In 2012, the Government of Barbados with partnership funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) embarked on the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CRMP), a multi-year development programme aimed at building resilience to coastal hazards through improved conservation and management of the coastal zone of Barbados. The CRMP was executed by the CZMU with support from stakeholder agencies within the national coastal zone management framework. The programme was successfully completed in 2020, generating a range of outputs which have enhanced the Barbados’ capacity to manage and mitigate future challenges with regard to disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.
The intervention of the CRMP was required due to the outsized importance of the coastal zone in Barbados’ social and economic fabric. The coastal zone of Barbados is the country’s main economic asset, as it is the primary location for a range of high value socioeconomic activities including tourism, recreation, finance, transportation and fisheries. The coastal zone is home to more than 50% of the island’s population and much of its critical infrastructure and public services. Furthermore coastal areas are and have historically been key components in the social and recreational lives of a majority of Barbadians. As a result, the effective management and protection of the coastal zone is critically important to the economic, social and cultural development of Barbados.
However, the coastal zone is also subject to several environmental pressures which can affect its ability to provide the benefits to which we are all accustomed. Due to its location along the eastern edge of the Caribbean, Barbados is moderately exposed to hurricanes and tropical storms that can generate storm surges and high winds which can have significant negative impacts on the coastal zone. The island is also susceptible to beach erosion and cliff instability at various locations around the island and is also prone to inland flooding in low lying areas. Furthermore, human-induced climate change has the potential to alter the frequency and severity of existing hazards, as well as generate new hazards such as sea level rise which, if not mitigated, can increase the socioeconomic vulnerability of the country due to business disruption and the loss of ecosystem services. To address these issues Barbados must enhance its resilience to marine, coastal and terrestrial hazards in order to attain its current and future sustainable development goals.
In light of the above, the CRMP was designed to build Barbados’ resilience to coastal hazards (including those associated with climate change) through enhanced conservation and management of the coastal zone. The programme’s overall objective was to build capacity in integrated coastal risk management in Barbados by incorporating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the development planning, control and monitoring of the coastal zone. The CRMP was divided into three components:
- Component 1 – Coastal Risk Assessment, Monitoring and Management
- Component 2 – Coastal Infrastructure
- Component 3 – Institutional Sustainability for Integrated Coastal Risk Management
The components and their associated activities are described in greater detail in the sections below.