Carib-Coast: Caribbean network for prevention of coastal risks arising with climate change

In a context of recurrent cyclone crises and sea-level rise, the Carib-Coast project, which is piloted by the BRGM and an integral part of the Interreg programme for the Caribbean, is setting up a Caribbean network for prevention and crisis management of coastal risks that arise with climate change.
12 February 2019
Carib-Coast project logo

Carib-Coast project logo.

© Carib-Coast

With exposure to extreme cyclonic episodes and to gradually rising sea-levels as a result of climate change, Caribbean coastlines are vulnerable to risks such as coastal erosion and flooding.

While the risks are above all for the safety of people and property, they also concern the tourist sector, which relies on preserving beaches and the biodiversity-rich natural heritage of associated intertidal habitats such as mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass beds.

Carib-Coast: A Caribbean network for coastal risk prevention

The Carib-Coast projet is aiming to set up a Caribbean network for prevention and crisis management of coastal risks arising with sea-level rise.

TV programme broadcast on CaribVision on 22 January 2019.

© Carib-Coast

Caribbean Newsline

Europe and the Caribbean have joined forces to fight coastal risk related to climate change through a project called Carib-Coast. It aims to create a Caribbean network for the prevention and crisis management of coastal risk. The project will focus on the French Caribbean territories of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Martin, alongside Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. We get more in this report from France Caraïbe Broadcast.

Carib-Coast is a project funded by the European Commission, which starts from a simple observation that almost all the islands of the Caribbean are subject to major natural risks. There is a need of establishing networks of experts from all over the Caribbean who can start working together to solve coastal management issues that concern both the monitoring of phenomena and the prevention of risk, particularly cyclones. In the project Carib-Coast, we will both network experts on marine weather phenomena but also experts on the mitigation of coastal erosion, including the use of natural ecosystems, using, for example, ecosystems such as mangroves, reefs or beach vegetation to mitigate erosion.

The Carib-Coast project is of vital importance to the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, just like many islands in the Caribbean because we suffer from the same ailments as the other islands: climate change issues, natural hazards, risks. So, this project will be of benefit to our islands, and hopefully we can share the information through the University of the West Indies.

What the Institute of Marine Affairs can bring to the Carib-Coast project would be a history of research. We have been monitoring the coast for over 40 years. And we have a wealth of detail. In terms of logistic support to the Carib-Coast project, we can provide trade personnel, we have facilities, we have a fleet of vessels, and we have the will to try

and improve the coast, not of Trinidad and Tobago, but also, in a larger sense, the Caribbean.

Jamaica benefits from this initiative because for many years a lot of our foreign revenue is generated through tourism. Tourism is such a significant part of our economy that anything at all that threatens tourism is going to threaten all of our lives. And this is not just for Jamaica, but for the Caribbean in general. And so, being able to protect our coastal areas, being able to make sure that it's resilient and that each of us takes a personal stake in ensuring that we're protecting our coastal resources. This is why this project is so important to us. So, our collaboration with Interreg, as with the French government, and the European Union is crucial at this time. Many times, we think there is a language barrier, that prevents us from collaborating and trying as much as possible to see where we can find a lot of our synergies, but this is a project that will overcome that. And so, we're quite excited to be a part of this program.

So, the MonaGis Informatics Institute in Jamaica has partnered with many international researchers to do coastal dynamic studies in Jamaica and around the Caribbean. We're also bringing to the table our fieldwork skills, so, the implementation of video monitoring networks on the island. And if we're doing geo-technical surveys in the off-shore area, and new studies on hydrodynamics using equipment such as ADCPs, ADVs, and I think the partnership with

Carib-Coast benefits us quite a lot. in terms of the equipment that we have access to and the resources which are available for this project.

These Caribbean partners are all experts in their fields on coastal risks and will be able to contribute to the networking

of Caribbean experts to improve knowledge and then to ensure the different Caribbean islands can help and find solutions together to prevent coastal risks and the effects of climate change.

Developing tools and a monitoring network to manage coastal risks

The Carib-Coast project builds on the principle of networking efficiency. The aim is to pool, co-construct and distribute  approaches to surveillance, coastal risk prevention and adaptation to climate change.

The project covers all the Caribbean islands, with a particular focus on the French partner regions - Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint-Martin - as well as Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Porto-Rico.

In particular, it will set up a digital platform for modelling coastal flooding, a network for coastal erosion monitoring and prevention based on nature-based solutions, and operational tools for coastal risk management.

An integral part of the Interreg 2014-2020 programme for the Caribbean

With its broad range of partners, the Carib-Coast project is piloted by the BRGM and supported in particular by the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5C).

The project is co-funded by the Interreg Caribbean programme through the European Regional Development Fund. The Interreg Caribbean programme, piloted by the Guadeloupe Region as the Management Authority, is a European programme enabling Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Saint-Martin, which are all French and European regions, to undertake projects in cooperation with their neighbours in the Greater Caribbean, totalling over 35 countries in a zone extending from Mexico in the north to Venezuela in the south.

The Carib-Coast launch committee meeting

The Carib-Coast launch committee meeting on 17 January 2019 in Guadeloupe.

© BRGM