14 February 2019

Stormclouds and Solutions: Anticipating and Preparing for Climate Change and Security Risks in the Caribbean

The Planetary Security Initiative proudly presents another highly relevant policy brief. Co-authored by Shiloh Fetzek and Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton (Ret.) this brief concerns the Caribbean, a region highly exposed to a wide range of climate change impacts including more frequent or intense tropical storms, changing precipitation patterns (more intense rainfalls and drought), sea level rise and ocean acidifcation. The region also has a 400-year history of coping with illicit maritime smuggling and challenges to the rule of law, and serious organized crime activities including gangs and cartels continue to challenge states’ authority and create security threats in some Caribbean states and territories.

A region long-tested by both extreme weather events and illicit economic activity, the Caribbean has developed abundant expertise in climate science and disaster resilience. It also has many underlying governance and security challenges which may amplify each other as climate impacts intensify. Key regional security risks exacerbated by climate change include:

     1. economic contraction, violence and criminal activity;

     2. disaster impacts and political repercussions;

     3. food and water insecurity, damage to livelihoods and social unrest; and

     4. Central and South American security deterioration impacting on the Caribbean.

Anticipating and addressing these challenges by integrating security cooperation and climate resilience initiatives could support existing risk management structures and advance long-term economic and socio-political stability in the Caribbean