Barbados and other countries in the region are being advised to start putting measures in place to allow for the accommodation of residents who have been displaced due to the impacts of climate change.
The suggestion has come from Senior Fellow of the Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Research Centre at the University of the Bahamas Dr Adelle Thomas, who warned that climatic events were expected to become more frequent and intense and small states could be in for a tough time.
“The evidence is unequivocal. Climate change is a threat to human well-being and the health of the planet. Any further delay in considering global action will miss the brief, rapidly closing window to securing a liveable future,” she warned as she addressed an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) climate change workshop for media representatives, which was held at the IDB’s country office on Monday.
Pointing out that Australia has signed an agreement with Pacific Island countries to allow for safe migration to those affected by the acute effects of climate change, Thomas said this was something that Caribbean countries should also start working on with other nations.
“The Pacific small islands are already looking at these issues. So they are already looking at agreements with Australia to have some of their populations move there – Fiji in particular. In the Pacific, they are already considering relocation and resettlement plans.
“For us in the Caribbean, we are not as advanced in looking holistically at that at the policy level. I think it is something we have to start thinking about because any time we think about trying to move people that is going to be a long process. That is not going to be something that just comes from a policymaker. You need to have communities and people involved,” she said.
Thomas said the escalating risks being experienced from climate-related changes should serve as warning enough, including more intense hurricane systems, drought, increasing food insecurity, coral reef bleaching, flooding, impacts on health and clean air, intense rainfall for shorter periods of time and heat waves and heat stress.
“It is something that we need to start looking at and considering how we are going to approach it,” said Thomas. (MM)