Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is an archipelago nation located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with approximately 84,000 inhabitants. It consists of two principle islands, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as a number of smaller islands.Geographically, the islands are low-lying with the primary environmental influence being the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Climatic features include relatively high and uniform temperatures throughout the year and steady easterly trade winds. Both islands are among the driest in the eastern Caribbean. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the frequency of hurricane activity and impacts.
Tourism is a major sector in the country, comprising more than half of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with other major sectors including construction, transport, communications, and banking and financial services (ALM, 2009; USDS, 2011). The agriculture sector is also an important part of the country’s economy, with major crops including fish, cotton, livestock, vegetables and pineapples (USDS, 2011). Antigua and Barbuda’s marine and coastal environments are characterized by mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds; these ecosystems sustain the country’s sandy beaches and fishery resources, while also serving as protective barriers during tropical storms (Challenger, 2001).
The marine and coastal environment is particularly important to Antigua and Barbuda. Mangroves, coral reefs and sea-grass beds are among the principal eco-systems in the country’s coastal and marine areas. These eco-systems sustain Antigua & Barbuda’s sandy beaches and fisheries resources and serve as protective barriers against tropical storm and hurricane activity.
With a population of approximately 70,000 people and a small, open economy, Antigua and Barbuda constitutes one of the smallest and most vulnerable States in the world. Within the dominate economic sector of tourism, cruise tourism is an especially strong sub-sector, assuming an increasing share of the tourism market. At present, the tourism sector is estimated to constitute over 60% of GDP. Other principal economic sectors include construction, commercial activities, agriculture, transport and communications.
A. Adaptation Needs and Priorities
Antigua and Barbuda’s most vulnerable sectors are coastal zones, tourism, water, agriculture and human health (Challenger, 2001). The country’s National Communication, prepared in 2001, identifies the country’s adaptation needs and priorities.
B. National Level Policies and Strategic Documents
In 2001, Antigua and Barbuda submitted an Initial National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; it is presently in the process of completing its Second National Communication. 55 Additional policy related initiatives at the national level may be occurring as part of Antigua and Barbuda’s participation in regional initiatives. For example, through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and other regional forums, Antigua and Barbuda is collaborating with other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on adaptation policy at the regional level, including through the recently released Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change. In addition, Antigua and Barbuda recently participated in the regional project “Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change,” which sought to integrate climate change considerations into the national development policies and planning of Caribbean countries. This project is the most recent of a succession of regional projects dating back to 1997 that have addressed climate change adaptation in the region.
C. Current Adaptation Action
There do not appear to be any nationally focused adaptation projects currently taking place within Antigua and Barbuda. However, a moderate number of multi-country projects are ongoing and recently were completed in the country. For example, working with the Organization for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding a pan-Caribbean project focused on reducing vulnerability in coastal zones and the water sector by building regulatory frameworks for adaptation, as well as through capacity building and awareness raising efforts. In addition, the recently completed “Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change” (MACC) project worked with Caribbean countries to mainstream adaptation into policy frameworks. The Climate Change Risk Insurance Facility is cooperating with a number of organizations to assess the economic vulnerability of Caribbean countries to the effects of climate change in order to better prepare for its impacts. It is likely that projects under-represents the number of adaptation activities currently taking place within Antigua and Barbuda as several donors that are funding projects in the Caribbean do not specify which particular countries are benefitting from their projects.
Adaptation programming in Antigua and Barbuda is largely focused on building capacity within the governance sector, and predominately involves capacity building, research, policy building, and knowledge communication. Additional sectors in which adaptation action is currently occurring are coastal zone management, disaster risk management, tourism, agriculture, freshwater resources and gender.
D. Proposed Adaptation Action
Antigua and Barbuda’s Initial National Communication summarizes potential climate change adaptation actions that the country may take to address climate change in key areas. This list may be further refined and expanded through the country’s forthcoming Second National Communication.
The majority of adaptation action in Antigua and Barbuda appears to be occurring at the regional level. At present, the known adaptation projects occurring within the country are addressing its priorities in the areas of water, agriculture, tourism and coastal zones. Through the “CARIBSAVE Climate Change Risk Atlas” project, the country is also taking a gender-based perspective on the implications of climate change for tourism and livelihoods. A gap in implementation appears to exist within the priority sector of human health. The country’s forthcoming Second National Communication may offer a more complete picture of current adaptation action within the country and priority needs going forward.
Medeiros,Hove, Keller, Echeverría, Parry (2011) “Review of Current and Planned Adaptation Action: The Carribean.” Adaptation Partnership / International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Adaptation Learning Mechanism [ALM] (2009). Country Profile: Antigua and Barbuda. Retrieved from http://www.adaptationlearning.net/country-profiles/ag
Challenger, B. (ed.) (2001).Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda’s initial national communication on climate change. St. John’s: Ministry of Public Utilities, Housing, Aviation, Transport and International Transportation. Available online at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/antnc1.pdf
United States Department of State [USDS] (2011). Background Note: Antigua and Barbuda. Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2336.htm