In the Caribbean region between 1980 and 2007, nearly 98 per cent of disasters, 99 per cent of casualties and 99 per cent of economic losses related to natural hazards were caused by recurrent meteorological, hydrological and climate-related events, primarily tropical cyclones and storm surges, floods, droughts and extreme temperatures. These are all expected to be further exacerbated as a result of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change, 2007 concludes that small islands, including those in the Caribbean, face some of the highest levels of threats and risks from climate change, particularly associated with these aforementioned events, rising sea levels and marine-related hazards.
Participating Countries / Territories
The following island countries/territories of the Caribbean were engaged in this assessment: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the British Caribbean Territories (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands), Cuba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin), Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, the Dutch municipalities (Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as three coastal States – Belize, Guyana and Suriname (hereafter and as appropriate referred to collectively as the Caribbean countries/territories).
With over 30 years of regional cooperation in tropical cyclone forecasting and warnings, facilitated by WMO, the Caribbean region has demonstrated the benefits of regional cooperation to reduce the impacts of meteorological and hydrological hazards. Extensive cooperation in DRR has been developed under the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) of CDEMA, underpinned by the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005–2015. Building on this, during the Training and Coordination Workshop on Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems (22–25 March 2010, San Jose, Costa Rica) the following needs were identified for the region:
The need to strengthen national and regional institutional capacities and cooperation among National Meteorlogical Services (NMSs), Disaster Risk Management (DRM) agencies and other DRR and early warning system (EWS) stakeholders within the context of risk assessment and EWS, with a multi-sectoral, multi-hazard approach to meteorological, hydrological and climate-related hazards; and
The need to improve coordination between hydrometeorological systems (building on the existing regional coordination for tropical cyclones watch and warnings) and responsible agencies and early warning networks concerned with other hazards.