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13-14 June 2011 CONFERENCE: Responding to Climate Change in the Caribbean

A conference organised jointly by London University’s Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA), London Metropolitan University’s Centre for Caribbean and Latin American Research and Consultancy (CLARC) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Date of conference: June 13th-14th 2011

Venue: TBA


The Caribbean is highly vulnerable to the effects of global warming, and is one of the regions likely to be most profoundly affected by the impacts of climate change both in the short and long-term. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, rising sea-levels, and damage to marine eco-systems already threaten Caribbean environments, human settlements and livelihoods. A host of initiatives has been launched by governments, NGOs, and the private sector over the past decade in the search for effective economic, social and technological responses, with varying effectiveness. And the nations of the Caribbean are increasingly active in international climate change negotiations.

But the region’s diversity socially, politically, economically, and geographically, represents a unique challenge both for regional policy responses to climate change, but also for international cooperation and governance. Equally, the Caribbean’s trading partners and investors face a range of challenges, and perhaps opportunities, in their future engagement with the region.

The conference will be staged half-way between the UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancún (December 2010) and COP17 in South Africa (December 2011), which will do much to shape the international political and financial framework within which the Caribbean will seek to adapt to the impacts of climate change and pursue low-carbon development strategies.


This policy-focused conference aims to bring together academic researchers, officials from Caribbean governments and international agencies, and representatives of the private sector and non-government organisations working in the field. It will assess progress to date, highlighting lessons learned: the problems and obstacles as well as successes.

By assessing the story to date, the conference will provide an opportunity for policy-makers, scientists, investors and educators to better understand the requirements for effective, forward-looking responses to climate change challenges in the years ahead.

A conference report will be made available on the web, with conference papers. Papers will also be submitted for publication in relevant journals and considered for publication in an edited book.

Draft conference programme

Day One

Panel 1. Impacts and vulnerability to climate change in the Caribbean.

Changing weather patterns in the Caribbean: observations and predictions

Environmental impact assessments across the region (temperature, sea level, rainfall, hurricanes)

Economic and social impact: today and tomorrow


Panel 2. Livelihoods: building resilience and adaptation (Technical panel)

Agriculture: food security and sustainable livelihoods

The vulnerability of small scale farming systems to climate hazards

Soil erosion and salination: damage and damage limitation

Initiatives in sustainable agriculture

Fisheries and marine livelihoods


Adaptation and mitigation in the Caribbean tourism sector

Industry support for adaption and low-carbon strategies

Threats to marine ecology and policy imperatives

New technologies for the Caribbean tourism industry

Panel 3. Round table. Economies and livelihoods: what can be done?

Evening reception

Day Two

Panel 4. Infrastructure and investment


Energy policy challenges: impact, vulnerability, adaptation

Sustainable energy technologies for the Caribbean

Cuban energy policy: reaching for a sustainable strategy

Transport and physical planning

Transport policy challenges: international and domestic transport systems

Aviation & shipping

Roads and urban transport

Urban planning


Panel 5. The politics and economics of climate change adaptation in the Caribbean

Developing a local policy response to developments in global climate policy

Challenges for negotiators from developments in global policy responses

Negotiating for climate justice: inside and outside the UNFCCC.

Policy challenges for island governments and their diplomats

Financial instruments

Cap and trade and carbon taxes: Caribbean dimensions

Insuring against climate risk

The European Emissions Trading Scheme

Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) initiative

Ecological debt and compensation

Panel 6. Round table. What can be done, who can do it, and who pays?

Project coordinating committee

Dr David Dodman, IIED. Co-editor, ‘Global Change and Caribbean Vulnerability’ (UWI Press) and ‘Adapting Cities to Climate Change’ (Earthscan).

Dr Kate Quinn, ISA. Committee member of the Society for Caribbean Studies. Co-convenor of the ISA/Institute for Commonwealth Studies Caribbean Seminar Series.

Professor Paul Sutton, CLARC. Professor of Caribbean Policy Studies.

Dr Nicholas Watts, London Metropolitan University. Specialist in environmental policy in the Caribbean, with a focus on fisheries livelihoods.

Dr Graham Woodgate, ISA. Co-author, ‘The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology’. (1997; 2nd Edn 2010); Member of ‘Strategic Monitoring of South American Regional Transformations’ (SMART) Network.

Others participating in the planning and organisation of the conference

Dr David Viner, British Council. Programme Leader, Climate Change.

David Jessop, Director, Caribbean Council for Europe.

Nicola Righini, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Climate Change and Energy Group.

Category/ies:Events, Regional Events.
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