Carib - Climate Risks Negatively Impacts Economic Tourism Engine for St. Kitts and Nevis
New Report from Stimson Center, Taiwan ICDF, and Taiwan Ocean Affairs Council Finds Pressing Climate Risks on Key City of Basseterre. Stimson’s CORVI findings will help Basseterre prioritize investments in protecting the city and island nation from climate change
WASHINGTON, DC – Travel and tourism—the primary industry and employer in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis and its surrounding area—is at high risk from climate change, according to a new assessment from the Stimson Center.
Working with the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Environment and Climate Action, Taiwan ICDF and the Taiwan Ocean Affairs Council and experts throughout the community, the Stimson Center conducted an in-depth study to identify and address the most pressing climate dangers faced by the city and island nation, and it outlines specific steps and opportunities that can be taken to mitigate these risks.
Working in partnership, the four organizations collected data on the extent of climate and ocean risks in Basseterre and its surrounding area, including increased heat events, loss of mangroves, poor fisheries management, and more intense hurricanes.
To prioritize local action, almost 70 local experts were surveyed to utilize their knowledge to help generate recommendations to strengthen climate resilience given Basseterre’s social, economic, and ecological characteristics.
These recommendations, together with key findings from the report, were released at COP27 at the St. Kitts and Nevis Pavilion.
“Island states are least responsible for but most impacted by climate change, particularly across cities whose economies rely on tourism as their main lifeline,” said Sally Yozell, Senior Fellow, Director of the Stimson Center’s Environmental Security Program, and project lead for CORVI.
“In Basseterre, the lives and livelihoods of city residents, the capital government, and local businesses who sit at the water’s edge are being threatened by more intense weather events— which can cause dual threats of flooding from the mountains and dangerous storm surges from the ocean during a tropical storm or hurricane.”
“This is further exacerbated by its aging infrastructure,” Yozell continued. “At the same time, unplanned development paired with coastal erosion and the loss of corals, sea grasses, and mangrove coverage are reducing the natural buffers to these storms.”
The CORVI assessment has identified some of the most serious risks while outlining reasonable actions to help mitigate those risks in the Basseterre area.
“Part of what makes CORVI unique is that it works closely with experts in the community to understand the local climate issues which demand on the ground solutions.” Yozell added.
“As a Small Island Developing State, it is critically important that the strategies required to respond to the impacts of climate change in St. Kitts and Nevis be done through an integrated and comprehensive approach,” said Sharon Rattan, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action.