The Caribbean fascinates with white sand beaches, deep-blue waters and a colourful underwater world. But the project region of the Resilient Caribbean Communities also impresses above the ocean surface with its lush biodiverse tropical forests. That is why OroVerde and six partner organizations are developing innovative solutions to strengthen the climate resilience of local communities through the implementation of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA).
The Caribbean is renowned for its breath-taking ecological treasures. However, these are increasingly under threat by the climate crisis. The inhabitants of the small island states are suffering under the consequences of climate change, too: crop failures due to longer dry seasons and more frequent heatwaves, water shortages, and the hazards of extreme rainfalls and tropical storms, which are increasing in frequency as well as intensity.
Therefore, OroVerde, Welthungerhilfe and local partner organizations in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are joining forces to design Ecosystem-based Solutions and Adaptation to confront climate change. The key approach lies in supporting the local inhabitants in strategically strengthening those ecosystems they themselves depend upon.
In these efforts, nature herself is our most powerful ally. She constantly delivers added value: For example, a more resistant coffee variety, shade trees and various types of fruit planted in the agroforestry system provide shade and an additional source of income for the coffee growers. Moat and pond networks improve rainwater retention and become reservoirs for the dry season. These Ecosystem-based Adaptation improve the resiliency of both the local communities and the island ecosystems to the challenges of climate change.
- Improved livelihoods for the rural population of the Biological Corridor (CBC).
- Strengthened resiliency and adaptation capacities of communities and ecosystems.
- Development of innovative Ecosystem-based Solutions and Adaptation (EbA).
- Empowering local organizations as actors against climate change.
- Integration of EbA and into the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) and National Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The importance of working together with nature becomes clear in the following video – using the example of Yulissa Alvarez at Centro Naturaleza, one of our local partner organizations in the Dominican Republic, and her fellow campaigners. They are working directly in the field to face the impacts of climate change, and literally put us in the picture: about the current situation in their project region, about their personal observations and experiences on climate and biodiversity changes, and about initial steps to implement ecosystem-based adaptation measures to cushion these.
The video was produced in autumn 2022 by Welthungerhilfe in cooperation with Centro Naturaleza and was presented at the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh for the first time – during a joint side-event under the title “Ecosystem-based adaptation in vulnerable rural communities – Experiences from Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic”. The whole panel can be found on Youtube.
Project Lead: Welthungerhilfe
Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany. It is politically independent and non-denominational. Welthungerhilfe is fighting hunger around the world and is focusing its work around the Sustainable Development Goal 2: “Zero Hunger by 2030”.
Cuba: Unidad Presupuestada de Servicios Ambientales (UPSA)
UPSA is the representative of the National Centre of Protected Areas (SNAP) in the province of Guantánamo, Cuba. It is in charge of the management and the scientific investigations of the Alexander-von Humboldt-National Park and other protected areas in the province.
Cuba: Centro Oriental de Ecosistemas y Biodiversidad (BIOECO)
The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation BIOECO in Santiago de Cuba works with its experts to protect the unique nature and biodiversity in Cuba. They promote sustainable cultural, economic and social development.
Dominican Republic: Centro Naturaleza
Centro Naturaleza is working for almost 30 years in the field of sustainable agriculture, watershed management, environmental education and sustainable development projects in the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic: Enda Dominicana
Since 1984 Enda Dominicana is working for better environmental and conservation protection in rural and urban communities.
Haiti: Concertation et Action pour le Développement (Concert-Action)
Since 1997 the organization is working together with small farmers in the field of food security, environmental protection and agroforestry. Concert-Action realizes water access projects in the north and northeast of Haiti since 2005.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is about long-term preservation of the ecosystem services required for human needs in spite of climate change. This includes cushioning the consequences of climate change (e.g. droughts, heat waves, but also heavier rainfall and more frequent flooding). Measures to maintain sustainable use and the restoration of ecosystems can thus help the local population to adapt to climate change. It is therefore a question of using biological diversity and ecosystem services to adapt to climate change. Such measures are usually much cheaper than "grey infrastructure" and often have further positive effects.
Here are a few examples:
- Mangrove forests protect coasts from storms and floods - and that is much cheaper than building dikes. In addition, the mangroves increase biological diversity and provide habitat for fish and shrimps, which in turn improve the nutrition and income of local people.
- Well-forested slopes can protect roads and other infrastructure from erosion and landslides.
- Agroforestry systems can protect soils and reduce the risk of crop failure by increasing the diversity of species. Preserving a greater diversity of species and different genes in natural and agroecosystems acts as a natural insurance in the process of adaptation to changing climatic conditions.
Fotography copyrights: OroVerde/A. Fincke (Header), Enda Dominicana/D. Contreras (1.slide), OroVerde/J. Horstmann (2.,3., 5. slide), Welthungerhilfe (4. slide)