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New World Bank report urges greater resilience efforts for Caribbean

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Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2021. 12:11 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Caribbean countries must focus on strengthening government efficiency, empowering households and businesses, and reducing future risks by improving spatial planning and natural coastal protection to boost the regional ability to bounce back from shocks according to a new World Bank flagship report.

The report, 360° Resilience: A Guide to Prepare the Caribbean for a New Generation of Shocks, also concluded that the genuine progress of one of the world’s most natural hazard-prone regions in improving its resilience has so far often failed to produce inclusive economic growth.

The report, which covers 17 Caribbean countries, argues that a more comprehensive approach to resilience can help tackle the challenges posed by climate change, new diseases, and changing socio-economic contexts. It focuses on the different affected parties, from governments to individuals, to help countries in this region understand current strengths and weaknesses across sectors and identify priorities for building resilience to a new generation of shocks.

“Climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of natural disasters. Other shocks, like the COVID19 pandemic, have made it clear that greater efforts are needed,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, Vice President of Latin America and Caribbean Region, World Bank. “For the Caribbean, a region already vulnerable to external shocks, now is the time to better prepare for the natural disasters of the future.”

The Caribbean in this year alone has faced tropical storms and hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanic eruption, undermining Caribbean economies and livelihoods. To some extent, regional governments and people are better prepared, but new and intensifying challenges given the volatility posed by climate change, environmental degradation, and changes in tourism demand even more preparedness. 70 percent more people will be exposed to floods between 2000 and 2020 and rising; 72 percent of infrastructure is exposed to at least two hazards, and the region could see significant beach loss due to sea level rise as well as more costly coastal protection.

In this context, the report stresses how these new challenges need a holistic approach to resilience across all sectors and actors, including innovation with technology. A more consistent approach is recommended, building on strong institutions, robust analytics, and more transparent prioritization.

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