Understanding the Situation

In 2017, the unprecedented devastation in the Caribbean wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria highlighted the vulnerability of the region to the impact of climate change. While emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the Caribbean region are negligible, the projected impacts of global climate change (GCC) will be detrimental according to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. GCC may lead to regional climate change and rise of sea level that may threaten the existence of several Caribbean countries, especially small islands and countries with low lying coasts. This region will therefore be disproportionately affected by CC and some changes in the climate are already apparent such as the rise in temperature. Caribbean countries may be especially vulnerable to the consequences of GCC, due to e.g. lacking services and infrastructure. CC will impact the Caribbean region in many ways due to the projected extreme weather patterns: extended dry periods and drought, increased unseasonal rainfall and floods, increased intensity of hydro-meteorological events, sea level raise, heat waves and extreme atmospheric temperatures.

The health of communities is inextricably linked to the health of the environment. Climate change is recognized as one of the greatest global threats to human health and the environment (WHO, 2016). According to the leading international body for the assessment of CC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), CC is projected to increase threats to human health, particularly in lower income populations, predominantly within tropical/subtropical countries. Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) are not able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond to the impacts of climate change on health and their economy (WHO, 2016). Climate change can affect health directly and indirectly. Some of these impacts are summarised in the graphic below from the US CDC (www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm).

In recognition of this situation, CARPHA in 2017 convened an Expert Panel on Climate Change and Health. The Panel has developed “Climate Roadmap Strategic Imperatives”. The Roadmap identifies the following strategies:

  • Raise awareness of Climate Change and health through information dissemination, communication and education

  • Strengthen community-and technology-enabled resilience to address the cumulative threat of climate change and severe weather events

  • Bolster and integrate multi sectoral data and evidence for decision making

  • Enhance regional sustainability and resilience of health facilities

  • Maximize the benefits of the built environment and Climate Change resilience

Where will your money go:

Funds donated to the CARPHA Foundation, will assist in the implementation of the Roadmap.