Coastal cities in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at the forefront of the climate crisis. Yet data and information on climate-related risks remains scarce. The Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI) fills this need, by developing an innovative and holistic risk profile for a coastal city. At a time when climate ambition is growing and as nations seek to dramatically increase climate adaptation finance, this information can be used to prioritize investment, build resilience, and take action where it matters most.
Basseterre faces a diverse range of climate-related risks, which when combined with additional economic and social stressors, can undermine the security of the city, its people, and businesses. Climate impacts including sea level rise, coastal erosion, and the growing frequency and intensity of tropical storms threaten economic sectors such as tourism and manufacturing, key infrastructure including the seaport, and St. Kitts’ freshwater supply.
Like many SIDS, the ocean is integral to the livelihood and wellbeing of St. Kitts and Nevis. Ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds support the blue economy of the island nation, including the capitol city Basseterre. Coral reefs are an important tourist attraction, and ecosystems support the fishing sector on both islands. However, ocean acidification and extreme weather events threaten these ecosystems, negatively impacting the tourism industry and contributing to coastal erosion. This risk is compounded by human stressors, including poor waste management and agricultural runoff. Finally, urbanization along ghauts (deep, narrow gullies) exacerbates the risk of flooding throughout the city.
During the project, the Stimson Center will work with the governments of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Taiwan to implement CORVI in Basseterre. A decision support tool developed by the Stimson Center, CORVI will integrate economic, social, and environmental risk information across the land and seascape, to produce a holistic assessment to determine how resilient Basseterre is to climate and ocean risks. Armed with this information, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and international funders will be able to allocate their resources wisely, make climate smart adaptation and resilience decisions, and advocate for additional climate investment. CORVI data and information can also assist governments as they take action to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and incorporate nature-based solutions into their nationally determined contributions (NDC) to meet adaptation and mitigation targets.
This new assessment will complement CORVI projects underway in seven additional coastal cities. In addition to completed CORVI projects in the Caribbean (Castries, Saint Lucia and Kingston, Jamaica), Stimson is working with a wide range of partners to implement CORVI in five additional cities around the world.
The CORVI project in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis is supported by the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF).