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The Impacts of Global Climate Change on the UK Overseas Territories Technical Report and Stakeholder
The Impacts of Global Climate Change
on the UK Overseas Territories
Technical Report and Stakeholder Survey
Territories Technical Report and Stakeholder Survey A Report by C Sear, M Hulme, N Adger and
Territories Technical Report and Stakeholder Survey A Report by C Sear, M Hulme, N Adger and

A Report by

C Sear, M Hulme, N Adger and K Brown

March 2001

A Report by C Sear, M Hulme, N Adger and K Brown March 2001 Natural Resources
A Report by C Sear, M Hulme, N Adger and K Brown March 2001 Natural Resources

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

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

A Report Commissioned by the DFID Overseas Territories Unit

Full Technical Report - Contents

0 Executive Summary


1 Introduction and Terms of Reference


2 Climate Futures


Changing Our Climate


Global Climate


Regional Climates


Temperature Rainfall Climate Variability and Extremes


El Nino and related complicating factors Tropical storms Drought Summary Changes in Sea Level






3 Climate Change Impacts


Economic and Physical Vulnerability


Environmental Services at Risk


i. Coral Reefs and Reef Systems Climate change impacts on coral reefs Sea surface temperature increases Sea level rise Increased atmospheric concentration of CO 2 Implications for coral reef management


Implications for associated coastal habitats: mangrove forests and seagrass beds

ii. Water Resources


iii. Storms and Coastal Protection


Hurricane Lenny


4 Livelihoods on Small Islands and UK Overseas Territories


i. Fisheries


ii. Tourism


iii. Health


iv. Infrastructure


v. Insurance


vi. Migration and Remittances


Livelihoods, Vulnerability and Coping Strategies




Policy Intervention and Community Ownership


Integrated Coastal Zone Management


Regional Initiatives and Toolbox Methods




5 Survey Responses




Knowledge Gaps, Development Implications and Opportunities




Knowledge Gaps


Implications for Development Projects


Environmental management projects Engineering and infrastructure projects Waste management schemes Coastal and marine resources management schemes Land resources management projects Disaster management projects Recommendations




7 References Cited


8 Acronym List




I Stakeholder Questionnaire


II Stakeholders Approached and Responses Received


III Summary of Stakeholder Response Key Points, by Question Area, by Island



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



Executive Summary

0.1 This analysis of the impacts of future climate change on the UK Overseas Territories (UK OTs) finds that the

least likely future for any of the UK OTs is that they will experience the same weather characteristics as in the past 50 years. We conclude that regional warming in the Caribbean could be as much as 6 0 C by 2100 (slightly less in the South

Atlantic and Pitcairn). It could, however, be as little as 1 0 C or less. A greater than 3 0 C rise by 2100 is most likely in all

three regions but we advise planning for the worst case scenario of a 5 or 6


C temperature rise.

0.2 The effects of climate change on key island coastal natural resources (beaches) and marine ecosystems (coral

reefs, mangrove forests and sea grasses) will have the most important impacts on island livelihoods. These effects will come through increasingly severe tropical storms and hurricanes in the Caribbean (with wind speed increases of up to 20% greater than today) and likely increases in the severity and frequency of low rainfall events and droughts in all areas. There is a significant gap in knowledge about the relationship between El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and global warming - limiting confidence in projections for storms, rainfall and ocean temperature. We find that no useful guide exists to future regional climate in the South Atlantic. Global sea level rise is now projected to be as much as 0.9m by 2100 (0.5 m is the central estimate). This will have little medium term direct impact on UK OTs as people adapt to such slow change. But, raised sea levels will exacerbate the effects of more severe storms and will directly affect coastal infrastructure and tourism. Sea level rise, wind and ocean state changes might risk access to South Atlantic islands and Pitcairn.

0.3 Detailed analysis of the likely impacts of climate change on small island societies reveals that impacts will occur

through their fragile natural resource base and the environmental services it provides. These services sustain the livelihoods of these economically vulnerable states through a very small number of critical choke points: primarily Tourism, Fisheries, Water Supply and Migration, with lesser impacts on Infrastructure, Health and Agriculture. Climate change should be of immediate concern to UK OT decision-makers. It affects the environmental services on which the UK OT societies depend most. Analysis and the responses of island stakeholders to the survey we undertook confirm that acute disasters are the highest priority to governments and public in the Wider Caribbean and that climate change is

of little current concern. Key knowledge gaps are currently in these local populations and the islands’ governments themselves. Decision-makers are un-informed about likely climate changes and impacts. Also, global and regional initiatives are not yet adding value at island or local scales. We find that UK OT governments and the international donor community are not able to factor climate changes into their planning and cannot begin to develop appropriate and sustainable adaptation strategies.

0.4 We find that efforts to improve regional co-operation in disaster preparedness and management are needed but

these should be targeted at empowerment of local communities and island governments that most urgently need support. Specifically we find that:

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 fisheries

Turks and Caicos and Anguilla (and many other islands) need to know more about climate-tourism relationships

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 and other small island states need to know more about the relationship between climate change, livelihoods and migration.


Global warming is already happening and risks to island communities will increase. We find that there are clear

opportunities available to the international donor community. Our 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.




1.1 According to Grove (1994), our very first notions that human activities might cause climate change on regional

scales came from British and French island colonies. The administrations of Tobago, St Vincent, St Helena and Mauritius were persuaded in the 18 th and early 19 th centuries that deforestation was linked to declines in rainfall. This

lead to protection of island forest resources.

1.2 Two hundred years later most people now agree that humanity causes global climate change. Global climate

changes are happening and having a “widespread and discernible impact” according to the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC, 2001). The report goes on to state: “The most widespread direct risk to human settlements is flooding and landslides, driven by rainfall, sea-level rise and tropical storms”. By only 2025, water shortages may affect up to 5 billion people (ibid.). While the UK Overseas Territories (UK OTs) do not contribute a significant proportion of these 5 billion people, they have especially fragile environments and un-diversified economies and their sustainability is of concern to the UK and the international donor community.

1.3 The DFID Overseas Territories Unit (OTU) commissioned this rapid review and stakeholder survey, better to

understand the prospects for climate change during the next century and the likely impacts on selected UK OTs and other small island states. The UK OTs selected were: Anguilla, Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and the Pitcairn Islands. We undertook a desk study to synthesise existing information and research on the impacts of climate change on the societies and livelihoods of these islands, with particular reference to health, infrastructure development and migration and other key sectors: for example, fisheries and tourism. A rapid stakeholder survey was to be planned and executed, to include internal and external stakeholders, and most particularly as many local UK OT stakeholders as could be identified and contacted within the short time frame of the study. Finally and most importantly, the study was to highlight gaps in knowledge, prioritise key issues relating to climate change and the environment for the selected OTs and their regions and outline their implications for the international donor community.

1.4 We take as our starting point for consideration of the prospects for and impacts of climate change on the

UK OTs, a Pressure-State-Impacts-Response framework (see, for example, Turner, 1998). We apply the PSIR concept to the interaction between climate change (pressure), environmental state, impacts on environmental services and through these to impacts on livelihood assets and capital and thus on sustainability of livelihoods; and on the response of policy- and local decision-making. This enables us to provide a simplified, yet systematic view of a most complex web of interactivity between climate change and society on these islands.

1.5 A simple view - from environment to decision - is shown right. Livelihood sustainability
1.5 A simple view
- from environment to
decision - is shown
right. Livelihood
sustainability is firmly
at the centre.

1.6 In this report, we

begin by considering climate

futures, globally. Then we home in on the regions and islands under consideration (Section 2).

1.7 In Section 3 we

detail some of the complex interactions between climate, environmental and natural resources and environmental services on these and similar islands.

1.8 We explain in some detail in Section 4 the critical livelihood implications of future climate change by

considering the sectors of society that we find are most critical to UK OT livelihoods and those that will likely require significant mitigation and adaptation strategies in response to predicted climate change.

1.9 Section 5 summarises the results of the stakeholder survey undertaken as a major component of this work. The

questions we asked are included as Annex I. Annex II is a table listing all the stakeholders approached and highlighting those who have responded by the time of writing. Annex III is a summary table of the key points of the responses



Finally, in Section 6, we draw together the results of the desk study and stakeholder survey by considering

knowledge gaps from climate science to local information on adaptation strategies. We consider the implications of future climate changes for donor interventions and we make ten specific recommendations.



Climate Futures 1

Changing Our Climate

2.1. Evidence for global warming over the last 100 years is now overwhelming. Instrumental climate data accurately

indicate changing mean surface air temperatures since 1856. These data show a global warming at the surface of about 0.6 C, with the six warmest years all occurring in the last decade, since 1990. For most land areas the recent warming has been greater at night than during the day, partly reflecting increased cloudiness over land. Warming over the oceans has been somewhat less than this global average (though still significant) and tropical sea surface temperatures have risen over the past fifty years. In 1998 sea temperatures in the tropics reached record highs during an El Niño. Evidence for the most recent warming is seen not only in climate observations but also in physical and biological indicators of environmental change. These include rising sea level, retreating glaciers and ice-shelves, thinner and less extensive polar sea-ice and longer growing seasons in middle latitudes, not to mention recent severe impacts on tropical coral reef systems (Reaser et al., 2000).

2.2 The science community and many policy makers are increasingly confident that many of the patterns associated

with this warming betray the fingerprint of human causation, amongst other climate controls such as fluctuations in the

sun’s output (IPCC, 2001). Based on the current scientific consensus, it is now probable that in the next one hundred years we will fashion a climate system that will make the Earth warmer than at any time in human history. Much of this man-made climate change is already unstoppable.

Global Climate


Predicting future climates and sea-levels requires:


adoption of one or more scenarios of future global greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and


quantified assessment of how changes in our emissions will alter global and regional climates


Since the future is inherently unpredictable, most analysts start by adopting a range of emissions scenarios that

reflect a variety of assumptions about how the world economy, demography and energy technology may evolve. The most recent set of scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] (IPCC, 2000, 2001) include forty such quantified descriptions of the future. These descriptions range from a low emissions scenario with about 5 GtC 2 emitted annually by 2100, to a high emissions scenario of around 29 GtC per annum. Current energy -related emissions are about 6.8 GtC pa. When translated into atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) concentrations these equate to a range from 540 to 970 ppmv 3 by 2001. Current concentration is about 370 ppmv. Since pre-industrial carbon dioxide concentration was around 275 ppmv, reaching 570 ppmv is akin to an approximate doubling of ‘normal’ CO 2 . Current emissions scenarios indicate that humans will cause such a doubling to occur as soon as 2045 or as late as 2120.

2.5 The second stage in climate prediction takes these emissions futures and models the response of the climate

system to such additional human forcing, first considering near-surface air temperature. The newly approved Third Assessment Report of the IPCC (IPCC 2001) presents a range of future increase of global air temperature by 2100 of 1.4 to 5.8 0 C from 1990 values (Figure 2.1). We have already seen 0.2 0 C warming during the 1980s and 1990s. The IPCC assessment represents a future decadal warming rate of between approximately 0.15 and 0.6 0 C. Thus, by the year 2015, the range of additional warming predicted is between 0.2 and 0.9 0 C. To assess the likelihood of possible regional future climates, climate models (now essentially the same as those used to forecast tomorrow’s weather patterns but with oceans, ice and vegetation included) are developed, tested and used (for example, Zweirs and Kharin, 1998). From these, assessment can be made of long term changes in patterns of land and ocean temperatures, pressure, precipitation and major weather features, such as major storm tracks - though not individual storms (for example, Emanuel, 1997) and high pressure belts. Current and future sea level changes are mainly the result of global ocean temperature changes as warmer water expands in volume, together with the less important but direct results of ice sheet and glacier melt.

Regional Climates


2.6 The above changes are for globally-averaged surface air temperature. We know that changes in temperature are

likely to be higher in high latitudes than in lower latitudes and higher over continents than over oceans. What are the

expected temperature increases in the Caribbean, South Atlantic and South Pacific and on and around the selected UK OTs? Because they are small islands and generally in low latitudes, rates of warming here are likely to be slower

1 The term ‘Climate Futures’ represents the set of scenarios generated by the climate science community which characterise likely global, regional and local climates as they change through the 21 st century.

2 GtC

3 ppmv

- Gigatonnes of Carbon

- parts per million by volume


than the global average. In Table 2.1 we provide temperature estimates based on regional scaling of recent global climate model experiments using techniques described in Hulme et al., 2000. This is our basic temperature forecast for the three regions and the selected UK OTs.

2.7 So, for example, the latest IPCC-endorsed range of global warming (1.4 to 5.8 0 C by 2100) equates to between

0.8 and 5.8 0 C for the eastern Caribbean over the current century and slightly less for the Atlantic and South Pacific islands. Figure 2.2 shows clearly a strong warming trend in St Helena air temperature, even after a first pass to factor out effects caused by changes in instrumentation and site. This trend is stronger than we expected, based on the aforementioned recent modelling experiments and warrants further investigation. Table 2.1 is also valid for sea surface temperature around the coasts of small islands over the next century. However, changes in ocean currents and up-welling regimes may lead to variations we cannot yet predict and might directly impact sensitive marine ecosystems.

UK Overseas Territory

Regional Annual Temperature Scaling Factor ( 0 C)

Warming Range by 2100 ( 0 C)

Eastern Caribbean*


± 0.2


to 5.8

St Helena


± 0.2


to 5.2

Tristan da Cunha


± 0.2


to 5.2

Pitcairn Island


± 0.2


to 4.6

* Eastern Caribbean includes Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla

Table 2.1: Scaling factors for the selected UK OTs to be applied to projections of global temperature change for annual temperature. Global warming range is from 1.4 to 5.8 0 C. (Based on the methods described in Hulme et al., 2000).


2.8 New et al., 2001 analyse recent global and regional changes in precipitation. They find that the most recent

warming has been accompanied by somewhat less rainfall in St Helena and the southern and eastern Caribbean, wetter conditions in the northern Caribbean and Bahamian islands, a slight fall around Pitcairn Island and no change around Tristan da Cunha. Figure 2.3 shows some indication of rainfall variability on Pitcairn Island, confirming a recent slight reduction - but the record is short. A similar analysis of the St Helena record (not shown) indicates no definitive recent trends. New et al. also find that for all the selected UK OTs, the dominant control of seasonal rainfall is El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variation. A key conclusion, therefore, is that ENSO variability now, and in future as it interacts with global warming in the future, is of prime concern to the UK OT environments and their societies.

2.9 As the world continues to warm, it also becomes wetter overall with global precipitation increasing by between

1 and 3% for each degree of global warming (Hulme et al., 1998). Thus, temperature projections indicate a global average rainfall increase of between 1.4 and 17.4%. This is clearly a wide range, from essentially no change to a significant increase. Regional differences in the changes in precipitation are much greater than for temperature and also vary by season. So, predicting just what regional changes are likely using current climate models is an uncertain science. Nevertheless, we can provide estimates following Hulme et al., 2000 (see Table 2.2). No clear signal emerges for any of the relevant UK OTs with regard to annual precipitation totals, but there is some indication for changes in seasonal distribution. For example, in the eastern Caribbean, projected increases in December - February rainfall are offset by decreases in June - August rainfall. These changes will impact on local agricultural practices and possibly on tourism.

2.10 Under the highest of the global temperature projections (5.8 0 C by 2100), these seasonal changes in rainfall may

amount to as much as ± 40%. The large uncertainty in these regional and seasonal rainfall changes is shown by the ranges in Table 2.2. Nevertheless, such changes are out of the range of recent experience and thus the possibility of their occurrence should be of significant concern to the UK OTs. We comment on rainfall intensities in the section below.


UK Overseas

Estimated % Change in Rainfall per 1 0 C of Global Warming


Estimated % Change in Rainfall by 2100











Eastern Caribbean*

-1 ± 3

+3 ± 6

-4 ± 6


-23 to +12

-17 to +52

-58 to +12

St Helena

-1 ± 3

-2 ± 6

-4 ± 6


-23 to +12

-46 to +23

-58 to +12

Tristan da Cunha


± 3

-2 ± 6

-1 ± 6


-17 to +17

-46 to +23

-41 to +29

Pitcairn Island


± 3

+1 ± 6

+1 ± 6


-17 to +17

-29 to +41

-29 to +41

* Eastern Caribbean includes Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla; # DJF=Dec+Jan+Feb/3; # JJA=Jun+Jul+Aug/3

Table 2.2:

seasonal rainfall. (Based on the methods described in Hulme et al., 2000).

Scaling factors for the UK OTs to be applied to projections of global precipitation change for annual and


Climate Variability and Extremes

El Niño and related complicating factors

2.11 As noted above, in the regions in question El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the major determinant of

year-to-year climate variations and it is now thought that changes in global temperature will alter the characteristics of ENSO behaviour and its effects on, for example, storminess (Elsner et al., 1999). Exactly what these changes will be is not yet well determined, although a number of studies suggest at least a small increase in the amplitude of El Niño events over the next 100 years (IPCC, 2001). Notwithstanding this uncertainty, global warming is likely to lead to greater extremes of drought and heavy rainfall and flooding that occur with El Niño and La Niña events in many regions (IPCC, 2001). For example, ENSO-related droughts in the eastern Caribbean might become more intense as might the frequency of tropical storms during La Niña episodes. It is also likely that with background warming of the tropical oceans, the frequency of given high sea surface temperature thresholds being exceeded during El Niño events will increase. This may well have implications for coral bleaching and other direct environmental impacts as we describe in Section 3.

Tropical storms

2.12 Changes in tropical cyclone behaviour as the world warms are now considered probable, though again the

details of these changes are not yet well known (Lighthill et al., 1994). Research in the 1980s and early 1990s suggested that tropical storms would be more frequent in a warmer Caribbean (for example, see Gable and Aubrey, 1990; Gable et al., 1990; and Gray, 1993). This may still be the public perception in the Caribbean and still accepted by many decision-makers in the region. But in the late 1990s, more careful modelling has shown that the numbers of storms may not, after all, increase, nor their regional or local distributions change. However, this research indicates that increases in peak wind and peak precipitation intensities of up to between 10 and 20% may well be associated with tropical cyclones in a warmer world (Bergtsson, 1996; Henderson-Sellers et al., 1998; Knutson et al., 1998; Landsea et al., 1999 and IPCC, 2001). Of the selected UK OTs, those in the Caribbean are well known to be especially vulnerable to damage from tropical storms and hurricanes and increases in rainfall and wind speed associated with these storms must be of concern.


2.13 For many societies lack of rainfall is a major (if not the critical) constraint on livelihood sustainability. In some

of the target UK OTs, high-profile and more acute climate-related disasters, such as tropical storms, are clearly important but future drought may also impact on sustainability and development. This is especially the case where water resources are limited, such as in St Helena and Anguilla. Our analysis (Table 2.2) forecasts (with large uncertainty) that increased seasonality of rainfall would result in a higher frequency of drought through the next decades, especially but not exclusively, in the Eastern Caribbean. So, improved forecasts of regional climates are needed to provide more reliable estimates of future rainfall and likelihood of drought.


In summary, the most likely scenario for climate extremes affecting the selected UK OTs, is:

the same long term tropical storm frequency as now, modulated by ENSO variations

storms will be more intense, with more rain, up to 20% stronger winds and higher storm surges

as the world warms, regional rainfall climates will change, with an increased risk of droughts, but

current forecast uncertainty is large, so

while we can be confident of trends, we cannot yet be sure of magnitudes of change.

Changes in Sea Level


Global average sea level has been rising at the rate of about 1.5 cm / decade during the twentieth century. The

majority of this increase is directly related to rising temperatures - as ocean water warms its volume increases. The rest is due to indirect effects - melting glaciers and ice. The IPCC projections for future sea-level, consistent with those for global temperature cited above, suggest rises in average sea-level during the coming century of between 0.9 and 8.8 cm / decade (IPCC, 2001). This represents an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise and although there are likely to be some regional differences in the rate of increase these differences are relatively small and not easily quantified. Under a worst case scenario therefore, small islands will need to adapt to a rise in sea level over the next 100 years of up to nearly one metre (with rises of 1 cm / year on average).

2.15 Changes in ice sheet mass balance and ocean thermal expansion will take several centuries to adjust to the

current increase in global temperature. This means that even if efforts to mitigate climate change are successful and global temperature stabilises later this century, future generations will see continued increases in sea level for at least another 1,000 years. Depending on the precise behaviour of the ice sheets and the eventual temperature at which global


climate stabilises, sea-level rise over the next millennium could range from 3 m to over 10 m (IPCC, 2001). Considering how many human beings and what proportion of the flora and fauna of the Earth live close to or rely on coastal environments, it hardly needs stating that this ‘very long term scenario’ might have dire consequences for human kind and the Earth as we now know it.


2.16 The future is, of course, uncertain and climate futures are no exception. There are two generic sources of

uncertainty in climate prediction:

uncertainty concerning future world development, affecting how greenhouse gas emissions will change

uncertainty associated with modelling of the Earth’s climate system and the accuracy of climate models.


The first source of uncertainty will not be resolved by improvements in ‘climate science’. The second source of

uncertainty is, in principle, partly resolvable given adequate investment in the science base and continued expansion of

computing power (Hulme and Carter, 1999). However, it is generally accepted that complexity and chaotic nature of the climate system will always preclude forecasting perfection.


The range of global warming : 1.4 to 5.8degC by 2100; is a function of both sources of uncertainty:

between 25 and 40% of the range is due to unknown future emissions

60 to 75% is due to imperfect modelling.


So, as much more than half the uncertainty is tractable, we expect intensive climate system-oriented research to

make significant inroads into the overall prediction uncertainty over the next decades.

2.20 For sea-level rise: between a 9cm and a 88cm rise by 2100; nearly all the range arises from our imperfect

understanding and modelling of ice-sheet dynamics and ocean circulation. In other words, future rises in sea-level are less sensitive to different emissions growth curves than are rises in global temperature and thus the current projection range is reliable. But, again, near-future intensive research may significantly reduce the current large uncertainty.

2.21 Given the current state of our understanding, it is useful to summarise relative levels of confidence we have in

the components of future global change predictions. These are summarised in Table 2.3.

Prediction Statement

Confidence Level

Atmospheric CO 2 concentration increase

Very High

Global sea-level rise

Very High

Global temperature increase


Regional temperature increase


Increase in hurricane intensity

Moderate / Low

Increased amplitude of ENSO events

Moderate / Low

Regional precipitation change


Table 2.3: Confidence levels for changes associated with global warming. (Adapted from IPCC, 2001).

2.22 Notwithstanding these different levels of confidence, it is safe to conclude that:

The least likely future for any of the UK OTs is to experience the same weather characteristics as in the past 50 years

2.23 Medium to long-term strategic planning in sectors that are clearly climate sensitive is well advised to adopt one

or more scenarios of climate change rather than use design criteria that rely upon historical weather statistics. Assimilating uncertainty about future climates into such strategic planning is a significant challenge to modern society.


2.24 Global climate has changed significantly in the last 150 years. Currently, temperature increase is accelerating

and will have direct and indirect, regional and local impacts. Some of the most severe impacts will be on small island states (IPCC, 2001), including the selected UK OTs. On balance, we can expect higher temperatures in coming decades (up to 6 0 C higher by 2100) and increasingly severe storms (especially in the Wider Caribbean). It is likely that rainfall patterns will change but exactly how, we do not yet know (especially in the Wider Caribbean and South Atlantic). The latest projections suggest that rainfall is more likely to be higher than lower in the Eastern Caribbean in winter (December to February) and more likely to be lower than higher in the summer (June-August) but we indicate that our confidence in this is low. In the South Atlantic lower rainfall might occur in both seasons (again, a low confidence


forecast) but annual totals could be higher, lower or unchanged. As Maunder et al., (1995) put it: “St Helena has a remarkably stable sub-tropical climate….” So stable in fact that, even though older islanders were “convinced” that climate changes had occurred in their lifetimes, a scientific analysis could find no evidence of any significant change. Our brief analysis indicates a possible vindication of the ‘local view’ - we find a first indication of a strong 2 0 C warming over 60 years. Changes in the seasonal distribution of rainfall would affect water availability on St Helena especially and elsewhere amongst the selected UK OTs with possible increased frequency and /or severity of droughts. This, together with increases in the severity of tropical storms, would have significant implications for several sectors from agriculture and construction to infrastructure and tourism.

2.25 More research is needed to consolidate the prediction of increasingly severe tropical storms and the linkage

between global warming and ENSO variations. We contend that overall warming and slow sea level rises may not pose a great threat to small islands as populations gradually assimilate change, as does Hay (2000). Rather, local extreme weather events will dominate slow changes. As Hay puts it: “localised extreme events whose relationship with climate change is not yet well understood “are likely to be of far greater significance”.

“are likely to be of far greater significance”. Figure 2.1 : A synthesis of current projections

Figure 2.1 : A synthesis of current projections of global surface air temperatures in the 21 st Century from the IPCC, including current best estimates and error bars for global temperature during the past millennium (IPCC, 2001). Note that even the most conservative estimate of 21 st Century temperature change far exceeds any variations during the past 1000 years.



2 1.5 1 0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -2 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940

Figure 2.2 : Annual mean temperature anomaly (°C) for St Helena, 1893 to 1999; relative to the 1951 to 1980 reference period and based on the record of station 619010 and from the Climate Research Unit data archive. (P. D. Jones, pers. comm., 2001). Note the strong warming trend of around 2 0 C in the record since 1930 (1 0 since 1970). Further note that this record has been adjusted for changes to the specific location of the St Helena climate station, 619010.


80 60 40 20 0 -20 -40 -60 -80 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990

Figure 2.3 : Annual total precipitation anomaly (%) for Pitcairn, 1940 to 1999; relative to a 1954 to 1980 reference period and based on the record of station 919600 and from the Climate Research Unit data archive. (P. D. Jones, pers. comm., 2001). Note the three years of poor rains from 1976 to 1978 and again from 1996 to 1998.



Climate Change Impacts

Economic and Physical Vulnerability

3.1 The livelihoods and development opportunities in the small island UK OTs critically depend on their natural

resource base. The terrestrial, marine and coastal natural resource systems provide environmental or ecological services that are necessary for the maintenance of sustainable livelihoods in the territories. Disturbances to these natural resource

systems as a result of climate change have the potential to undermine the long-term sustainability of livelihoods on the islands. The process of adaptation to impacts is mediated by the institutional context of the natural resource management – careful planning will allow greater degrees of flexibility and resilience.

3.2 It has long been recognised that small island states, particularly those that are developing nations, have a unique

set of circumstances making them vulnerable to external shocks from political, economic or environmental sources, and

making sustainable development difficult to achieve (Streeten, 1993). The vulnerability of small island states has been formalised in recent years. Sets of indicators have been developed to assess and rank small and isolated countries in terms of their vulnerability to economic shocks (see, for example, Briguglio, 1995, for UNCTAD; Crowards, 1999, for the Caribbean Development Bank; and Easter, 1999, for the Commonwealth Secretariat). Measures of economic vulnerability reveal the sensitivity of national economic development to external shocks (for example, global economic downturn, social upheaval or hazards such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes). According to Easter (1999), three factors are important in determining an island nation’s vulnerability:

economic exposure (trade-dependence and lack of economic diversification)

degree of remoteness and insularity

susceptibility to environmental events and hazards.


By these measures, small island states make up 90% of the most vulnerable developing countries (Easter, 1999).


Table 3.1 (adapted from Crowards, 1999) and Table 3.2 (DFID, 1999) confirm the vulnerability of the selected

UK OTs (British Virgin Islands [BVI] is included for comparison). Even without quantitative data, it is clear that St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Pitcairn are highly economically vulnerable just because of remoteness and size, not to mention having non-diversified economies. BVI, Anguilla and Montserrat are also high in the ranked order of vulnerable states.


Openness / Diversity





Reliance on one export 1

Reliance on three exports 2

Exports as % of GDP



Insurance costs 5

assistance 3



ment 4















Turks and

no data

no data

no data


no data



Pitcairn / St Helena / Tristan da Cunha

no data

no data

no data

no data

no data

no data

B.V.I. (for








Table 3.1: Indicators of economic dependence and remoteness for the selected UK Overseas Territories. Adapted from Crowards (1999).


1. Percentage contribution of top export to total exports

2. Percentage contribution of top three exports to total exports

3. Overseas Development Assistance as a percentage of Gross Fixed Capital Formation

4. Foreign Direct Investment as a percentage of Gross Fixed Capital Formation

5. Percentage freight and insurance costs on imported goods.








Port –






(1997) **

ment Rate




km 2











300 to 500 tonnes







not all-






Pitcairn Islands






not all-






St Helena






not all-







Tristan da Cunha






60 to 70





Turks and Caicos








$3 million



sales of




conch and


British Virgin






365 ##



Islands (for




Table 3.2: Selected socio-economic indicators for the selected UK Overseas Territories (adapted from DFID, 1999). **


Overnight + cruise ship visitors Two cruise ship passenger terminals were built in 1998.


The selected UK OTs rely heavily on external markets for both finance and trade:

having un-diversified economies

relying on exporting few traded goods (for example, bananas, sugar, lobsters, stamps)

relying increasingly on tourism earnings and overseas aid.


They are ‘economically remote’ as measured by high transport costs of traded goods. Several are also especially

prone to acute natural disasters (for example, volcanic eruptions and tropical storms) which can cause infrastructural and

economic disruption and loss of exports as well as risk to life and of forced migration. A summary of major issues facing each island are shown in Table 3.3.

3.7 Thus, the selected UK OTs are already vulnerable. Future climate change may exacerbate vulnerability and

interact with weather extremes to increase the significance of weather-related events. Previous IPCC reports (for example, Bijlsma et al., 1996) and literature reviewed for this study have identified common threats to small islands from

climate change. These are threats to terrestrial and marine environments on which the societies and economies are directly or indirectly, uniquely dependent (for example, see Alm et al., 1993; Snedaker, 1993; Vincente et al., 1993; Cronk, 1997; Ellison et al., 1997; Bergstrom et al., 1999; Rönnbäck, 1999). Threats include increased intensity of tropical cyclones, increased seasonal rainfall variability, altitudinal shifts in vegetation zones (affecting mountainous islands such as St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Montserrat and threatening conservation of biodiversity), impacts of temperature and rainfall changes on coastal environments (Nicholls et al., 1999; Oldfield and Sheppard, 1997), soil fertility and on disease vectors. There are also wide-ranging and long term impacts of sea level rise on replacement and maintenance of coastal infrastructure (Hendry, 1993) and on agriculture, through salination (Singh, 1997). These impacts are potentially important for the selected UK OTs.

3.8 In the inshore marine environment, coral reefs, sea grass and mangroves are threatened. Because these systems

provide buffers to storm damage, direct and indirect impacts on beaches and beach-dependent tourism are expected as climates changes, as well as directly on fish stocks and inshore artisanal fisheries. Again, these impacts are especially relevant to the selected UK OTs.

3.9 These threats were assessed by the IPCC to be exacerbated by the economic vulnerability parameters

(Pearce et al., 1996), especially relevant to the UK OTs.



Significant Issues


low-lying coralline island, limited natural resource base, limited water resources small population over-fishing of inshore stocks growing dependence on tourism (mostly from the US) and financial services


(pre-eruptions) increasing tourism dependence small population, limited land (50% devastated by eruptions) (post-eruption) depend on UK aid for re-building (post-eruptions) migration

Pitcairn Islands

rain-limited subsistence agriculture, tiny population (non-viable) no airstrip – only one vulnerable access point (small bay with jetty) dependent on declining cruise ship tourism for sales of handicrafts and stamps no airport, very isolated, total dependence on UK aid

St Helena

limited water resources, environmental degradation small population, un-diversified economy dependent on revenues from fishing licences no airport, non-continuous sea access, dependent on UK aid, strategic location

Tristan da

potential natural hazard (active volcano – last eruption: 1961) very small population, small un-diversified economy no airport, non-continuous sea access reliant on overseas remittances, dependent on UK aid, strategic location


Turks and

very low lying atoll, potential threat from sea level rise small population dependent on tourism and financial services problems with Haitian refugees

Caicos Islands

British Virgin

very small domestic markets high costs associated with inter-island transport agriculture and manufacturing account for less than 5% of GDP growing dependence on tourism and offshore financial services

Islands (for


Table 3.3: Summary of significant issues for selected UK Overseas Territories.

3.10 In summary, the selected UK OTs, like other small island states, are dominated by coastal and marine systems

and their economies and the livelihoods of their residents are dependent on a few vital resources and environmental services, serving local populations and large numbers of tourists. A critical constraint on economic development and human habitation on many small islands is water supply. This is potentially a limiting factor, particularly on Pitcairn, St Helena and Anguilla. Below, we examine in more detail future climate change on the UK OTs with reference to these important natural resource systems, coastal resources and environments and water resources.

Environmental Services At Risk

3.11 Of all the natural resource systems in the coastal zone that provide environmental or ecological services to the

livelihoods of habitants of several selected UK OTs and many other tropical and sub-tropical small islands, coral reefs are considered the most important. Yet, they are arguably the most fragile natural systems and the most at risk from

climate changes. Recent coral bleaching on reefs world-wide (for example, Sheppard, 1999), on top of pollution and other stresses, has made them currently the highest profile natural resource relevant to the tropical UK OTs.


Coral Reefs and Reef Systems


Coral reefs are important coastal ecosystem components, providing a range of valuable economic, social and

environmental services at the local, national and regional levels for small-island developing states. Hence they contribute to the sustainability of livelihoods on several UK OTs. Healthy coral reef systems are also considered to be of global importance because they are highly bio-diverse. There is now a wide literature concerning reef environments, conservation and services and the importance of reefs for protecting coastal systems from storm damage and indeed, much of the literature surveyed for this study are concerned with reef systems.

3.13 Coral reefs usually occur and survive within a narrow range of environments, limited by salinity, temperature

and by nutrient and sediment loads. Extremes for survival are within 3.3% and 3.6% (salinity) and between 18 o and 36 o C


(Hubbard, 1997). Coral reefs also require some degree of wave energy to pass nutrients and waste through the systems and reef structures require light penetration to enable the symbiotic algae to photosynthesise to create the coral skeleton.

3.14 Diverse economic goods come from reef systems, including: seafood products, raw materials for medicines, fish

for the aquarium trade, coral blocks and mineral oil and gas. Reefs also provide beneficial indirect environmental services as they support recreation, provide aesthetic value and support community livelihoods. They also provide a range of environmental services, grouped under physical structure, biotic, bio-geochemical and informational services.

3.15 Physically, coral reefs provide shoreline protection, promote growth of mangroves and sea grasses and generate

coral sand. Biotic services include maintenance of habitats, maintenance of bio-diversity and a genetic library, regulation of ecosystem processes and functions, and maintenance of biological resilience (see for example, Maul, 1993; Milliman,

1993; Moberg and Folke, 1999; Souter and Linden, 2000; Gaudian and Medley, 2000; Gell and Watson, 2000 and many others).

3.16 As sea temperatures rise or turbidity and nutrient levels change, ambient conditions may move outside a coral’s

normal range. Other impacts of climate change on coral reefs and on the livelihoods they support depend on interactions with other environmental stresses. Coral reef resilience can be reduced through human activities:

on land via agricultural pollution (Rawlins et al., 1998), and poorly treated sewage (Hunter and Evans, 1995)

in the coastal zone through inefficient fisheries management, including trap-fishing (Knaap, 1993) and over-fishing

(Russ and Alcala, 1989) indirectly through land development or clearance (Nowlis et al., 1997)

through ‘natural’ hazards, such as tropical storms, sea temperature and sea level changes (Lugo, 2000)


Natural imp acts come from storm damage (for example, Lugo et al., 2000) and freshwater inputs from floods or

heavy rains. In the Caribbean, dust blown across the Atlantic from Africa can smother coral reefs or bring disease (Shinn et al., 2000). Recently, overwhelming evidence has accrued that global climate change is seriously affecting coral reefs throughout the tropics (Sheppard, 1999). The impact of climate change on sea surface temperature has already been felt and the consequent mass coral reef mortality that resulted, through coral bleaching (when the symbiotic algae die, leaving ‘white’ and dead coral exoskeletons). This has been experienced around the world (Reaser et al., 2000). Overly warm water has caused bleaching and major ‘kills’ on many reef systems, such as in the Maldives, Chagos Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory (Sheppard, 1999), Caribbean (for example, Singh, 1997) and elsewhere. The current state of coral reefs in selected island states is summarised in Table 3.4 below.

Climate change impacts on coral reefs

3.18 Global warming will have several major impacts on coral reefs (Done, 1999; Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999 and

Westmacott et al., 2000), through:


sea surface temperature increase


sea level rise


atmospheric CO 2 increases, leading to reduced calcification rates.


These and other critical environmental changes may result from altered ocean circulation patterns. These may

affect any of the above as well as nutrient supply and sunlight - through changes in water turbidity. It is also likely that increased intensity or frequency of severe weather events will alter the environment in which corals currently grow and

change the composition of coral reefs of the future. Below, we look a little more closely at the major impacts of rises in temperature, sea level and CO 2 .

Sea surface temperature increases

3.20 As noted above, many fragile reef systems have already been dramatically affected by global warming and / or

ENSO events over the last decade. If ambient ocean temperatures move outside a limited range coral bleaching occurs and usually results in coral death. As tropical sea surface temperatures have risen over the past few decades, so coral reefs around the world have suffered, especially in the warmest year (1998), which saw the most severe bleaching on record (Wilkinson, 2000). Recent high sea surface temperatures leading to bleaching have been encouraged by extreme ENSO events (Renwick, 1998). This re-emphasises the need for further information on probable interactions between global warming and ENSO. Though large scale bleaching episodes are usually attributable to high sea surface temperatures, small scale bleaching is more like to result from direct human impacts, such as increasing turbidity and pollution. It is now widely accepted that coral reef systems are especially at risk when regional sea surface temperatures reach or exceed those expected during the warmest months of the year (Goreau and Hayes, 1994; Reaser et al., 2000).

3.21 Even widespread bleaching is not always terminal and the reef ecosystems can recover quickly in certain

circumstances (Brown et al., 2000) and may prove more resilient than we currently expect. But, increasing evidence

suggests that corals weakened by stress may be more susceptible to bleaching events (Brown, 1997).



Predominant Reef

State of the Reefs

Prevalence of Disease / Bleaching





Fringing reefs 17km long off south-east coast and longer to north side

In good condition – recovered from hurricane damage in the 1960s

No information

Not known


Small patch reefs close to shore. Few patch reefs in deeper water

High energy, erosion prone coastline (naturally). In 1995, 37 hard coral spp., 20 to 45% live coral cover

No information collected since 1995 eruptions


Turks and

Fringing reefs (1- 2km offshore). Shallow patch around all 40 cays

Popular locations: low cover on reef top (<20%) and high algae abundance (30 to 60%). Deeper (30 to 60% hard coral cover) and lower macroalgae levels

Some pollution damage, some diver impact at well-used sites





Mostly sand and rock outcrops covered by corals. Reef vary from a few m 2 , to one that is 77 km 2

Few mangrove and sea grass communities (naturally). Good overall condition. Localised deterioration in areas of rapid land development, high population, yachting, snorkelling and diving

Hurricanes Jose and Lenny (1999) caused severe damage to sites at 6 of the 60 small islands

67 fish spp.


Islands (for



Six major atolls with smaller islands and reefs around the Great Chagos Bank

Highest coral and mollusc diversity in Indian Ocean. 50 to 70% live coral cover, 10 to 20% soft coral cover. Largely undisturbed

70 to 90% coral lost due to bleaching in 1998 – good chance of recovery because largely undisturbed


BIOT (for


Table 3.4: Current state of coral reefs and incidence of coral bleaching in selected UK Overseas Territories. Data comes from several sources, especially Wilkinson (2000).

Sea level rise

3.22 Wilkinson (2000) estimates that if sea level rises by as much as 0.5m by 2100 (the mid-range IPCC scenario)

there could be severe adverse consequences as a result of the partial or total removal of coastal protection and buffering that coral reefs provide. This logic assumes that as sea level rises, reef systems in many regions will not be able to keep pace with the rise (Westmacott et al., 2000). Earlier work, summarised by Gable et al. (1990) indicated that coral communities are at risk from sea level rises of as little as 0.3 to 0.5 cm / year (well under the projected maximum expected rise over the coming decades: 1 cm / year). As noted above, reef survival and growth is constrained by additional stress (such as increased pollution and temperature rise). The loss of protection to mangroves, sea grasses and other coastal communities will cause further coastal erosion and loss of ecological habitats. Again, sea level rise is a ‘slow burning’ climate change threat and may be marginally survivable by reef systems. The risk to reef systems of sea level rise and thus to coastlines and the livelihoods they support, is perhaps not fully explored in the recent literature. The impacts of sea level rise on reef ecosystems requires further study, even though there appears to be no risk to UK OT livelihoods in the short term.

Increased atmospheric concentrations of CO 2

3.23 As atmospheric CO2 levels increase, the oceans may become more acidic and the ability of coral reefs to grow

through their normal calcification processes will be reduced (Souter and Linden, 2000). At present rates of CO2 increase, the rate of calcification of corals will decrease by between 14% and 30% by the year 2050 (Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999). This is a high-side estimate but as Buddemeier and Smith (1999 - p. 7) note: “the effect of carbonate saturation state on calcification, and its linkage to atmospheric CO2 concentration, is now recognised as a potentially important control on coral and reef community function”.

Implications for coral reef management

3.24 Wilkinson (2000) notes that the global coral bleaching events of 1998 have made many people re-assess coral

reef degradation and approaches to their management. Before 1998, it was generally accepted that good management of human impacts (nutrient and sediment pollution and exploitation of reef resources) would be sufficient to increase the


resilience of the world’s coral reefs. Now it is widely accepted that global climate change is of enormous significance, especially as it is out of the control of local resource managers or national policy makers in the affected small islands.

3.25 Table 3.4 summaries the state of the coral reefs of six UK OTs. They represent an important resource for these

states. For some reef systems Wilkinson (2000) considers the main threats to be from sewage and sedimentation, associated with population and tourism growth and shoreline development, leading also to rapid growth in marine activities (yachting, diving and snorkelling). The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are a significant exporter of lobster and conch, which are critically dependent on the health of coral reef systems.

3.26 In summary, the consequences of climate changes on reef environments are significant. Human activities and

climate change interact significantly to impact on reef resilience (Nyström et al., 2000), feeding through to fishing and tourism (see later). Prior to recent bleaching events there was little research into medium and long term effects of climate change and little or no systematic synthesis of direct evidence. Fishing yields will decline as reef viability decreases and as reef ecosystems become less productive there will be knock-on effects on other coastal environments and on birds and marine animals, although the size of these impacts remains to be determined (Hoegh-Guldberg, 1999). The impact of these changes on protein sources for small islands that depend on reefs for their subsistence is likely to be severe, as is the impact on bio-diverse coastal environments and coastal tourism that demands accessible, diverse and high quality coral reef resources (Honey, 1999).

Implications for associated coastal habitats: mangrove forests and seagrass beds

3.27 Mangroves provide an important set of services and functions in terms of protecting island coastlines against

storms, as nutrient sinks, and in providing a habitat for wildlife and valuable products for humans (see, for example, Gable et al., 1990; Hendry, 1993; and Rönnbäck, 1999). According to Gable et al., (1990) mangrove forests are, on average, 19 times more productive than the open ocean and 2· 5 times more productive that agricultural land – an important ecological resource that supports fisheries, tourism and provides coastal storm buffers to many islands, including some selected UK OTs. But, in protecting Jamaica’s beaches from Hurricane Gilbert, 60% of the country’s mangrove forest was lost to this one storm. Without mangroves to protect the coast, a storm following soon afterwards could have been catastrophic. There is much historical evidence of similar impacts on other Caribbean islands, including the selected UK OTs.

3.28 The resilience of mangroves to sea level rise varies according to the composition and status of the stand and

factors such as tidal range and sediment supply. In some instances (for example, where sediment supply is low) accretion of mangroves may not be able to keep up with sea level rises, whereas in some protected coastal settings inundation of

low lying coastal land may promote the expansion of mangrove with rising sea level.

3.29 According to Hendry (1993), most mangrove forests should be able to keep pace with sea level rises of up to

1 cm / year (at about the limit of projections) but will be stressed or die back at greater rates. Overall, what evidence there is, points to some loss of mangroves on small islands as a result of sea level rise and this will further exacerbate the impacts of storms and has other deleterious effects on the ecology and stability of coastal systems and of beaches and local fisheries. Vincente (1993) and Snedaker (1993) both considered that mangroves may be more at risk from reductions in rainfall and freshwater inputs than from temperature or sea level rise and as we have seen, changes in regional and local rainfall are currently extremely difficult to resolve. Clearly, further work is urgently needed to determine probable impacts of climate change on mangrove resources.

3.30 Sea grasses are also associated with the shallow inter-tidal zone. They are often a major component of reef

ecosystems in the shallow, sheltered habitats that fringing reefs encourage and are thought to be important habitats for marine fish. In some places they provide nursery areas for valuable fish species (Moberg and Folke, 1999; Gaudian and Medley, 2000). Sea grasses are important to Anguilla, TCI and to a lesser degree, Montserrat. Sea grasses are thought to be sensitive to changes in water temperature and to changes in dissolved CO 2 (Short and Neckles, 1999). Furthermore, suspended sediment in water may adversely affect sea grass productivity in comparison to other species, such as algae (Moberg and Folke, 1999). The impacts of climate change on sea grasses has not been widely studied but needs to be.


3.31 In summary, many tropical small island states, including the Caribbean UK OTs have important reef systems

with associated mangrove forests and sea grass beds. Little integrated research has been undertaken on the impacts on climate change on these vital natural resources. Much more work is needed and this should take a systems approach, as these resources and the environmental services they provide, are intimately interconnected within the islands’ coastal ecosystems. We suggest later that local integrated coastal zone management should address these concerns.



Water Resources

3.32 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. Year to year and season to season rainfall variations in these and other tropical and sub-tropical small islands are strongly associated with ENSO events (Dai and Wigley, 2000). 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, as suggested in Section 2, would put Anguilla particularly at risk from seasonal drought, variable water supply and diminishing water resources. Such environmental change would increase the vulnerability of Anguilla communities and might constrain sustainable development over the next few decades, unless adaptive measures are taken now.

3.33 Unfortunately, modelled future patterns of rainfall are uncertain (see Section 2). The risk of increased frequency

or severity of seasonal droughts associated with ENSO phenomena and linkage between ENSO strength and global warming are even more poorly understood. These areas of climate change science require further examination before our forecast of water availability in the UK OTs can be firmer. Other threats to water resources are increased flood risks and impeded drainage and elevated water tables, which may pose particular engineering problems. With sea level rise and rising water tables, increased salination of coastal water supplies is likely and may exacerbate salinity problems already experienced on some small islands.

3.34 Options available to small islands for reducing adverse effects of climate change on water supply appear limited.

The imperative is to develop better systems of water resource management and allocation, water harvesting and

conservation methods. Desalination may be a feasible option for some islands.


Storms and Coastal Protection


Increases in the intensity of tropical storms are now thought likely in the coming decades (though not certainly

for the South Atlantic and eastern South Pacific). Vincente (1993) suggested that soil erosion, landslides and mudslides will be perhaps the most significant risk to livelihoods and lives on Antillean Caribbean islands (like Anguilla) as rainfall intensity increases; especially where increasingly dense populations extend habitats, infrastructure and agricultural lands onto increasingly steep slopes at the expense of forests. The devastation that Hurricane Mitch dealt to several Central American countries in 1998 should be a clear warning to many of these societies.

3.36 Long term sea level rise over coming decades will change the size and distribution of coastal wetlands and

increase the risk of coastal flooding (Wall, 1998; Nicholls et al., 1999). This will have both positive and negative impacts on small islands, especially TCI (40% of the land area of the Bahamian atolls is classified as wetland according to Oldfield and Sheppard, 1997). Sea level rises will also increase the risk of storm-generated coastal and beach erosion and will increase the risk of salination of rivers and estuarine environments and salt water intrusions into coastal ground waters, jeopardising agricultural production in and around coastal communities of the UK OTs, notably Anguilla and TCI.

Hurricane Lenny

3.37 To emphasise the pre-dominance of tropical storms and hurricanes as a dynamic agent for changing the coastal

environments of several UK OTs, we list below some salient facts about Hurricane Lenny, the most recent storm of significance to a UK OT, which hammered the Antillean islands, including Anguilla, in November 1999.

Hurricane Lenny developed late in the Caribbean hurricane season, in mid-November

It developed inside the Caribbean itself, it did not develop outside and enter from the east – a rare event

It took a easterly or north-easterly track – a rare event (unprecedented in 113 years of record)

The last two characteristics ensured that it struck islands’ west coasts, as opposed to east coasts, as is normal

Lenny struck the Antillean islands only one month after Hurricane Jose.

At its peak, Lenny was a Category 4 hurricane (on a severity scale of 1 to 5; there were only five Category 5

Caribbean hurricanes in the 20 th Century) Maximum wind speeds reached 150 mph

Lenny struck Anguilla’s tourist centres and beaches

According to some reports, some beaches were little damaged, and

Anguilla hotels were not flooded (Anguilla News, 28 / 11 / 1999)

According to other reports, 4 m waves badly eroded Anguilla’s tourist beaches

500 mm (20”) rain fell on Anguilla in 2 days, causing widespread flooding (



The force of the wind is proportional to the square of the wind speed. Current IPCC predictions for 10 to 20%

higher wind speeds and thus more intense tropical storms during coming decades, if proved correct, indicate that more Category 4 and 5 hurricanes will occur in the Caribbean than have in the past century. This would lead to significantly more short term devastation and damage to small island coastal environments and the livelihoods that depend on them. To assess the impacts of climate change as directed through increasingly severe storms, the effects and impacts on sustainability of the very worst of past storms should be further studied.

3.39 Societies want to protect their assets. What has been done to protect the coasts of small island states? In general

and historically, coastal protection has meant ‘hard’ engineering schemes but these can have well documented negative impacts on coastal environments. Just one example is that sea walls often protect property in the short term but accelerate beach sand loss. It hardly needs stating that the beach is what draws many tourists and that losing it could be disastrous for local livelihoods in coastal communities, quite apart from the long term environmental implications of beach loss in reducing natural protection to coastlines. Hendry (1993), quoting a 1990 IPCC report “Climate Change:

IPCC response strategies”, listed the dollar costs (1990 money) and proportion of GDP of Wider Caribbean coastline defence. The IPCC has not updated these figures but it is clear that the cost (% of GDP) of coastal defences to Anguilla and TCI is larger than any other islands in the region. So, in expectation of more intense (more-severe) storms and assuming that adaptation strategies are put in place, we are confident that:

the cost of sea defences in the region will likely escalate, risking sustainability of development future costs of protecting the coasts of both Anguilla and TCI will be an increasing proportion of GDP

a significant investment in ‘soft’ engineering schemes is required to ensure long term (if dynamic) protection.


Coastal Defence Cost (% GDP)

Cost ($ million)













British Virgin Islands



US Virgin IslandsI



Cayman Islands















St Kitts and Nevis



St Lucia



St Vincent and the Grenadines



Trinidad and Tobago



Turks and Caicos Islands



Table 3.5: Approximate costs of coastal defence for Wider Caribbean small islands in 1990. Adapted from Hendry (1993), from original data from the IPCC.



Livelihoods on Small Islands and UK Overseas Territories

4.1 A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets and activities required for means of living. A livelihood is

sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base (based on the definition of Carney, 1998). Sources of most or all forms of capital can be limited on small islands, including the selected UK OTs. Risk and vulnerability are most important in influencing livelihood assets themselves and how different livelihood strategies, structures and processes influence the sustainability. We have seen that island climates are changing and will change further during the next few decades and we have outlined some of the effects this might have on critical natural resources and the environmental services. This is why climate change has the potential to cause significant damage to island and UK OT livelihoods.

4.2 It is clear that livelihoods are precarious in the selected UK OTs. As Tables 3.1 and 3.2 show, their economies

are poorly diversified. This means that there are limits to livelihood options.

are severely limited and concentrated on fisheries (Anguilla, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha) and / or tourism (Anguilla and

pre-eruption Montserrat). On Pitcairn, the subsistence economy is based on agriculture and fishing, with revenue generated from the sale of postage stamps. Remittances from family members who have migrated to other countries are an important source of income in most of the UK OTs (on Tristan da Cunha and St Helena especially). GDP per capita is under $10,000 on all the selected UK OTs and only $5,000 on St Helena. For comparison, GDP per capita is over $28,000 on BVI.

For example, employment opportunities

4.3 Here we examine key issues that affect the livelihoods of residents of the UK OTs and discuss the implications

of climate change on these. We consider the dominant areas: fisheries and tourism; that are directly and indirectly impacted by the stock and integrity of natural capital. We also look at other areas we consider climate change will significantly affect. These include health, infrastructure, insurance and migration, which impact on island community livelihoods and which are relevant to development programmes and projects. Finally in this section, we outline implications of climate change for coping strategies and adaptation options.




Fisheries and potential impacts on them are extremely important for the small island states, as a source of

income but also as a significant proportion of protein intake. Fisheries in small island developing states are made up of both artisanal and small-scale commercial fisheries and this is the pattern in the selected UK OTs. Commercial and subsistence fishing are crucial to the livelihoods of many inhabitants. Fish is a major export of Anguilla, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha. In Turks and Caicos five fish processing plants process lobster and conch that generate $3 million each year (Finfish landings are mainly for local consumption). Fishing is generally artisanal and exploits primarily inshore fisheries, although the small fleet of St Helena harvests migratory species such as tuna. Small scale sustainable fisheries not only provide important dietary components to islanders but may be responsible for long term good returns, as on Tristan da Cunha (Cooper et al., 1992). The impact of climate change on fisheries is complex and interacts with non-climate related stresses. Inshore fisheries are dependent on sustained coastal ecosystems, dominated by reefs and sea grasses. The largely negative impacts of sea-level rise and sea surface temperature increases and consequent loss of live coral cover represents a real and serious threat to near-shore fisheries in these small islands.

4.5 For many deep-sea fisheries, the interaction between El Niño Southern Oscillation phenomena and fisheries

production is a crucial area, particularly if increased frequency or severity of El Niño events are linked to global warming. For example, Pacific skipjack tuna stocks seem to be controlled largely by the periodicity of ENSO events (Lehodey et al., 1997).

4.6 The South Atlantic has supported a large-scale pelagic fishery since the 1940s associated with the Benguela

Current but is subject to interannual variations known as Benguela Niños. The fishery occasionally suffers marked declines in productivity and crashes in pilchard and anchovy stocks (Boyer et al., 2000). These are linked to anomalous sea surface temperatures and often occur about a year after Pacific El Niños. There is increasing evidence that sea surface temperature anomalies in this area are linked to ‘red tide’ events that are deleterious effects to the Namibian fisheries sector, including to stock recruitment (Boyer et al., 2000). There is no evidence we can find of similar impacts on the fisheries employed by the St Helena fleet. However, the influence on fisheries of ENSO and similar regional scale ocean phenomena and changes to their frequency, extent and severity as global warming occurs, is a significant and growing cause for concern and is especially relevant to sustaining fishery-based livelihoods on several UK OTs.




4.7 Tourism is an important source of revenue and employment for some of the UK OTs, as it is for many small

island states, especially in the Caribbean. Predicted climate change will have both direct and indirect impacts on tourism to these islands (Smith, 1990). Sea level rise almost certainly 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 and these tourists expect ‘paradise’ (Honey, 1999), so disruption to these natural ecosystems and implications for infrastructure, construction and for property insurance will have significant impacts on livelihoods.

4.8 World-wide, tourism is a rapidly growing sector and this increase is mirrored in the UK OTs. Dharmaratne et

al. (2000) note that several studies show that for 50 to 70% of tourists to Central and South America, protected areas are important in determining destinations. But often, tourism does not capture economic benefits locally because of revenue ‘leakage’ out of the country and because marine parks do not impose user fees (Brown et al., 2001). Dharmaratne et al. (2000) report that visitors to the Turks and Caicos Islands have been generally unwilling to pay even a small entrance fee to protected areas. Also, Faulkner (2001) worries that almost no tourist areas of word-wide importance have properly developed disaster management plans, even though they can all expect to experience a disaster of one form or another with “virtual certainty”. With this in mind, the pre-dominance of the hurricane threat in the Caribbean is worrying.

4.9 Visitor numbers to Anguilla have gone up rapidly in last two decades and tourism now generates more than 31%

total economic activity. Unfortunately, the experience of Montserrat following its recent volcanic eruptions demonstrates that tourist demand and thus tourist-based livelihoods are sensitive both to natural disasters and to the perceived and

actual quality of key natural resources and the environmental services they supply. This sensitivity has been amply demonstrated on small islands and other developing countries where tourism constitutes an important livelihood source (see, for example, Brown et al., 1997 with respect to the Maldives and Nepal). Such sensitivity is also demonstrated by the ‘our beaches are untouched’ response of the Anguilla tourist industry to reported devastation caused by Hurricane Lenny in 1999 4 . But, tropical storms can be devastating. The most destructive storm of the 20 th Century – Hurricane Gilbert - eroded 3 metres from 50% of Jamaica’s tourist beaches (causing an estimated revenue loss of $5 billion).

4.10 Large-scale tourism often brings fewer benefits to local employment and income than locally owned and

controlled development. Local partnerships for capturing the benefits of tourism are an important element to the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in Caribbean islands (for the example of Tobago, see Brown et al., 2001). As climate changes ramp up during the next century, we are clear that it will be increasingly important to act

locally on the UK OTs to adapt to and cope with the impacts of these changes.

4.11 Some UK OTs, such as Anguilla and St Helena and to a limited ext ent, Pitcairn, have cruise ship tourism and

growth in this sector will depend on maintenance of port infrastructure. Changes to seasonal weather patterns and sea states that we cannot yet model might have detrimental effects. Furthermore, tourism in UK OTs may be indirectly affected by rises in the costs of international air travel in the coming decades as a result of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation strategies. Less obviously, though possibly in the long term, just as important to the selected UK OTs, could be erosion of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, as a result of climate change (this has been recognised in St Helena and the St Helena Millennium Forest Project is aimed at raising awareness and fostering national pride in the island’s endemic species). Again, tourism would be first sector affected and the most seriously so. This conclusion stems from an appreciation of the increasing importance of ‘eco-tourism’ to tourism industries world-wide and the growing public perception that in a world of dwindling natural resources, bio-diverse natural environments are ‘must visit before it’s too late’ places. These are powerful incentives in conjunction with the ‘paradise’ requirement noted in # 4.7 above.

4.12 Overall, because of downstream negative impacts on tourism, impacts of climate change on key natural

resources like coral reef systems and beaches and to infrastructure, could be critical to the very survival of marginally sustainable societies in the small island states. Direct impacts on tourist facilities of individual storms, though severe, should be non-critical in the long run.




Three main factors constrain health on small islands according to Royle (1995). These are scale and isolation

(leading to a limited gene pool) and (lack of) access to financial and development resources to generate effective health service provision. Royle illustrates this by considering Ascension, St Helana and Tristan da Cunha and UK aid provision to these islands. Such isolated societies generally have specific health problems, for example, asthma and heart disease on Tristan da Cunha (Zamel et al., 1996; Morris, 1997) but we find little previous research on possible implications for the health of these islands’ populations from climate change.

4 Anguilla News, 28 / 11 / 1999



More generally, the human health consequences of climate change could be significant and far-reaching and

could impact on the sustainability of livelihoods in many societies (de Sylva, 1993). There is evidence that some insect- borne and water-borne diseases may become more prevalent in the future as temperatures increase and rainfall patterns change. Dengue fever, for example, is found in the island states of the Caribbean and its incidence may increase. Evidence from the South Pacific suggests a strong correlation of dengue fever incidence with ENSO events (Hales et al., 1996). Thus, if thresholds of critical weather variables are exceeded more frequently in future, we can expect increased incidence of this disease. Other diseases, including malaria, may increase their ranges to affect some of the UK OTs. Other observed health impacts associated with ENSO events, such as fish poisoning (Hales et al., 1999), also pose threats to the UK OTs in a warmer world.

4.15 The vulnerability of small island populations to epidemics as a result of climate change (Woodward et al., 1998)

clearly needs to be accounted for in health planning and policy. It is unclear to us what precisely the effects of climate change might be on well documented and particular health problems within the populations of some of the UK OTs. It is similarly unclear to us whether increases in overall air temperatures of between 1.5 and 6 0 C will have any significant impact on heat-stress related illness in the Wider Caribbean. We are confident, however, that such a problem will not occur in the South Atlantic or on Pitcairn. Finally, it is possible that increasing sea temperatures will bring as yet unforeseen health problems, from, for example, poisonous marine life and shark attack. We found no work on these subjects relevant to the UK OTs.




Physical capital includes basic infrastructure: transport and communications, shelter, water and sanitation and

energy. Each of these is likely to be impacted by climate change. Many island states, including several of the selected UK OTs, are especially vulnerable because of their remoteness. For example, damage to port and harbour and airport structures and facilities as a result of more intense storms or sea level rise could result in certain islands being cut off completely. Table 3.2 shows that port use is already limited in Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, St Helena and Tristan de Cunha. DFID (1999) indicates that St Helena has no safe anchorage in high seas and that Tristan da Cunhna can only be accessed by sea for up to 70 days each year. Pitcairn is reliant on one small cove and jetty. Possible impacts of climate change should be taken into account in planning any port upgrading in these islands. Unfortunately, our current state of knowledge about possible climate futures in the South Atlantic and South-east Pacific is extremely limited, so we cannot yet say what changes are likely that might affect access.

4.17 Gable and Aubrey (1990) note that Barbados lost 6 m of beach from its west coast in the 30 years prior to 1990,

mainly because sand mining put beaches at risk from storms. Also, as we noted earlier, ‘hard’ engineering for coastal

protection can be counter-productive in the long term. Climate change must now be taken into account by planners and coastal defence engineers and we concluded earlier that ‘soft’ or environmental engineering schemes may offer sustainable alternatives for many small islands at risk from storms.

4.18 Putting aside the shoreline itself, the predicted changes in climate outlined earlier will have implications for the

design and costs of housing, roads, bridges and other island infrastructure. Hurricane Hugo damaged over 90% and destroyed 20% of houses in Montserrat and as we noted earlier, several recent hurricanes have famously caused devastation to many countries in the region. If climate change increases the intensity of storms then each storm, on average, will cause more damage to property and roads. Likely increases in storm intensity and rainfall in coming years must be taken into consideration in building roads and other infrastructure, for example ensuring that adequate precautions are taken to prevent land slips and severe erosion on steep slopes and in designing bridges to take account of increased flood risk. Drainage systems must be designed to meet more severe storm surges and more intense rainfall events. In summary, we recommend a review and revision of building and infrastructure design criteria on the UK OTs.

4.19 The legislative and planning systems of these islands need to take into account climate change impacts in

applying controls to development, especially but not only, right on the coast. Such controls might include regulating the excavation of materials and clearance of vegetation, including mangroves and sea grasses, in designing appropriate coastal defences, in regulating deforestation and agricultural practice that might encourage soil erosion and gullying, and in regulating house-building programmes. This is already a problem on some of the UK OTs and we anticipate that climate change will further exacerbate this problem in the coming decades. We recommend urgent action to address these issues.




Development and maintenance of infrastructure can be threatened or delayed where insurance is unavailable or

costly. Small islands already suffer the costs of remoteness through, for example, high freight insurance. Insurance premiums are sensitive to the size and frequency of hazards, including weather-related phenomena such as tropical storms. Increased incidence or intensity of these events will trigger increases in insurance premiums. The IPCC Third


Assessment Report will report that insurance costs have increased significantly in the Caribbean during the 1990s. So high were the claims related to natural disasters in the region that some re-insurers withdrew from the market.

4.21 Such action will present serious problems in future as the UK OTs may not be able to acquire adequate

insurance cover for property, businesses and personal injury and death caused by natural hazards. This has consequences for livelihoods, directly through increase costs for individuals and businesses and indirectly by acting as disincentives to investment and trade. Who will cover uninsurable losses in the UK OTs?


Migration and Remittances


An important factor in many of the UK OTs has been the prevalence of migration and remittances as strategies to

enhance the sustainability of local livelihoods. Indeed, according to Marshall (1982) 150 years of migration from the eastern Caribbean (primarily for work) has made migration a “characteristic” of the region, part of its history and its social fabric. Most recently, some return migration to the Caribbean islands has occurred. These processes are extensive in small island states and have conventionally been portrayed as having largely negative impacts, with pejorative labels such as the ‘remittance economies’ applied to the Caribbean, and the MIRAB economies in the South Pacific.

4.23 Maul (1993) presented migration as possibly the greatest climate change “threat” to Caribbean societies. But

Connell and Conway (2000) present a different perspective on the influences of migration and remittances. They contend that migration and remittances are key to the welfare of people of many remote small islands and enable their populations to adapt to the age of globalisation. Migration and remittances provide flexibility in livelihood options and return migrants enrich the stocks of human, social and cultural capital of small islands, bringing with them links to trans-national networks. In contrast to the view that remittances fuel conspicuous consumption and undermine local economies, Connell and Conway contend that, in fact, remittances encourage positive investments and savings and support investments in basic needs and education.

4.24 Remittances foster further mobility in the populations of small islands. Importantly, migration and remittances

are critical in dealing with natural hazards as evidenced in many small island contexts (for example, Western Samoa, as discussed below) and various Caribbean islands in response to hurricane damage and in the case of Montserrat, to recent volcanic eruptions. Migrants raise large amounts of money to fund recovery. Natural disasters also act as a significant ‘push’ factor for migration. In addition, the role of host countries is important and in the case of UK OTs, the UK will be the most important host country, if possibly not the only one. The implications are extremely important for dealing with likely impacts of climate change. We expect that increasingly severe or intense storms will be the aspect of future climate change that most obviously ‘pushes’ future migrations but further work on possible specific climate changes to the South Atlantic islands is urgently needed before we can suggest downstream impacts on migration there. At this stage, changes in sea surface temperature and regional ocean current regimes and consequent deleterious effects on local fisheries appear to be the most likely reasons for out-migration from these islands. Other possible reasons include collapse of local tourist industries through storm damage to beaches and coastal habitats and severe water supply problems and significant reductions in agricultural productivity, both caused by droughts.

Livelihoods, Vulnerability and Coping Strategies

4.25 Livelihood strategies in the selected UK OTs depend on the natural resources base and environmental services

and / or they are related to migration. 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. Livelihoods are not greatly diversified; nor are there many opportunities for greater diversification (Ellis, 2000). This affects the ability of residents and communities to withstand shocks and variability and compromises their ability to recover. That there are so few livelihood alternatives and means of diversification re- emphasises the vulnerability of local livelihoods to projected climate change and related disasters. In these circumstances, remittances from overseas become significant and may be a key feature in determining the ability of local populations to cope with future climate change impacts.


4.26 Our review of climate change impacts on livelihoods has highlighted various development impacts. The

economic and social vulnerability of the UK OTs demands that the potentially significant impact of projected climate change will require planned adaptation. Natural resources are critical to present and future vulnerability. Most importantly, populations are vulnerable to extreme weather events today and make adjustments to their livelihood strategies to cope with today’s climate. So, climate change-related impacts on environmental services important to island livelihoods are already occurring; for example, through increasing sea surface temperatures causing coral reef destruction. These current changes have been neither expected and planned for, nor adequately coped with and adapted to.



For example, Anguilla’s country profile in the UNDP ECLAC/CDCC internet report, based on Anguilla Ministry

of Home Affairs’ responses to a 1997 UNDP survey 5 makes interesting reading:

“…. the government of Anguilla has neither developed nor upgraded national legislation to address climate change issues.”

and later on:

….a disaster emergency fund has not been proposed for Anguilla at this time, and disaster policy has not been integrated into the national development planning process.6

4.28 Does this indicate a genuine lack of interest, or a perception that the peoples of the small island UK OTs can do

little or nothing either to prevent or to survive accelerating climate changes? Have policy makers’ opinions changed in the past three or four years? These questions may be answered in part by the response to the survey of UK OT stakeholders

undertaken as part of this study.

4.29 We cannot directly cool huge swaths of ocean to stop coral kills and so remove this threat to the long term

sustainability of island livelihoods. Neither can we control the strength of storms. But, it is our contention that such large scale environmental change can be survived. Coping is acting to survive and adaptation involves changing the institutional arrangements and livelihood strategies to increase the probability of surviving disasters, whilst sustaining development. Adaptation may need to include further diversification - developing alternative income sources, migration or similar major changes, as well as direct interventions by local governments, the UK and the international donor community.

Policy Intervention and Community Ownership

4.30 Recent analyses of resource dependent communities in other parts of the world have demonstrated that

underlying vulnerability can be identified and alleviated through policy intervention. For example, in coastal South East Asia, unsustainable resource extraction and inappropriate government response can exacerbate vulnerability, making populations more at risk from both present day coastal flooding as well as long-term climate change (Nguyen Hoang Tri, et al., 1998; Adger, 1999). In seeking to understand processes of adaptation in their wider context, analysis is required to highlight explicitly 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 such analyses are undertaken.

4.31 Collective action for coping is an important element in social coping and the dangers of replacing traditional by

formal social security are well known (see, for example, Platteau, 1991), perhaps leading to the development of unsustainable dependency cultures. A present day example of the role of institutions in managing and mediating impacts

on a small island illustrates their importance in resource-dependent societies. The agricultural economy of Western Samoa is dependent on cash crops such as pineapple and coconuts. These crops are susceptible to extreme weather events. Paulson (1993) and Paulson and Rogers (1997) considered local coping strategies and post-disaster recovery after

a major tropical storm hit the island. Despite a long term decline in the cultivation of some storm resistant crops and ‘famine food crops’, non-monetary informal arrangements for social security persist in Western Samoa and the moral economy seems to be resilient to increased state and market involvement (Paulson, 1993). In this example, both reciprocal collective action and migrant remittances enabled recovery and facilitated reconstruction.

4.32 Lugo (2000) notes that, depending on the strength of local community-based institutions, it can take decades for

a coastal community to recover from one Category 4 or 5 hurricane and that effective short-term migration and other

coping strategies can be critical to keeping recovery time to a minimum. He also advises strongly that a combination of improved construction methods, green infrastructure (‘soft’ defences) and appropriate hard defences can minimise storm damage but must be undertaken in ways that do not harm livelihood-significant natural resources and those that conserve biodiversity 7 . Luttinger (1997) provides a useful example of successful community-based conservation efforts in Honduras. In an effort to accommodate a surge in nature tourism and un-supported by government, local communities there created and managed marine protected areas. The St Helena Millennium Forest Project is another excellent example, at national scale of an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and conservation and aims to foster national pride in the island’s endemic species. This and other examples (for example, from Western Samoa and Tobago, and along many coastlines world-wide) provide strong support for our contention that national and community natural resource management capacity needs strengthening in the UK OTs.


6 BVI’s response was slightly more encouraging (

7 According to DFID (1999) marine biodiversity is Anguilla’s greatest asset.



Sea level rise, like other climate change threats, need not always have a negative impact on livelihoods. Three

response options to sea level rise are often proposed (see, for example, Bijlsma et al., 1996, for the IPCC):

Planned Retreat – emphasising abandoning land and structures in highly vulnerable areas

Accommodation (or ‘soft’ defence) – conservation, continued occupancy and adaptive management responses

Protection (or ‘hard’ defence) - defending vulnerable areas, homes, economic activities and natural resources.


Each of these methods offers livelihood opportunities. The first requirement is for up-to-date information and

mapping of topography and bathymetry, natural resources, habitats and flora and fauna, human populations and socio- economic data. Joined-up thinking should be applied to sea level rises and other climate change threats, as part of integrated coastal zone management.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management

4.35 The selected UK OTs and other small island states rely heavily on their coastal resources. On an island-wide and

regional scale, improved integrated coastal zone management systems (ICMs) will be crucial in limiting negative effects of climate-related threats (Aston, 1999 8 ; Solomon and Forbes, 1999) and making the most of possible benefits. We

conclude that UK OT, small island and regional ICM plans must include:

wide consultation, education, outreach, participation and consensus building

national and local action with regional co-operation

a precautionary approach

a realistic, step-wise and community-focussed approach

and specifically:

a better understanding of process interactions in complex and dynamic coastal ecosystems

improved hazard mapping, taking into account plausible climate futures

improved understanding and integration of community and other stakeholder responses to

- acute climate-related threats

- long term (‘slow burning’) climate impacts.

Regional Initiatives and Toolbox Methods


In a future warmer, stormier world, the persistence and encouragement of informal institutional arrangements

and social security will remain critical to reducing vulnerability, to adaptation and to the generation of sustainable livelihoods. The ready availability of relevant information about climate change, scenarios, impacts, livelihood links and strategy options will be vital to small island decision-makers.

4.37 The IPCC global initiative to document and explain climate changes and their possible impacts is well known.

Less grandiose global initiatives include the Synthesis and Upscaling of sea-level Rise Vulnerability Assessment Studies (SURVAS) package (de la Vega-Leinert and Nicholls, 2000). SURVAS aims to develop further understanding of accelerated sea-level rise by reviewing existing studies and associated methods and develop improved regional and global perspectives on accelerated sea-level rise and associated impacts. The EU-funded SURVAS project concentrates on review of sea level rise, primary and secondary impacts and dissemination of current knowledge through publications and workshops, to a wide academic and government community. It appears to have little or no community level engagement, nor any small island emphasis. One recent initiative aimed specifically at UK OTs is the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, which provides valuable inter-island communication at the level of up-stream science issues, including climate change and brings these quite effectively in front of policy-makers and to a lesser extent to the public (for example in St Helena). Local focus and participation at community level to facilitate community level adaptation strategies to counter the deleterious of climate change could further strengthen this initiative.

4.38 There is a regional initiative of note for the Caribbean, aimed at downstream planning and adaptation. This is:

Caribbean Planning and Adaptation to Global Climate Change (CPACC). The CPACC project was designed in response to the Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States which took place in Barbados in April / May 1994. CPACC was intended to support twelve participating Caribbean countries in preparing to cope with adverse effects of global climate change (particularly sea level rise) on coastal areas. The small CPACC team does this through undertaking vulnerability assessments, adaptation planning and capacity building.

4.39 The CPACC initiative is funded by the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF), is supported by the Organisation

of American States (OAS), and is implemented in Barbados. CPACC has instigated a series of interventions for participating countries. These include:

8 Aston outlines effective ICM, based on a village-level resources surveys and village level fisheries management planning.


design and establishment of a sea level / climate monitoring network

establishment of databases, information systems and inventories of coastal resources and uses

formulation of a policy framework for integrated coastal and marine management

a series of pilot projects in selected countries on:

- coral reef monitoring for climate change

- coastal vulnerability and risk assessment

- economic valuation of coastal and marine resources

- formulation of economic/regulatory proposals.


The CPACC team also attempts to enable the preparation of national communications in response to

commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project is due to end in December 2001. CPACC has been somewhat restricted by its remit and while it has encouraged regional level interaction it appears to be rather technically oriented and has had little involvement from any UK OT. Such regional initiatives are potentially valuable and CPACC participants hope that it will be replaced by another five-year project looking at the implementation adaptation strategies (provisionally called IMPACC), with a wider partnership, which will include UK Overseas Territories. But, to take forward the CPACC initiative and develop effective local scale awareness of climate change issues and adaptation strategies, community level involvement is urgently needed.

4.41 As we have found, there is a burgeoning relevant literature on climate change and on conservation of natural

resources and bio-diversity. There is much less information available on links between climate change and the environmental services on which UK OT livelihoods so crucially depend. Hence integrated management (for example, ICM) is a necessary pre-requisite to ensure the sustainability of livelihoods facing stress as a result of climate change. There is increasing experience of the use of electronic ‘toolboxes’ to provide policy-makers with useful and up-to-date information on complex subjects in a structured and user-friendly way, to inform planning and policy (Morton, 2000). A toolbox can be a compact and non-linear ‘soft’ decision-support system that includes scientific findings, policy option summaries, live web links, networking facilities and downloadable applications. 9 We recognise, however, that ‘web- based’ technologies are only a small part of the answer - they are but tools to facilitate delivery of joined-up management.


4.42 Small-island developing economies are resource dependent and livelihoods have adapted to cope with variability

and extremes of the present day climate system. But the problems associated with being dependent on single or narrow resource bases and environmental services are almost certain to be magnified by the impacts of future climate change. Climate change should be very much a ‘present day’ concern for livelihoods in the UK OTs, and not one that decision- makers can defer a decade or more. Future climate change will probably bring more severe extreme events, particularly

droughts and severe storms. We see the following priority interventions for integrating climate change into planning for sustainable development:

strengthening the basis and diversity of livelihoods in the UK OTs

building on traditional and existing climate and disaster coping and adaptation mechanisms

facilitating participatory, community-led initiatives (including integrated coastal zone management)

through this, creating effective strategies for coping with and adapting to climate changes, as they occur

facilitating improved regional awareness and informal institutional arrangements, and

providing improved information handling and dissemination for regional, national and local decision support.




Survey Responses

5.1 As part of this study, 72 questionnaires were sent to stakeholders concerned with the six selected UK OTs,

including some who are UK-based (for example, FCO and DFID staff), some regional players and some island residents.

Summaries of knowledge, information and opinions were sought from government (UK and island), the scientific community (many climate and conservation scientists) and those in specific sectors, for example fisheries.


The questionnaire is included here as Annex I. The questions were carefully chosen to:

fit on one page, to encourage replies

be easily understood by all those approached

illuminate any areas of major concern to stakeholders

address issues of local perceptions to climate change, including its relative importance to decision-makers

help identify key impacts, and any adaptations and coping strategies that are in place or planned

identify areas where there are critical knowledge gaps, hindering planning

point to (stakeholder-generated) implications for the international donor community.


At the time of writing, 25 responses have been received (a 35% response rate) and Annex II lists those

approached and highlights those responding. Annex III is a summary table of the key points made by the respondents, by question area and by island.

5.4 We provide a further short summary of stakeholder responses here as Table 5.1. The results of the survey are

valuable and are fully taken into account as we bring together the results of our analysis in a final section of the report:

Section 6.





Threats From and To


Managing Change

Knowledge Gaps






Especially sea temperature and sea level rise. Vulnerable island ecosystems, esp. reefs; biodiversity

Tourism, incl.

Local governments and NGOs have no capacity and are un- informed

Local interactions and reef recovery mechanisms. Govs. need briefings and information

OTs need



links to



Water supply.






Sea level rise, sea temperature, storm frequency, floods. Coral kills (bleaching).


Lack of capacity in local government and NGOs to take environment on board or plan long term

Information-sparse. Local training needed for decision-makers


over acute

Health. Water








Little local

Storms, sea level rise, drought Marine Env., beaches, water supply


No Ministry of Env. Poor disaster preparedness. Decisions not based on informed opinion

Need to know about links between storms and climate change

Education and

concern or














A little concern about storms and drought


Ministry of


change not


Agriculture has

an issue

little capacity




Turks and


Climate change not seen as a threat.

Sea level rise, sea temperature, storms, floods Beaches, marine environment, reefs


No adaptive strategies in place. Government unaware of climate change impacts

No environmental







Little information


available to






Some public

Storm frequency and sea level rise. Reefs, mangroves and buildings


Limited local


Research now




planning. Regional

needed on


initiatives need




St Helena



Rainfall, storms, sea temperature. Water shortages, disease, pests, rare species, fish stocks, port access


No Government knowledge. Not taken on by Gov. No adaptive strategies in place - funding limited

No available information on climate change and impacts (in the dark)

Must strengthen institutions and raise local awareness


Water Supply.

priority. No





Port Access


No info.


Tristan da


Not much

Sea temperature,


Little local capacity for adaptation

No information - training, technical support and education needed

Need to



rainfall variations.

Water Supply


Water shortages


effects on




Climate change not a concern

Heavy rainfall,


No local capacity

Deputy Gov. raised issues with islanders on most recent visit. Follow-up obtained

Concern both


Viability of

over possible

Water shortages


lower rainfall,



and of


gullying and

soil loss




Table 5.1: Summary of Stakeholder Responses by question area and by island. For a fuller summary of responses, see Annex III.



Knowledge Gaps, Development Implications and Opportunities


6.1 In this report we have taken future climate change as a pressure on environmental services that support island

livelihoods and sought to analyse likely and possible specific impacts and possible responses. We have summarised the current state of scientific consensus concerning global and regional climate change during the next decades, to 2100. We have considered climate-related threats that are relevant to small island states, characterised by their dependence on their coastal natural resources. The threats include air and ocean temperature rises, sea level rise, increased intensity of storms and rainfall and increased risk of seasonal drought, leading to water shortage.

6.2 We have outlined some of the ways that these climate change pressures will impact on the environments of the

small island UK OTs, and especially on key marine and coastal resources. We have outlined current thinking on how these impacts will likely affect the livelihoods of the island populations and specifically several key sectors: fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture and health. We have stressed the potentially important role of migration in determining the impact of climate change on livelihood sustainability. We have concluded that climate change and climate-related disasters must be managed as part of the development process.

6.3 We have considered some coping strategies and adaptation to climate change, including community-based and

regional initiatives and concluded that for these states, locally-focussed, integrated coastal zone management planning was a first requirement. We have summarised the 25 responses received of the 72 questionnaires sent to stakeholders concerned with the scientific issues, regions or individual UK OTs. Their responses confirm local knowledge and perceptions of climate change issues, impacts of and adaptations to climate change.

6.4 Here we draw together the results of our study by first summarising what we know, can forecast with some

confidence and what we can recommend, based on current knowledge. Second we consider what gaps in knowledge appear to exist that might be significant and inhibit effective decision-making with respect to climate change impacts, coping and adaptation strategies for the selected UK OTs. Third, we outline what implications our findings might have for the donor community. Finally, we make specific recommendations for action.

Knowledge Gaps


The main areas about which we need to know more are broadly described under the headings:


climate parameters


planning for extreme events


impacts on critical natural resources and environmental services


dependence on natural resources.



Present climate models are global or regional at best. Downscaling to small island scale is just not yet

possible by commonly used means. This limits the accuracy of our predictions based on the global and regional picture of climate futures endorsed by the IPCC. This knowledge gap will be partly filled as climate modelling science improves in the coming decade. Of more concern to us is that no regional modelling has yet been undertaken of the South Atlantic or the South East Pacific. Thus, knowledge of scale and temporal dimensions of climate change in these two regions is especially lacking and we can say less than we would like to be able to about likely climate change in these regions. For example, changes in regional ocean circulation patterns are likely to be especially important.

6.7 The relationships between global warming and ENSO are poorly understood and must be of prime concern to

the UK OT environments and their societies. So we recognise a knowledge gap here which needs filling by the climate science community. Specifically, we have identified a gap in knowledge of likely changes to the seasonal distribution and patterns of rainfall that will impact on water availability on St Helena and Anguilla especially and elsewhere amongst the selected UK OTs. More research is needed on changes to the tropical storm climates that have been mooted. Put simply, scientific analysis and modelling is needed to improve the quality of predicted changes and their direct impacts on critical environmental services. This is clearly of concern to the UK as well as the UK OTs but at least the UK has centres well placed to undertake much of this work. In summary, we are confident in the projected trends but the magnitudes of changes are still far from certain.

6.8 We have found that there is a wide and basic lack of information and understanding amongst most UK OT

communities and international community about the relevance of future climate changes to their lives – a typical Caribbean response is “only hurricanes are important threats”. We also note that the South Atlantic communities have not the least idea of what changes might occur in their region. As we stress above, this is partly because the basic research has not been done but there is also a clear need for appropriate dissemination of current thinking in appropriate formats to all levels of society, including to community level. We would welcome the strengthening of UK OT NGOs to


help achieve this. For example, apart from drought, threats to water resources include increased flood risks, impeded drainage and elevated water tables. These may pose particular engineering problems. Currently there is a gap in local understanding of how rising water tables and increased salination of coastal water supplies is likely to affect livelihoods. Options available to small islands for reducing adverse effects of climate change on water supply appear limited. Thus, improved water resource management and allocation, water harvesting and conservation methods are needed and desalination may be a feasible option for some islands but much of these adaptation strategies will be locally managed and communities need planning involvement now. These threats are already present on small islands, including these UK OTs. We are confident that climate change will exacerbate the problems and our conclusion is that urgent, locally- based action is now required.

6.9 (2)

resources for their residents’ livelihoods. The environmental services that these natural resources supply serve local populations and tourists. As their climates change, a critical constraint on sustainable development will be deleterious effects of extreme events: droughts, floods and storms. To assess the impacts of climate change as directed through increasingly severe storms, the effects and impacts on livelihoods of the very worst of past storms should be further studied. A significant gap in current knowledge is an understanding of how the long term impacts of climate change should and will affect planning for extremes and acute disasters. It is especially important to consider the impacts of slow change (in sea level and sea temperature, for example) when planning new constructions to withstand future storms, or reservoirs or when planning to counter health epidemics. We recommend a review of climate and weather-related design criteria and building codes.

The selected UK OTs, like many other small island states, depend wholly on their coastal and marine

6.10 (3)

ecological resources of many small islands, including all of the selected UK OTs. Here we have concentrated on some critical coastal marine resources that directly affect local livelihoods and (except for coral reef systems), this is where the least information is currently available. There is growing concern over the viability of conservation of diverse island habitats (for example, Cronk, 1997; Shea and Dyoulgerov, 1997; Loope, 1998; and Sheppard and Seaward, 1999) and some that are not diverse but yet ‘important’ (for example St Helena, Pitcairn and Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Group - Cooper et al., 1992; Maunder et al., 1995; Waldren et al., 1995; Percy and Cronk, 1997). We conclude that further work is urgently needed to determine probable impacts of climate change on critical mangrove resources and on sea grasses. Much more systems-oriented work is needed, as the natural resources and the environmental services they provide are intimately interconnected within the islands’ coastal ecosystems.

There are important knowledge gaps on the impacts of climate changes on the long-term viability of the

6.11 With little prospect for ‘natural migration’ from the most isolated island communities, some species may face

increased threats of extinction despite investments aimed at in situ conservation. Similarly the ecological importance of these small niche populations is not well understood and this needs further research. In addition the determinants of variability of natural populations such as fish that are of particular importance to island communities is not well enough known to assess how they might be affected by climate change. This effort is further justified by the growing importance of biodiverse environments to tourism and thus to island livelihoods.

6.12 (4)

their dependence on a dynamic, variable natural resource base. Their economic diversity and the robustness of their adaptation strategies are also critical. We recognise gaps in knowledge concerning the linkage between migration strategies and sustainable livelihoods for small island populations and note that there appears to be no useful information on how these links will be affected by climate change – but they surely will.

The ability of the UK OTs to cope with and adapt to future climate change is and will be a function of

6.13 We find little evidence of any local understanding of the links between sustainable utilisation of natural

resources and their variability. The complex relationships between changing environmental services and livelihoods on these small islands needs further research. As an example, we noted the dependency of many small island societies on tourism and that the type of tourism determines livelihood strategies but that large-scale tourism may bring fewer benefits to local communities than locally controlled development (Brown et al., 2001; Weaver, 1998). To date, very little work

has been done to explore these relationships - more is needed.

6.14 It is unclear what the effects of climate change might be on well documented and particular health problems

within the populations of some of the UK OTs. We found no work on these subjects relevant to the UK OTs and suggest that this is an area where reviewing case studies of climate stress on health would be useful, to be followed by specific work in the selected UK OTs and other small island communities. This could be founded on the confident projections of temperature trends we have highlighted, initially using worst case scenarios. Furthermore, this work could be undertaken in conjunction with regional associations, such as a CPACC successor in the Caribbean.



In summary, we find:

a tendency for Caribbean island societies to be concerned only with acute storms or eruption disasters.

significant knowledge gaps with respect to the:


relationship between global warming and ENSO, which is crucial to future climate change for all selected UK OTs


relationship between climate change and tropical storms, especially in the Caribbean


climate futures in the South Atlantic; and through poor dissemination, a critical gap in local knowledge on the subject


long term effects of climate change on planning for extremes and disasters


climate change threats to the natural capital of the islands and natural response mechanisms we find that there is a major lack of information available locally in government and in communities, about:


the complex impacts of past climate-related disasters and past climate changes on their vulnerable island ecosystems


the possible consequences for future climate change on key natural resources 10 and their environmental services 11 we are particularly concerned about knowledge gaps that constrain the local development of:


mitigation, coping and adaptation strategies in the UK OTs. These gaps include knowledge of:


the relationship between migration strategies and livelihood sustainability

strategies for sustaining livelihoods where climate-dependence (e.g. through tourism) are overwhelmingly important - the relationship between future climate stress on the health of island communities.



The closure of these knowledge gaps will require effort by the science community, local NGOs, UK stakeholders

and the international community, to:

improve our understanding of future regional climates

work with government and other decision-makers to inform their development of appropriate adaptation strategies

understand better the relationship between key coastal and marine environments and the livelihoods they serve, using

systems-orientated approaches to integrated coastal zone management target local information campaigns and training in government and at community level.


In Table 6.1 below, we pull together in short form the basic findings of the stakeholder survey. We find that

these responses fully confirm our analysis based on a synthesis of the available literature. In Table 6.1, the added value of the stakeholder survey is highlighted. For example, we conclude that it is important that the Pitcairn response is followed-up to consider sea level rise and access more fully. Furthermore, the preponderance for concern over storms and little interest in other climate change in the Wider Caribbean has been amply demonstrated and is a significant conclusion.

Implications for Development Projects

Environmental management projects

6.18 We have stressed that improved and integrated environmental management will be important in adapting to

climate change, for example in building dynamic and soft coastal defences and protecting hillsides from the impacts of severe storms. Targeted development activities are currently being undertaken in most of the selected UK OTs and other small islands. These include environmental management schemes (including one in Anguilla). More projects like this are going to be needed as climates change and they should be designed with plausible or likely climate changes in mind. Such projects will add value to development efforts in a time of changing climate.

Engineering and infrastructure projects

6.19 Relatively small engineering and infrastructure projects are common in the selected UK OTs, especially on

Anguilla, where rebuilding post Hurricane Lenny and improving air- and seaport facilities are priorities. Similarly, on the Turks and Caicos Islands, small building projects predominate for the education and health sectors. While ongoing

projects will not be impacted significantly by future climate change, their design parameters should be checked against the latest IPCC projections especially for up to 20% greater maximum wind speeds in storms. All future engineering projects will have to incorporate up-dated engineering design parameters 12 .

Waste management schemes

6.20 There are several waste management schemes being undertaken in the Caribbean, including two on Montserrat.

Several of these schemes are concerned primarily with solid wastes but even these and especially those concerned primarily with liquid wastes or island-wide waste management will need to take into account impacts of climate changes

we have discussed. These are primarily rainfall variations, leading to likely increases in frequency and severity of

10 for example: reefs, mangroves, sea grasses and beaches

11 especially the interaction between the additional long term impacts of ‘slow burning’ changes, such as sea level rise and rising water tables, on top of more obvious and acute changes to storm characteristics 12 These are based on extremal statistics and generated by consulting engineers from meteorological and hydrological data.


droughts and floods; and increased risk of pollution from waste management schemes, affecting critical onshore and coastal natural resources.

Coastal and marine resources management schemes

6.21 We are aware of more than a dozen recently completed or ongoing coastal and marine resources management

schemes in the Caribbean, some regional and some island-based, including one in Anguilla and one on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Most of these schemes are emphasising the importance of key coastal resources (such as coral reef systems) to the island communities and several include public awareness as crucial dissemination outputs. The results of our synthesis indicate that climate change will have direct and indirect impacts during the lifetime of these schemes and should inform the management thereof, to ensure that they can form a part of the islands’ responses to the threats of near- future climate change and guide the building of appropriate adaptations to very long term (and unstoppable) changes in sea level.


Threats To:

Key Sectors

Local Capacity

Knowledge Gaps



Vulnerable eco- systems, biodiversity. More acute disaster (floods, storms )

Tourism, Fisheries, Health, Water Supply

Local governments un-informed. Lack of capacity in local government


OTs need links to UNFCCC. Training for decision- makers



Tourism, Finance,

Little awareness, no relevant ministry. Poor disaster preparedness.

What are links between storms and climate change?

Education and public awareness campaigns


Agriculture, Fisheries

beaches, water





A little concern about storms and drought

Tourism. Agriculture

Min. of Ag. has little capacity


Climate change not an issue

Turks and

Storms are main concern. Beaches, marine env., reefs


No adaptive strategies in place. Government unaware of impacts

No environmental

Public awareness




campaigns needed


Little information



for government

Inventory needed


Storm frequency and sea level rise affecting reefs, mangroves

Tourism, Agriculture,

Limited local

Research now

Regional initiatives




needed on

need building



St Helena

Lack of rainfall, sea level, sea temperature. Threats to water supply, health, rare species, fish stocks

Water Supply,

No public concern. Low government priority since no local knowledge.

No information on climate change and impacts

Regional climate models. Stronger gov. institutions and raise public awareness (as e.g. the millennium forest project)

Health, Fisheries,

Agriculture, Port



Tristan da

Sea temperature,

Fisheries . Water Supply

Little awareness or local capacity for adaptation

No information - training, technical support, education needed

Need to understand effects on fishing


rainfall variations.

Water shortages



Lower rainfall

Agriculture, rain limited development viability of island population

Climate change not a concern

No local awareness

After follow-up, some concern over both heavy rain and possible droughts and of access


water shortages


Table 6.1: Summary of climate change threats and needs, based on a combination of literature review, analysis of recent and on-going research, synthesis of livelihoods elements and responses to a stakeholder survey. Emboldening denotes the particular added-value derived from the stakeholder survey.

Land resources management projects

6.22 There are seven watershed and land resources management projects ongoing in the UK OTs, including five in

Montserrat. These involve resource inventory and forest management as well as attempts to improve the reliability and effectiveness of island-scale water supply. As we have seen, local perception on Montserrat is that climate change is not a problem. We have shown that it will be (and soon). Changes in the intensity of tropical storms, increased rainfall variability and more droughts will have direct and probably negative impact on island forest resources and on water supply. Notwithstanding its recent past, Montserrat is a good example of an island in possible future crisis. We suggest a re-assessment of the design criteria of this type of programme to take into account the latest IPCC climate change


projections, in order to ensure that there are not likely to be any early negative impacts on them of increasingly severe storms, enhanced seasonal rainfall variations and expected sea level rises.

Disaster management projects

6.23 We have confirmed that acute disasters are of the highest priority to governments in the Wider Caribbean. We

are aware of more than a dozen current projects concerning managing disasters in the wider Caribbean. Several UK- funded projects are based in Montserrat, with one on Dominica. Several projects are regionally-based. Clearly, efforts to

improve regional co-operation in disaster preparedness and management are needed and the current needs of Montserrat are clear to all. But, our synthesis and survey show that apart from a lack of regional climate modelling, key knowledge gaps are currently in local populations and island governments. These decision-makers are un-informed about likely

climate changes and impacts and global and regional initiatives are not yet adding enough value at island and local scales. UK OT and other small island decision-makers are not able, therefore, to factor climate changes into their planning and to start now developing appropriate and sustainable adaptation strategies. Local communities and island governments need support from the international community, directly, through down-scaled regional initiatives and through local NGOs. Specifically we find that:

Pitcairn needs to know whether significant climate changes will affect it at all in coming decades

St Helena needs to know more about what climate changes to expect and how these might impact its water supply

Tristan da Cunha and St Helena need more information about impacts on the fisheries on which they depend

Turks and Caicos and Anguilla (and many other islands) need to know more about indirect climate impacts on tourism

All the Caribbean UK OTs need better information about projected future storm climates, especially in view 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.



Global warming and associated changes are already happening and the risks to island communities will increase.

Temperatures could climb by up to 6 0 C by 2100 and sea levels could be nearly one metre higher. Increasingly severe storms are likely in some regions. The climate changes will have significant impacts on livelihoods and societies in the UK OTs and other small island states. 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 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.

6.25 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 many small island communities and to other developing countries, where flood, drought, agriculture, fisheries and tourism dominate societies. Following our synthesis and in view of local

responses to the climate change threat we received, our ten 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.



6.26 Small-island developing economies are resource dependent and livelihoods have adapted to cope with the

variability and extremes of the present day climate system. Climate change should be of immediate concern to the UK Overseas Territories and will increase in importance over coming decades. Climate change will bring changes that will affect the environmental services on which the UK OT societies depend and so exacerbate current vulnerability. More severe extreme events, particularly droughts and more intense storms will lead to damage to the natural, physical, human and social capital of the communities. Thus, the priority for the long-term survival and sustainability of human populations is to strengthen the basis and diversity of livelihoods in the UK OTs, through effective information dissemination, by informing and strengthening government decision-making and by encouraging and facilitating community leadership in developing adaptation strategies and management plans. Current activities in the UK OTs and other small island states will be only slightly affected by future climate change but changes over the next decades will have profound impacts on UK OT societies. In view of this and the current lack of local information and understanding, effective use of funds will require more focus on community and government level information dissemination, training and adaptation planning, feeding up to inform regional initiatives.



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Acronyms List


British Virgin Islands


UN Council for Cultural Co-operation


Caribbean Planning and Adaptation to global Climate Change


Caribbean Sustainable Development


UK Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions


UK Department for International Development


UK Department of Trade and Industry


UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean


El Niño Southern Oscillation