Caribbean countries are not major contributors of greenhouse gases but are on the forefront of the impacts of Climate Change. This is expected to be exacerbated by sea level rise and increases in hydro-meteorological events such as storm surges and hurricanes.
This impacts the wellbeing of populations of the Caribbean, as the majority of people, approximately 70 percent, live in coastal cities and informal settlements, and most major infrastructure is also located along the coastal zone. Although some capital cities have well-planned areas with sturdy structures, the sprawled communities on the outskirts of the city and those in proximity to the coastline often have non-resilient buildings, informal and haphazard development and are located in highly vulnerable areas putting them at high risk.
Sound urban planning and management is hampered by an uncoordinated approach to strategic decision-making, limited stakeholder engagement, ineffective resource allocation and policies that are ill-equipped to support innovation. There is a need to strengthen planning and management and more aggressively encourage successful uptake of innovations on technology(ies) to reduce vulnerabilities and enhance resilience in coastal communities. Developing the capacity therefore to identify vulnerabilities, anticipate climate change influences, plan and implement innovative mitigation and adaptation measures is key to this programme.
The programme ‘’Harnessing Innovative Technologies to Support Resilient Settlements on the Coastal Zones of the Caribbean”, which began in January 2021, aims to address these challenges by, inter alia, competitively awarding grants for the development of innovative projects and stimulating the development of regional and national systems of innovation. This programme is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund, OACPS Research and Innovation Programme. A programme implemented by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, with the financial contribution of the European Union. It is supported for four years at an overall amount of 4.93 million euro. It is managed by The University of the West Indies through the Saint Augustine Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (STACIE), in partnership with Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS) and the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
Entities from the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) who meet European Union criteria are eligible for grants. These criteria will be provided in the Call for Proposal documents. Pilot project are expected to begin in June 2021 and an Open Call for Proposals is expected by June 2022.