At a glance
The Republic of Suriname is located on the northeastern coast of South America. The country has a total land area of 164,000 km2 with a 386 km long coastline and a population of approx. 598,000 inhabitants. Suriname can be divided into two main geographic regions: (1) the northern, lowland coastal area where economic activities and infrastructure are concentrated and where approximately 90% of the population lives and (2) the southern 'interior' part consisting of sparsely inhabited tropical rainforest and savanahs, covering about 80% of the land surface.
With a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.720 (2018) and position 100 in the HDI ranking of 189 countries, Suriname is classified as an upper middle-income country. Still, its levels of poverty and inequality remain a major concern and Suriname's economy, people's purchasing power and government budgets have been strongly affected by high inflation rates over the past years (55% in 2016).
In relation to climate change (CC), Suriname belongs to the group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), hence to the group of countries that are highly vulnerable to the effects of CC and therefore priority partners for the GCCA+ programme. Regional climate modelling has shown that the following CC-related effects can be expected in Suriname:
- Increase in mean annual temperature of 4.8C by 2080.
- Decreases in rainfall in all seasons; up to a 34% decrease in mean annual rainfall by 2080.
- Sea level rise. Predictions about the magnitude of sea level rise vary, up to 1.45m in 2100.
Also increases in the frequency and/or magnitude of storm surge experienced in the coastal areas are likely to occur.
While these predictions refer to a rather distant point in time, Suriname is already now witnessing negative effects of CC, with sea level rise being the main threat. Sea level rise and heavy storm surges are causing coastal erosion and flooding of coastal areas; and sea level rise in combination with low river discharges due to decreasing rainfall (and increased freshwater consumption) is resulting in progressive salt intrusion land inwards, affecting the quality of irrigation and drinking water in coastal areas.