Climate change adaptation and sustainable land management in the Eastern Caribbean

Climate change adaptation and sustainable land management in the Eastern Caribbean

At a glance

Active programmes
North America
South America
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
Total budget
10,60 M€
Effects of climate change on the region

Like most small island developing states, OECS Member States face challenges originating from their small size and geographical location: small economies, limited infrastructure, and high vulnerability to natural disasters such as hurricanes. These characteristics, in association with prevailing land tenure systems, fragile soil types, physiographic and climatic variation, limited land area available for development, create intense competition between the land use options, which include urban settlement, agriculture, tourism and other infrastructure. These challenges are compounded by the projected impacts of global climate change, which is expected to exacerbate floods, storm surges, erosion, and to reduce the availability of freshwater.

The land management policies in the region are a common national level constraint that jeopardizes efforts towards a sustainable development resilient to the impacts of climate change. Notwithstanding previous intentions and efforts, the weak institutional capacity and resource framework has limited progress. The result is a region willing but not having the capacity to enforce climate change adaptation policies in relation to land management.

In this context, the project intends to address the issue of sustainable land management on the basis of a comprehensive and integrated regional approach, by supporting the OECS Secretariat to play the leading institutional role in legislating on environmental protection including aspects related to climate change. 

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
10,600,000.00 €
Specific objectives

To improve the region’s natural resource base resilience to the impacts of climate change, through effective and sustainable land management frameworks and practices and through specific adaptation pilot projects focused on physical infrastructure and ecosystems.

Key achievements
  • The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, through the Engineering Institute was selected to perform the Comprehensive Gap Analysis to assess the OECS' Commission and Member States status in terms of land management institutional, technical and human capacity and to identify suitable climate change physical adaptation pilot interventions in each Member State.

  • The project has responded positively to capacity building requests made by Member States in a number of different domains, including: legislation, technical IT, public address. 

  • The Gap Analysis Report main outputs are:
    • Comprehensive Gap Analysis;
    • Detailed Map of Activities required to eliminate or reduce the identified gaps;
    • Identify Complementary Activities suitable to exploit synergies and generate cooperation opportunities among development partners;
    • Design a Project Communication and Visibility Plan
    • Propose Physical Adaptation Pilot Projects in each Member State of the OECS
  • The project has also supported policy dialogue among Member States:
    • by contributing to the organisation of the annual OECS Council of Environment Ministers;
    • by supporting the participation of a number of stakeholders in the annual OECS Climate Change Seminar organized by USAID.
  • Preliminary projects concepts have been developed by the National Committees of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines.

  • A consultation with complementary Climate Change initiatives aiming at the identification of public address products was also launched.

Main activities per result

The understanding of the region's status in terms of institutional, technical and human capacity is improved. 

This involves reviewing and assessing the status of the OECS Secretariat and the Member States' institutional, technical and human capacity; producing a detailed map of activities for each of the expected results; and defining the timing, geographical location, type of intervention and distribution of funds among Member States.

The institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for sustainable land management are enhanced at regional and national level.

This involves undertaking policy dialogue; developing and adopting harmonized sustainable land management legislation and regulations; putting into operation the institutional mechanisms established to support national and regional land policies and strategies; and providing training on sustainable land management. New institutional and regulatory frameworks are expected to include aspects such as regulations to protect and/or restore ecological buffers, regulations to phase out development in high-hazard areas, strict building codes, and the establishment of coastal construction baselines.

Human and technical capacity for sustainable land management is enhanced at regional and national level.

The intervention will help acquire and build human and technical capacities to effectively operate a number of technical tools (e.g. cartographic tools, geographical information systems, GPS tools, computer-assisted design software) required for the collection, storage, analysis and display of geospatial data necessary to support decision making in relation to sustainable land management. Training on land use planning will also be delivered.

Public awareness improves on the risks, threats and opportunities arising from climate change, at regional and national level.

The project will support the development and implementation of a comprehensive public awareness strategy and action plan on sustainable land management in support of climate change adaptation. In this context, mass media products will be produced and distributed. Training will also be provided for the implementation of specific public awareness campaigns.

Adaptation measures focused on physical infrastructure and ecosystems are implemented.

Pilot projects will be implemented in areas such as coastal protection, ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation, soil conservation, reforestation, flood mitigation, land and river bank stabilisation, and water conservation.

Challenges and lessons learned (selected)

Capacity building and their follow-up activities need to be better adapted to the SIDS in the OECS, in a context where financial and technical resources may not be sufficient to maintain the enhanced capacity that this programme is seeking to deliver. These can be ideally complemented by investments in physical adaptation interventions, which bring practical solutions and enhance the support of project stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Way forward (selected)
  • A key activity will be to continue and enhance policy dialogue with OECS Member States through the National Committees.

  • Another key milestone will be the establishment of the OECS Climate Change Unit within the OECS Secretariat.