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This article was originally published on Inter-American Development Bank.


“There is a growing awareness of the benefits and value of Caribbean coastal environments and marine biodiversity (coastal capital). For example, coral reefs alone provide an annual net economic value between US$3.1-4.6 billion from fisheries, dive tourism and shoreline protection. Nonetheless the region faces challenges related to the sustainable use of its natural resources, including trends such as record breaking coral bleaching and a decline of marine animals. Recent research indicates that sea level rise is a bigger threat than previously thought. As a result, coastal systems and low-lying areas will increasingly experience adverse impacts such as submergence, flooding, and erosion. The projected population and assets exposed to coastal risks, as well as human pressures on coastal ecosystems, will increase in the coming decades due to population growth, economic development, and urbanization. The UN climate report confirmed that the ocean is bearing the brunt of human-induced changes to our planet. These trends impact the millions of people whose survival depends on coastal capital.

The relative cost of coastal adaptation varies strongly among and within regions and countries. Low-lying developing countries and small-island developing states are expected to face very high impacts that, in some cases, could equal several percentage points of GDP. As we watch many of our neighboring nations attempt recovery from yet another devastating hurricane season, there is an urgent need to consider the most effective mechanisms to steer Caribbean economic, social and ecosystem structures towards resilience and sustainability…”

Read on at: Inter-American Development Bank.