The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has asked the Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands Ms Barbara Carby to be part of two panel discussions on the subject of disaster risk reduction and climate change.
Ms Carby was to give the presentations at the United Nations headquarters yesterday and tomorrow.
In 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a summary for policy makers that stated that climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of hurricanes. It also provided scientific estimates about sea level rise. In that paper it was concluded that the sea rose 6.7 inches between 1900 and the year 2000.
Predications for the sea rise over the course of this century range between 7 inches and 1.77 feet. These scenarios are now widely considered to be under estimates.
A January 2007 article by Stephan Rahmstorf in the prestigious peer-reviewed Journal Science proposes sea level could rise by about three feet over the next 70 years. The IPCC also expects the annual rainfall total to decline by between 5 per cent and 20 per cent in the Cayman region over the course of the next one hundred years.
Recently a working group formed in the Cayman Islands to look at how the country can put in place adaptive strategies in the face of the threats posed by global warming and expected rise of the ocean. Impacts are anticipated to affect a number of different sectors including tourism, agriculture and of course with rising sea level and increased tropical cyclone activity the coastal zone will become more vulnerable to damage and erosion. A national climate change adaptation strategy is to be developed and the Department of Environment will implement a project called ‘Enhancing Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change.’
The United Nations panel discussion in New York specifically relates to what is known as the ‘Hyogo Framework for Action. Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters ‘ 168 countries have signed and committed to adopting this framework, which sets out various priorities and commitments that countries must fulfil by the year 2015.
The Cayman Islands Government is also working with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, which is regarded as the main regional centre of knowledge and information concerning climate change and its likely impacts on the Caribbean. It is based in Belize. This organisation is assisting the Cayman Islands Government and other Overseas Territories on a project called ‘Enhancing Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Caribbean.’ It is financed by the Department for International Development.