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The Impacts of Global Climate Change

on the UK Overseas Territories

Issues and Recommendations

A Summary Report

C Sear, M Hulme,
N Adger and K Brown

March 2001

Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, University Plain, Norwich NR4 7TJ
The Impacts of Global Climate Change on the UK Overseas Territories
Issues and Recommendations

C Sear, ** M Hulme,# N Adger# and K Brown#

March 2001
Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich,
Medway Campus, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB

# Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research,

University of East Anglia, University Plain, Norwich NR4 7TJ

A report commissioned by the DFID Overseas Territories Unit

0. Executive Summary 1
1. Climate Change - An Issue for the UK Overseas Territories 3
2. This Study 3
3. Future Global and Regional Climates 3
4. Vulnerable Environmental Services in the UK OTs 4
5. Livelihood Vulnerability and Resilience 5
6. Implications and Opportunities for Development 7
7. Knowledge Gaps 8
8. Recommendations 9
Table 1 10

Executive Summary
0.1 Climate change should be of major concern to the UK Overseas Territories (UK OTs). It will
increase in importance in coming decades as it is likely to bring changes and impacts outside recent
experience, through effects on environmental services on which island societies depend. Climate change
and more extreme weather will exacerbate current vulnerability but strengthening planning for climate
changes will provide benefits to island societies today and may lead to diversification opportunities. The
basis and diversity of livelihoods need strengthening by informing government decision-making and by
encouraging and facilitating community ownership in developing adaptation strategies and management
plans. The current lack of local information and understanding means that effective use of limited funds
requires focus on integrated coastal zone management, community and government level information
dissemination, training in adaptation planning and refocusing regional initiatives.

0.2 The most likely scenario for climate extremes affecting the selected UK OTs, is:
• Temperature increase of up to 5 to 60 C by 2100 (10 C by 2015) - sea level rise of up to 1m
• Tropical storm frequency much as now, modulated by El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variations
• More intense storms, with more rain, up to 20% stronger winds and higher storm surges
• Regional seasonal rainfall amounts will change, increasing the risk of droughts and flooding events.
Scientific uncertainty means that we are confident of trends but unsure of magnitudes of change.

0.3 Climate changes will put additional stress on systems and services on which local livelihoods
depend. The key resources at risk are coastal natural resources, coastal protection and island water
resources. Damage to fragile coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses will have the most far-reaching
impacts. More intense storms will demand revised approaches to coastal protection and infrastructure
development and risks to water supply from drought and flood will increase, with possible severe knock-
on effects to livelihoods and health.

0.4 In order of importance, the sectors needing investment and planning with respect to climate
change are:

Tourism and Fishing:
• These are critical sectors, most dependent on marine and coastal resources
• They are at risk from sea temperature and sea level rises, ENSO variability and more intense storms

• This is an important coping strategy for small island societies
• The implications of climate change for population movement are not well understood

• Investment in physical infrastructure in the UK OTs requires up-dated design criteria
• Increased investment in soft engineering practices will be beneficial now and in the future

• Agriculture in selected UK OTs involves small populations but is important, especially to Pitcairn
• Impacts on island agriculture will be mainly through rainfall variation and coastal salination

• There may be some increased risk from vector-borne diseases and heat stress.
• Other risks are most likely to be associated with water supply problems

0.5 Livelihoods dependent on fisheries, tourism, agriculture and remittances are at risk from
projected climate changes and require planned adaptation to complement traditional and spontaneous
coping mechanisms in order to sustain development. These islands are already amongst the most
vulnerable societies and projected future climate changes will exacerbate their vulnerability to weather
disasters and to other shocks, threatening their continuing development.

0.6 We identify priority interventions for integrating climate change into planning in the UK OTs:
• To examine how the resilience of current livelihood strategies can be strengthened in the light of
projected climate changes
• To examine what options exist for diversifying current livelihood strategies
• To build on traditional and existing weather-related disaster management and adaptation mechanisms
• To facilitate increased community participation in developing adaptation strategies and in integrated
coastal zone management
• Through this, to create effective strategies for coping with and adapting to climate impacts as they occur
• To facilitate improved regional awareness and informal institutional arrangements
• To provide improved information dissemination for regional, national and local decision-support
• To develop strategies to moderate the effects of rising insurance costs in the UK OTs.

0.7 Informed by stakeholder responses, our specific, priority recommendations for investment are to:
• Fill gaps in knowledge of regional climate futures 1 , especially in the South Atlantic and South Pacific,
through co-ordinated scientific effort and informed by the needs of UK OT societies
• Research the interaction between El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and global warming
• Review current and future investment in regional and global initiatives to determine how to improve
further its influence and the initiatives’ national and local community level impact
• Review weather-related design criteria for planned developments on UK OTs and other small islands
• Support public awareness and information campaigns through local media and NGOs
• Provide training at government and at community level, giving robust briefing and advice on climate
trends and uncertainties at senior level, to inform the development of appropriate adaptation strategies
• Kick-start development of action plans to cope with and adapt to climate changes through targeted
strengthening of ministries responsible for environment and planning on an island by island basis
• Provide community-focused interventions with the support of strengthened local NGOs, to facilitate
local planning adaptation to climate change and informed by traditional strategies for coping with
weather-related disasters
• Understand better the relationship between key coastal and marine environments and the livelihoods
they serve, using a systems-orientated approach to integrated coastal zone management
• Support pilots to plan for likely future climate changes in one or more UK OT.

The term ‘climate futures’ represents the set of scenarios generated by the climate science community
and characterising likely global, regional and local climates as they change through the 21st century.
1. Climate Change - An Issue for the UK Overseas Territories

1.1 The selected UK Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, St Helena,
Tristan da Cunha and Pitcairn) like many small islands, have fragile environments and vulnerable
economies. Island livelihoods and development opportunities depend on terrestrial, marine and coastal
natural resource systems and their environmental or ecological services. Climate changes provide
pressures on natural states and services that result in impacts on livelihoods. Responses include planning
for, adaptation to and coping with change, mitigation and management of climate-related disasters and
integration of such into development policy. Careful planning will allow a greater degree of flexibility
and future resilience to climate changes and other shocks.

2. This Study

2.1 This report summarises the analysis and conclusions from a study commissioned by the DFID
Overseas Territories Unit and reported in our detailed technical report. A major component of this work
was a stakeholder survey. 72 stakeholders were polled and the results outlined below take into account
the opinions of 25 stakeholders who responded before the report was completed. Details of these inputs
are included in the full report and annexes.

3. Future Global and Regional Climates

• Global warming will continue through the next century

• Trends are clear, magnitudes of change are not yet certain
• Regional climate forecasts are required, especially for the South Atlantic and South Pacific
3.1 Evidence for global warming over the last 100 years is now overwhelming. It is now likely that
by the end of the 21st century, the regions of the UK Overseas Territories (UK OTs) will be warmer than
at any time in human history and wetter in particular areas and seasons. These changes are already
happening and impacts may be felt by 2015. We are confident in projecting these trends but the
magnitudes of changes to key weather variables are not yet clear. Similarly, whilst the global picture is
clear, regional climate futures are far from certain and more climate research is needed.

• We project OT temperature increases of 3.5 0 C by 2100 (0.5 0 C by 2015) from a 1990 baseline
• We advise planning for 5 to 6 0 C increases by 2100 (1 0 C by 2015)
3.2 We are confident that projections for temperature increases are robust, though the range of
possibilities is still wide. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-endorsed range
of global warming (1.4 to 5.80 C by 2100) equates to a rise of between 0.8 and 5.80 C for the Eastern
Caribbean until 2100 and slightly less for the South Atlantic and South Pacific. The most likely scenario
within this range is for temperature rises of around 3.50 C by 2100 but we advise that planning should
assume the worst case scenario, of a near 60 C rise in the Caribbean and a 50 C rise for the South Atlantic
and South Pacific.

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

• We expect increases in the frequencies of floods and droughts during coming decades
• But the relationship between ENSO and global warming is not yet well enough understood
3.3 The dominant control of seasonal rainfall for the selected UK OTs is ENSO variation. Future
ENSO variation (as it interacts with global warming) should be a prime concern to these islands. The
latest research indicates that the amplitude of El Niño events may well increase, leading to more extreme
seasons, more storms and floods and more droughts, but this is not certain. ENSO-related droughts in the
Eastern Caribbean may become more intense as might tropical storms during La Niñas. It is likely that as
the oceans warm, the number of times high sea surface temperature thresholds are exceeded during
El Niño events will increase. This would have implications for the survival of coral reefs, coastal
ecosystems and in-shore and offshore fisheries. More work is needed to determine how ENSO
phenomena will change as the world continues to warm.

• Future rainfall variations are hard to predict with certainty - more research is needed
• We foresee much increased seasonality (up to perhaps ± 40%), especially in the Caribbean
3.4 On average, a warmer world is a wetter one. Precipitation goes up by 1 to 3% for each degree of
global warming. Unambiguous rainfall predictions can not yet be made for the UK OTs but we foresee
changes in seasonal distribution. In the Eastern Caribbean, projected increases in December to February
rainfall may be offset by decreases in June to August rainfall. Under the highest of the global temperature
projections, these seasonal changes in rainfall may amount to as much as ± 40%. Such changes would be
outside the range of recent experience and their possible impacts on water supply, agriculture, run-off,
pollution and infrastructure should be of concern to the UK OTs.

Sea level
• Sea level rise cannot be stopped - we expect up to 0.9m higher sea levels by 2100
3.5 During this century the rate of increase in sea level will be significantly greater than in the 20th
century. Most recent projections for future sea level indicate rises in sea level during the 21st century of
between 0.9 and 8.8cm per decade. Median projections give a 0.5m rise by 2100. In a worst case
scenario small islands will need to adapt to a rise in sea level over the next 100 years of nearly one metre
with rises of 15cm by 2015. Sea level rise will exacerbate water resource and flooding impacts and will
change significantly many coastlines.

Future Climate Variability and Extremes

• We expect more intense tropical storms over the next decades with up to 20% stronger winds
• Planning is needed to cope with more intense storms
3.6 Global warming is likely to lead to greater extremes of drought, heavy rainfall and flooding
associated with El Niño and La Niña events. We are confident that significant changes in tropical
cyclone behaviour will also occur. Previously it was predicted that storm frequency would increase in the
Caribbean but recent modelling has shown that the numbers of storms probably will not increase, nor will
their regional or local distributions change. However, increases in tropical storm peak wind and peak
precipitation intensities of between 10 and 20% may occur by 2100. The Caribbean islands are known to
be especially vulnerable to damage from such storms. More storm rainfall, higher wind speeds and larger
storm surges must be of concern and should be planned for. They will require both soft and hard coastal
engineering and dynamic protection measures, with higher design specifications for buildings and
infrastructure and with more storm resilient agricultural and forestry practices.

• Some islands are especially vulnerable to water shortages caused by more variable rainfall
3.7 More drought will affect development where water resources are limited, such as on St Helena
and especially Anguilla. Our analysis suggests (with high uncertainty) that increased rainfall seasonality
may result in a higher frequency of drought in coming decades, especially in the Eastern Caribbean.

4. Vulnerable Environmental Services in the UK OTs

4.1 With respect to livelihood systems, the key resources at risk from climate change are: coastal
natural resources, coastal protection and other infrastructure and water resources.

Coastal resources
• Fragile coral reef systems are most at risk from climate change
• These resources are of prime importance to Caribbean UK OTs, protecting against storms and
supporting tourism and local fisheries
4.2 Natural resource systems in coastal zones provide key environmental services to UK OT
livelihoods and those in other tropical and sub-tropical islands. Coral reefs are widely considered the
most important because they support fisheries and buffer storm impacts, because they act as increasingly
important resources for tourism and because they are assumed to be intrinsically valuable as sources of
bio-diversity. Yet they are arguably the most fragile of all natural systems and the most at risk from
climate change. Recent, widespread coral bleaching, pollution and other stresses indicate that current
rates of climate change severely threaten local, regional and global coral reef integrity. The pressures and
processes leading to this impact include sea surface temperature increase, sea level rise, and increases in
atmospheric CO2 .

• Fishing yields will decline, biodiversity will suffer and tourism will be affected
4.3 The effects of projected climate changes on reef environments will exacerbate those of human
activities (fishing, tourism, pollution) and are expected to reduce reef resilience. More research into long
term impacts is needed but already we can be confident that fishing yields will decline as reef viability
decreases. As reef ecosystems become less productive there will be knock-on effects on other coastal
environments and on other local flora and fauna. Impacts on protein sources are likely to be severe, as are
impacts on bio-diverse coastal environments and especially on island tourism that demands accessible,
high quality reef resources and high quality beach environments that the reef systems protect.
• Mangroves and sea grass provide important services including buffers against storms
• The likelihood of more intense storms requires action now to plan more effective and
sympathetic protection for coastlines and beaches and for hillsides and settlements
4.4 Mangrove forests and sea grasses also provide important sets of services: protection against
storms; nutrient sinks; habitats for wildlife; valuable products for local populations. Increasingly severe
tropical storms bring risks to many societies from soil erosion, landslides and mudslides and perhaps will
be the most significant risk to livelihoods in the UK OTs, as they threaten coastal environments around
the Wider Caribbean and elsewhere. Long term sea level rise will change the size and distribution of
coastal wetlands and increase the risk of coastal flooding. Sea level rises and rising water tables will
increase the risk of storm-generated coastal and beach erosion, will increase the risk of salination of
rivers, estuarine environments and coastal water supplies (already experienced on some small islands) and
will further constrain agricultural production. These threats can be mitigated by more determined
conservation of reefs, mangroves and sea grasses and more sympathetic coastal protection strategies.
Such actions will provide benefits in reducing storm damage to coasts and beaches and may provide
income diversification opportunities for local communities.

• We forecast an increasing risk of droughts and reduced water supply, especially on Anguilla
• There will be risk to agricultural production from salination of some coastal ground waters
4.5 The availability of water is often a limiting factor for the economic and social development of
small islands, many of which rely on a single source: groundwater, rainwater, surface reservoirs or even
rivers. The situation is especially critical in the low limestone islands of the Eastern Caribbean, where
water supplies depend on seasonal rainfall. In the Caribbean, especially towards the north, droughts are
generally more frequent in El Niño years with wetter conditions in La Niña years. Future changes to
rainfall regimes will put Anguilla particularly at risk from seasonal drought and restricted water supply.
This will threaten sustainable development in Anguilla unless adaptive measures are taken now; and is
also a concern for St Helena, Turks and Caicos and Pitcairn. Other threats to water resources are severe
floods, impeded drainage and higher water tables, which pose particular engineering problems.

5. Livelihood Vulnerability and Resilience

• With un-diversified economies, the UK OTs are especially at risk from climate-related disaster
• Taken across the six islands, the sectors most at risk are tourism and fisheries
5.1 The selected UK OTs have amongst the most fragile economies of all island states and
developing countries. They are remote, their economies are poorly diversified and especially vulnerable
to external shocks and they have limited human resources. For example, employment opportunities are
severely limited and concentrated on fisheries (Anguilla, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha) and tourism
(Anguilla and pre-eruption Montserrat). On Pitcairn, the subsistence economy is based on agriculture and
some fishing. Remittances from family members in other countries are an important source of income in
most of the UK OTs (for example, Tristan da Cunha and St Helena). GDP per capita is under $10,000 on
all the islands. These factors make them especially vulnerable to risks associated with climate change.
The major economic activities most affected by the impacts described above are fisheries and tourism.
Climate changes will also impact on health, agriculture, infrastructure, insurance and migration, which are
major components of island community livelihoods and which are relevant to international donor activity.

• Higher sea level and sea temperatures pose major threats to near-shore and deep water fishing
• But climate change impacts on fisheries are still poorly understood and more research is needed
5.2 Commercial, artisanal and subsistence fishing are crucial to the livelihoods of many UK OTs.
Fish is a major export of Anguilla, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha. Turks and Caicos processing plants
process lobster and conch for local consumption and export. UK OT fishing is mainly artisanal and
exploits primarily inshore fisheries but in the South Atlantic, small fleets harvest migratory species,
including tuna. In this region, income is also derived from granting fishing licences. Climate change
impacts on fisheries interact with other stresses and are still poorly understood. Inshore fisheries are
dependent on coastal ecosystems, dominated by reefs, mangroves and sea grasses. The largely negative
impacts of sea-level and sea temperature rises on environmental services that support fisheries represents
a real and serious threat to near-shore fisheries. For deep-sea fisheries, the interaction between ENSO
phenomena and fisheries production is a crucial area that is also currently poorly understood.

• Tourism is particularly sensitive to weather and climate
• Direct and indirect impacts on tourism are expected to be significant
• The increasing size of the tourism industry makes it a critical sector for several UK OTs
5.3 Tourism is the most important source of revenue and employment for some of the selected
UK OTs and many other small islands, especially in the Wider Caribbean (tourism now accounts for
more than 31% of total economic activity in Anguilla). It is expected to increase further in importance,
especially ‘eco-tourism’ which requires pristine and bio-diverse environments. Climate change will have
both direct and indirect impacts. Sea level rise will disrupt the sector through loss of beaches, inundation,
degradation of coastal ecosystems, saline intrusion, loss of wetlands and damage to critical infrastructure.
In Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands tourism is centred on beach and shoreline. Disruption to
these natural ecosystems and implications for infrastructure, construction and for property insurance will
impact on livelihoods. Montserrat’s experience after recent eruptions and Anguilla’s, following
Hurricane Lenny, demonstrate that tourist demand and tourist-based livelihoods are sensitive both to
natural disasters and to perceptions of damage to resources and environmental services. Some UK OTs
(Anguilla, St Helena and to a small extent, Pitcairn) rely on cruise-ship tourism. Sustaining or growing
this sector depends on port infrastructure, at risk from sea level rise, weather and sea state changes.

• Heat stress and prevalence of certain diseases are the only currently identifiable health risks
• More research is needed into the impacts of climate change on health in small islands
5.4 Human health consequences of climate changes could be significant, affecting livelihoods; but
possible futures are currently unclear. There is evidence that some insect-borne and water-borne diseases
may become more prevalent as temperatures increase and rainfall patterns change. The incidence and
range of dengue fever may increase, as may those of malaria, if thresholds of critical weather variables
are breached more frequently in future. Other possible health impacts are briefly discussed in the full
report and health risks from impaired water supplies are well understood. Further research into the risks
to human and animal health of projected climate change in small island states is needed.

• UK OT agricultural sectors tend to be small and specialised
• Apart from St Helena, stakeholders do not highlight impacts on agriculture as a major concern
5.5 In general, the selected UK OTs do not rely heavily on agriculture and forestry, though most
have small agriculture sectors and on some, forest resources are significant. Stakeholder responses from
Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, Montserrat and Tristan da Cunha did not highlight local concerns over the
impact of climate change on agriculture but those from St Helena did. The subsistence economy of
Pitcairn relies almost entirely on rain-fed agriculture. The very survival of the island’s small community
relies on reliable rainfall as was demonstrated when a lack of rain led to wholesale emigration. Recent
increases in run-off and soil loss have led to islanders’ concern for the future (K. Wolstenholme, pers.
comm., 2001).

• Heavier rain and more intense storms will have significant impacts on island infrastructure
• Governments need to factor in climate change projections when planning and controlling
building and other development
5.6 Heavier rains and more intense storms, with up to 20% higher wind speeds are projected for this
century. Resulting floods, landslides and high winds may be especially damaging to water systems, road,
rail, power lines, housing and industrial plant. Damage to ports and harbours, caused by more intense
storms or sea level rise could result in some islands being cut off completely (access and port use are
already limited in Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, St Helena and Tristan de Cunha). Climate change has
significant implications for the design and building costs of public and private structures. Hurricane
Hugo damaged over 90% and destroyed 20% of houses in Montserrat. If storm intensity goes up, an
average storm will cause more damage to property and transport infrastructure. Possible increases in
storm intensity and rainfall should be factored into island planning by ensuring adequate precautions are
taken to prevent landslides and severe slope erosion and beach erosion, and by designing to account for
increased wind speeds and flood risk. The legislative and planning systems in these islands should take
climate change into account when applying development controls, especially near the coast. Controls will
include regulating excavations and vegetation clearance (e.g. of mangroves and sea grasses) and
designing appropriate coastal defences; and in regulating deforestation and agricultural practices that
encourage soil erosion and gullying.

• Climate changes and extreme weather events may limit the insurance opportunities for
UK OTs and constrain development
• This should be a concern to the UK OTs, the UK and the international donor community
5.7 Small islands already suffer the costs of remoteness (e.g. through high freight insurance).
Insurance premiums are sensitive to the magnitude and frequency of hazards, including tropical storms.
Increasingly severe events will trigger increases in premiums. Insurance costs have increased
significantly in the Caribbean during the last decade and some re-insurers withdrew from the market
because of high claims related to natural disasters. Such actions present a serious risk to development
planning in UK OTs and have significant consequences for livelihoods, directly through increased costs
for individuals and businesses and indirectly by acting as disincentives to investment and trade. We
suggest that strategies to moderate the effects of rising insurance costs due to climate change in the
UK OTs are urgently needed.

Migration and Remittances

• Climate change may provide a push to migration by direct and indirect impacts on livelihoods
• The implications for the OTs, the UK and the international community all need addressing
5.8 Caribbean and other UK OT societies have traditionally depended on migration and remittances
to enhance sustainability of local livelihoods. Migration and remittances add to the flexibility of
livelihood options and returning migrants enrich the human, social and cultural capital of small islands,
bringing with them links to trans-national networks. Natural disasters also act as a significant ‘push’
factor for migration. The possibility of increased reliance on migration and remittances as UK OT
climates change and the risk of population instability, pose profound questions for the islands, the UK and
the international community.

6. Implications and Opportunities for Development

• Planning to adapt to coming climate changes will provide added value and enhance the
likelihood of sustaining development under today’s conditions
• Systems -oriented approaches are needed including integrated coastal zone management
6.1 The key feature of UK OT livelihoods is not just that they rely more heavily on fragile natural
resources than many societies but that they rely on a very limited set of natural resources in coastal and
marine resource systems. This affects the ability of residents and communities to withstand shocks and
variability and compromises their ability to recover. The likely significant impacts of climate change
require planned adaptation. Caribbean populations are vulnerable to extreme weather events at present
and make adjustments to their livelihood strategies to cope with these threats. Planning for expected
climate changes and improving defences against future disasters will improve island planning systems
and thus add value to existing interventions and development efforts. A more systems-oriented approach
is needed through integrated coastal zone management because natural resources and the environmental
services they provide are intimately interconnected with island coastal ecosystems and social systems at
local, national and regional scales.

• Better information is needed locally about sustainable utilisation of natural resources

• Community participation and local ownership of local initiatives should be facilitated
6.2 We find scant evidence of strong local understanding of links between environmental change and
sustainable use of natural resources. The complex relationships between environmental services and
livelihoods on small islands are unclear and need further research. The ecological importance of small
niche populations and the determinants of variability of natural populations of importance to island
communities are not well enough understood to assess how they might be affected by climate change.
The St Helena Millennium Forest Project is a good example of a national scale attempt to raise awareness
of the importance of biodiversity and conservation and aims to foster national pride in the island’s
endemic species. Other national and community natural resource management capacity needs
strengthening, following the example of local collective action, based on traditional, informal social
structures (e.g. in Western Samoa, Tobago, Honduras and coastal Vietnam). The need for more support
is further justified by the growing importance of biodiverse environments to tourism and local benefits
would accrue in today’s climate by strengthening cost effective natural resource management at local
level, engendering a significant increase in local, social participation in helping to alleviate a global
problem. This work could be undertaken in conjunction with regional associations (e.g. a CPACC
successor in the Caribbean with a wider brief - currently mainly sea level) and strengthened local NGOs.

7. Knowledge Gaps

7.1 Projected climate change poses a significant challenge to island livelihoods. Our stakeholder
survey responses (summarised in Table 1) show that there is currently little concern in the UK OTs about
the risks from and potential opportunities in adapting to climate changes. There is no evidence of any
understanding of who might be ‘winners’ and who ‘losers’. The scientific community expresses great
concern over the threat of climate changes but those polled do not stress the importance of adaptation.

7.2 We find the major gaps in current knowledge to be of:

• Magnitudes of changes, particularly of extreme events and regionally in the Atlantic and Pacific
• The relationship between ENSO and global warming
• Methods for integrated and community focussed planning for current and future weather extremes
• The impacts of changing climate on critical natural resources and environmental services
• The relationship between livelihoods and natural resources and of alternative coping strategies
• The possible winners and losers, as climate changes affect the UK OTs and other small islands.

7.3 We identify island specific requirements:

• Pitcairn requires basic information about possible climate changes in its region over coming decades
• St Helena needs basic information about likely regional climate changes and how these may impact
its water supply
• Tristan da Cunha and St Helena need information about climate change impacts on fish stocks and
• Turks and Caicos and Anguilla (and many other islands) need to know more about climate-tourism
• All the Caribbean UK OTs need better information about projected future storm climates and
extremes because of the importance of storms to island disaster management and development
• All the selected UK OTs need to know more about the relationship between climate change,
livelihoods and migration.

7.4 Knowledge gaps and implications of projected climate change vary between stakeholder groups:

UK OT Stakeholders
• Many local stakeholders are unaware of the additional risks that climate changes will bring
(exemplified by comments like “only hurricanes are important threats”)
• Lack of information on climate futures will soon be an important constraint to government and local
stakeholders unless urgently addressed. This can be pump -primed by the donor community
• Participatory management of natural resources and environmental services should be enabled to
deliver alternative or diversified development in tourism, water use, agriculture and fisheries
• The roles of natural resources and migration in maintaining livelihood resilience should be
recognised and the relationships researched. The results should inform participatory development
planning and disaster management at community level and of development planning at island level
• To achieve these aims, information to and strengthening of relevant government ministries and
NGOs are needed, as is increased public awareness of climate changes and possible local impacts.

External Stakeholders
• Regional institutions need encouragement to develop mechanisms to enhance island-scale and local
delivery for more impact, perhaps working through local NGOs
• The UK OTs would benefit from more active regional roles, providing local knowledge and national
agendas, to enhance planning and integrated coastal zone management. This will need action by the
international donor community
• Up-stream climate science and understanding of climate impacts would benefit from increased
information about local conditions and imperatives in the UK OTs and other small island states.
Scientists and governments can begin by asking local people “what do you need to know?”

The International Donor Community:

• needs to factor into its activities the near certainty of near-future climate changes in the UK OTs
• should take into account projections of changes to extreme weather when specifying and investing in
infrastructure and other development activities
• could support and facilitate planning processes for all UK OT stakeholders to encourage local,
island and regional scale planning for climate changes, which will provide additional benefits to
current development interventions.
8. Recommendations

8.1 In seeking to understand processes of adaptation in their wider context, analysis is required to
identify the stakeholders who will gain and those who will lose from predicted climate changes. It is vital
that on small islands, appropriate planning for climate change is undertaken now and that this includes
real and effective participation of local community stakeholders. We strongly recommend that external
stakeholders and the international donor community support such analyses and facilitate such initiatives.

8.2 We recommend that pilot projects are designed to make the most of this development
opportunity and we consider that lessons learned will be transferable to other small island communities
and regions and to other developing countries, where flood, drought, agriculture, fisheries and tourism
dominate societies.

8.3 Our specific and priority recommendations are to invest in:

• Filling gaps in knowledge of regional climate futures, especially in the South Atlantic and South
Pacific, through co-ordinated scientific effort and informed by the needs of UK OT societies
• Research into the interaction between El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and global warming
• Reviewing regional and global initiatives to determine how to improve their influence and
contribution, including at national level, in addressing the impacts and issues identified in this report
• Reviewing weather-related design criteria for planned developments in the UK OTs and other islands
• Supporting public awareness and information campaigns through local media and NGOs
• Providing training at government and community levels; giving robust briefing and advice on climate
trends and uncertainties at senior level, to inform the development of appropriate adaptation strategies
• Kick-starting development of action plans to cope with and adapt to climate changes through targeted
strengthening of ministries responsible for environment and planning on an island by island basis
• Providing community-focused interventions with the support of strengthened local NGOs, to facilitate
local planning adaptation to climate change and bearing in mind traditional strategies for coping with
weather-related disasters
• Understanding better the relationship between key coastal and marine environments and the
livelihoods they serve, using a systems-orientated approach to integrated coastal zone management
• Supporting pilot projects to plan for likely future climate changes in one or more UK OT.


Respondents Perceptions Threats Threatened Managing Knowledge Gaps Comment
From and To Sectors Change

Scientists 6 Very Especially sea Tourism, incl. Local Local interactions and OTs need
concerned temperature eco-tourism. governments reef recovery links to
and sea level Fisheries. and NGOs have mechanisms. UNFCCC
rise. Water supply. no capacity and Govs. need briefings
Vulnerable Infrastructure are un-informed and information
esp. reefs;
DFID 3 Concern over Sea level rise, Tourism. Lack of Information-sparse.
acute sea Health. Water capacity in local Local training needed
disasters temperature, Supply government and for decision-makers
(floods, storm NGOs to take
storms) frequency, environment on
floods. board or plan
Coral kills long term
Anguilla 3 Little local Storms, sea Tourism. No Ministry of Need to know about Education
concern or level rise, Financial Env. Poor links between storms and public
awareness drought Services. disaster and climate change awareness
Marine Env., Agriculture. preparedness. campaigns
beaches, water Fisheries Decisions not needed
supply based on
Montserrat 2 Climate A little concern Tourism. Ministry of
change not an about storms Agriculture Agriculture has
issue and drought little capacity
Turks and 2 Climate Sea level rise, Tourism. No adaptive No environmental Public
Caicos change not sea Infrastructure. strategies in inventory. awareness
seen as a temperature, Fisheries place. Little information campaigns
threat storms, floods Government available to needed
Beaches, unaware of Government
marine climate change
environment, impacts
Other 4 Some public Storm Tourism. Limited local Research now
Cari bbean concern frequency and Agriculture. planning. needed on
sea level rise. Infrastructure. Regional mitigation
Reefs, Fisheries initiatives need
mangroves and building
St Helena 3 Low Rainfall, Fisheries. No Government No available Must
government storms, sea Water Supply. knowledge. information on climate strengthen
priority. No temperature. Health. Not taken on by change and impacts (in institutions
public Water Agriculture. Gov. No the dark) and raise
concern. shortages, Port Access adaptive local
No info disease, pests, strategies in awareness
rare species, place - funding
fish stocks, limited
port access
Tristan da 1 Not much Sea Fisheries. Little local No information - Need to
Cunha awareness temperature, Water Supply capacity for training, technical understand
rainfall adaptation support and education effects on
variat ions. needed fishing
Pitcairn 1 Climate Heavy rainfall, Agriculture. No local Deputy Gov. raised Concern both
change not a Drought. Viability of capacity issues with islanders over possible
concern Water island on most recent visit. lower
shortages settlement Follow-up obtained rainfall, and
of gullying
and soil loss
Total 25

Table 1: Summary of Stakeholder Responses by question area and by island. For a longer summary of
the responses see Annex III of the Full Report.