastrophe, l'agriculture et la securite alimentaire, la sante, le tourisme et les secteurs de l'energie, entre autres. L'experience historique cumulee de la region montre clairement que la capacite du programme des services climatologiques des Caraibes pour renforcer efficacement la resilience regionale depend des produits et services de construction qui repondent non seulement aux besoins sectoriels critiques, mais aussi qui offrent des opportunites pour rendre plus faciles les reformes structurelles necessaires aux economies des Caraibes pour la transition vers une voie de developpement durable.

Mots cles: services climatologiques, gestion des risques climatiques, resiience, developpement socio-economique, systemes d'alerte precoce
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Author:Mahon, Roche; Farrell, David; Cox, Shelly-Ann; Trotman, Adrian; van Meerbeeck, Cedric; Barnwell, Gar
Publication:Social and Economic Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:50CAR
Date:Jun 1, 2018
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