- Climate change and vulnerability: Responding to climate change impacts on the coastal urban corridor, Barbados    click here to open paper content1493 kb
by    Udika, Rudo | rudo_udika@hotmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Although small islands are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, they are not powerless in their response. An appropriate mix of land- use policy measures must be the emphasis to reduce vulnerability in Caribbean small islands.
Small Island Developing States [SIDS] are among the countries both most vulnerable to and least responsible for climate change. Sea level rise presents the primary threat due to changes in erosion and accretion along the coast. Additionally, more frequent and intense extreme hydrometeorological events pose significant threats to natural resources and public health and safety. Therefore, sustainable development in Caribbean SIDS hinges on the response to climate change impacts on their coastal resources.
On the low-lying island of Barbados over 60% of the population resides within 2km of the coast. Most of this population is concentrated, barely above sea level, within a narrow urban corridor which includes the capital city, Bridgetown. This, southwestern, coastal corridor also comes under intense pressure from tourism development; which drives the national economy. Here, climate change presents a three prong crisis: degradation of infrastructure; loss of livelihoods; and threats to public health and safety. To date, several policy measures have been developed to tackle the climate change issues which threaten the ecologically fragile and vulnerable coastal corridor. Adaptation measures have been the emphasis of Barbadosí domestic policy responses to climate change. Barbados is advanced in the Caribbean in analyzing coastal impacts and adopting Coastal Zone Management. Additionally, Barbados has implemented mitigative measures; having ranked third highest per-capita user of solar water heaters in the world.
This paper, using the Barbados case study, first discusses the wave of climate change threats to the urban corridor and the urgency for reducing its vulnerability. Thereafter, it reviews the existing linkages between climate change phenomena and land use planning responses. Finally, the paper presents conclusions on state policy reforms, challenges in policy and practice, and general recommendations for integrating adaptation and mitigation responses into the land- use national development plans for the sustainable development agenda in Barbados.
Climate change; vulnerability; coastal resources; adaptation; mitigation; land use planning
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