Millions are at risk of flooding in the Caribbean and Pacific islands.
Around 4.2 million people in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean and Pacific are living in high-risk flooding areas due to rising sea levels; this estimation has been reported by a study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
According to the study: A Blue Urban Agenda: Adapting to Climate Change in the Coastal Cities of Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States, the constant rising sea levels will have a negative impact on economic output and employment, which may increase inflation, causing the government debt to rise. Coastal erosion will also be affected by the rising sea levels.
Michael Donovan, the Senior Urban Specialist at the IDB, and the co-author of the study says: “Caribbean and Pacific coastal cities are on the frontlines of climate change, we must improve the flood protection for the cities within the coastal zones that are experiencing rapid urbanisation”.
Low-elevation coastal zones are areas with elevations that are less than 10 metres above sea level, and apparently one out of five residents of Caribbean and Pacific SIDS live in these danger zones. 80% of the population in the Bahamas and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are currently living in low elevation zones.
The international community has decided to take action and respond to this crisis. This study was created to review aid and private sector flows. Over 20 years, $55.6 billion US dollars has been donated to the Caribbean and Pacific SIDS, this ended in 2015, but it was reported that emphasis being placed on comprehensive programmes to help coastal cities become more resilient had increased significantly.
The study also tried to uncover the contributions put forward by the Caribbean and Pacific SIDS to enforce certain strategies, which would aid sustainability and decrease vulnerability for the coastal zones in high risk areas. The study revealed that emphasis on urban governance and institutional capacity building within city planning agencies has seen an increase over the years.