Long-term planning to tackle floods in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic, like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), faces sustainable development challenges including the fragility of its ecosystems and environmental degradation. Exposed to man-made and natural threats, it is both highly vulnerable to climate change and very poor. In fact, with 96 % of its population living in coastal areas prone to cyclones, the Dominican Republic is considered the 11th most vulnerable country in the world on the 2017 Global Climate Risk Index (Maplecroft 2017). Highly dependent on tourism, it is among 20 countries whose economies are most at risk from natural disasters.

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domenicanThe Dominican Republic ranks 69th on the GCCA+ Index and the GCCA+ map annexes placed the country with a high percentage of storm frequency, high inequality index (Gini) and also ranked 3th out of 5 in the disaster risk index global report. The planned GCCA+ project in the Dominican Republic will focus on supporting long-term adaptation planning so as to build long-lasting resilience to extreme weather. In particular, the GCCA+ will establish an integrated climate change adaptation approach for efficient adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) mainstreaming into national development planning and programming. It is also seeking to enhance the resilience of communities and livelihoods at the national and subnational level in El Seibo province, which has been greatly impacted by extreme weather events such as droughts and floods. In 2015, a severe drought caused major losses and damage to its agriculture and livestock sectors.

Furthermore, Hurricanes Irma and Maria that hit in September 2017 sparked floods and damage to infrastructure. According to the National Meteorological Office (ONAMET), El Seibo was among several provinces that saw the highest rainfall (400 mm) during Hurricane Maria. Faced with the prospect of more such devastating floods, the GCCA+ project’s long-term adaptation planning will increase resilience and decrease exposure of communities to climate change and natural disasters, by implementing nature based solutions along vulnerable coastlines areas (mangroves restoration/ protection, dunes conservation, coastal zone mapping) and improving a climate and disaster monitoring system. It will involve mapping areas for integrated coastal management, the restoration of degraded watersheds, sustainable agriculture and forest conservation.

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