Regional stakeholders discuss integrating climate resilience in road transport sector

In the Caribbean, road infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and damage caused by natural hazards. At a workshop held July 4 to 5, 2017 at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), stakeholders from the Region discussed the best way to integrate climate resilience in the road transport sector.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop on July 4, 2017, Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB, noted that between 1970 and 2015, approximately 22 percent of CDB financing has gone towards the transport sector.

Increased  investment  in  infrastructure  is  a  main  catalyst  for  propelling  the  Caribbean  forward  into a position  where  growth  is  inclusive;  extreme poverty  is  eradicated; and prosperity is shared. Much  of  the  road  network  within  the  Bank’s  BMCs  is  coastal  and  low-lying  or  in  mountainous terrain,  characterised  by  inadequate  drainage  features,  and  thus  vulnerable  to  climate-related  phenomena characteristic  of  the  region. Each  year,  transport  infrastructure  in  the  Caribbean,  and  particularly  road  infrastructure,  suffers substantial  damage  as  a  result  of  natural  hazard  events,  with  flooding  being  among  the  most  frequent  and costly  of  events,” he said.

The workshop was part of a technical assistance project, through which the Bank will fund a study on approaches for mainstreaming climate resilience into the road transport sector in its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). The project will develop and pilot approaches for constructing road infrastructure that is resilient to natural hazards and climate change. It is being implemented under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries Programme.

“This workshop marks the beginning of a process of enhanced engagement with key sector stakeholders, with the aim of reviewing and adapting risk and resilience decision-making standards and approaches pertaining to the road transport and the water and sanitation sectors. It is envisaged that, coming out of the series of consultations and studies, a package of guidelines and technical notes will be developed for use across the participating countries to help mainstream climate resilience in these two sectors,” said L. O’Reilly Lewis, Division Chief, Economic Infrastructure Division, CDB.

Workshop participants included representatives from 14 Caribbean countries. The agenda included presentations by technical specialists on climate change and road transport issues, including the importance of fully integrating social and gender considerations in the sector. Country representatives also shared information on the maintenance of their national road infrastructure. The workshop took place at CDB’s Headquarters in Barbados.