CDB approves funding for a more climate-resilient Caribbean transport sector

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The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved funding to address the high incidence of damage to the road infrastructure in Caribbean countries by natural hazard events and the potential for the loss of roads by rising sea levels. Through a technical assistance project, the Bank will fund a study on approaches for mainstreaming climate resilience into the road transport sector in its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). 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. Also, the threat to road transport infrastructure is heightened by the projected effects of Climate Variability and Climate Change, particularly increased intensity of rain storms, sea level rise, and increased ambient temperatures. The Bank is providing USD768,000 for the project, which will develop and pilot approaches for constructing road infrastructure that is resilient to natural hazards and climate change. The study will be done in two countries, which will be selected on the basis of geography and risk profiles that would allow for the outputs of the study to be transferrable to other countries. CDB' Director of Projects, Daniel Best, noted that most of the road agencies across the Bank' BMCs have not mainstreamed changes in their approaches or requirements for the design, Construction and management of road infrastructure that enhance resilience to the threats from natural hazards and climate change. “This is, in part, due to the limited availability of tools tailored for their particular use, as well as the limited data and capacity within the responsible agencies with regard to the assessment of the vulnerability of infrastructure to climate risks and the determination of appropriate response strategies," Best noted. “The differential impacts on women and men, youth, the aging population and persons with disabilities arising from the vulnerability of road infrastructure have also not been adequately considered across the BMCs. Issues of inclusivity and gender must be integrated into the operation of the road transport sector, in infrastructure and in road transport services" Best said. Activities to be completed under the Project include: a) a sector-wide, gender-sensitive climate risk and vulnerability assessment; b) the assessment of relevant policies, plans, strategies, legal and regulatory frameworks and proposals to build capacity to implement resilience measures; c) the development of an index to measure the level of resilience in the road transport sector d) the development and piloting of the application of adapted decision support instruments for climate change adaptation and resilience building climate; e) the identification of sector investment needs for climate change adaptation and resilience building; and f) the facilitation of associated regional training workshops for increasing awareness of the outputs of this study and its objectives, and the Training of Assessors of road resilience. This study will draw on established adaptation approaches and tools as well as other instruments to contribute to a systematic framework for strengthening transport sector resilience in the Caribbean context. The project is being implemented under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries Programme. It aligns to CDB' corporate priorities of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure, and promoting environmental sustainability.

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