Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Natural disasters in the Caribbean region have become increasingly intense in the face of climate change. The World Bank engagement in the Caribbean has achieved these results:

  • The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan has allowed payouts to several Caribbean countries after Hurricanes Dorian, Irma and Maria. The Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture SusTainability Facility (COAST), is an innovative parametric insurance product developed under CCRIF specifically for fisherfolk in the Caribbean.
  • A financial package of more than US$100 million was provided for Dominica, including through the IDA crisis response window after Hurricane Irma in 2017.  In addition, a contingent line of credit prepared for the Dominican Republic was approved in 2017, and then disbursed to support COVID-19 response this year.
  • There are projects to support climate resilience and enhance disaster preparedness and emergency response on the islands of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The focus is on making infrastructure more adaptable to extreme weather events and natural disasters and improving government capacity to handle disaster risks.

The Blue Economy

Harnessing marine resources while preserving the Caribbean Sea can help countries address key challenges such as high unemployment, low growth, food security, poverty, and resilience to climate change.

The World Bank report “Toward a Blue Economy: A Promise for Sustainable Growth in the Caribbean” estimates that the Caribbean Sea (including mainland Caribbean coastal countries) generated US$407 billion in 2012.

Ongoing World Bank support to building environment and natural resource resilience in the Caribbean includes:

  • Banning of single-use plastics and/or Styrofoam containers across the OECS;
  • creating an insurance mechanism to include the fisheries sector in Grenada and Saint Lucia;
  • Building sustainable agriculture practices and competitiveness in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and the OECS;
  • Expanding marine protected areas in Belize and strengthening protection and climate resilience of the Belize Barrier Reef;

Macroeconomic and Fiscal Sustainability

The World Bank Group is working with Caribbean governments and regional partners to help Caribbean countries better manage public spending and reduce their debts to sustainable levels, while protecting poor and vulnerable populations.

  • The World Bank provided Development Policy Financing to Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dominican Republic to support reforms to improve the investment climate and help create fiscal space. Additional financing for fiscal resilience , with a contingent credit line for disasters, will be approved for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in June 2020.
  • World Bank is supporting Jamaica’s ambitious reforms to strengthen fiscal sustainability and inclusion, enhance fiscal and financial resilience against climate and natural disaster risks,
  • A contingent credit line, known as a Cat-DDO, was approved in 2017 for the Dominican Republic to be disbursed during a national emergency. These funds were disbursed  in March 2020 to help the country face the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In Grenada, a series of budget support operations helped private investment, improved public resource management and boosted resilience against natural disasters.


The WBG has worked with regional partners to help Caribbean countries facilitate the private sector and trade reforms, while supporting jobs and protecting poor and vulnerable populations.

  • The World Bank Group is helping improve Jamaica’s competitiveness by facilitating the growth of new and existing businesses. This includes technical assistance for public-private partnerships, ranging from airports to ports, economic zones, water generation, wastewater and sewage, schools, and renewable energy.
  • The World Bank Group is mobilizing private capital for strategic investments and seeking to more fully integrate Jamaica’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into global value chains.
  • The World Bank Group is supporting diversification of the region’s power sector by increasing the production of renewables and other clean energy sources. In the Eastern Caribbean, this involves the use of commercial-scale solar photovoltaic systems on rooftops in Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • The Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), with support from the government of Canada, has provided tailored business development support and training to more than 2,100 entrepreneurs across sectors, including in digital and climate technologies. It has also facilitated more than US$4 million in investments raised by Caribbean entrepreneurs.
  • In Jamaica, the Youth Employment in Digital & Animation Industries Project  is building on successful pilots in the Digital Jam and KingstOOn events, with more than 4,000 young Jamaicans engaged in digital enterprises, supporting the growth of the Jamaican animation training and industry..

Inclusion and opportunities for all

Quality education, affordable health care, and equitable social safety nets are key ingredients in building inclusive societies. In the Caribbean, several countries have launched innovative efforts to provide the most vulnerable, including children, with the knowledge, skills, and health they need to excel.

  • Jamaica’s comprehensive National Strategic Plan for early childhood development is the first of its kind in the region. Jamaica is one of the few countries in the region that guarantees free pre-primary education and has the highest proportion of children enrolled in preschool. The World Bank Group supports the scaling-up of early childhood development services to help improve parenting, care, and school readiness for children from birth to six years of age, and to provide diagnosis and early stimulation for children at risk.
  • To help improve student learning in pre-university education, the WBG’s Support to the National Education Pact project in the Dominican Republic has a competitive selection system to raise the academic standards of new teachers and improve the quality of education. The results of diagnostic learning assessments of all third-grade students have been shared with schools and the Ministry of Education to help them improve planning, adjust teacher training, and support decision-making.
  • In Guyana, the World Bank has provided long-standing support in the area of education spanning from early childhood to primary and secondary education, all the way to the University of Guyana. Curricula reform and research programs have included significant contributions from the main indigenous groups.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020


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