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IDB Proposes Climate Change Risk Assessment Methodology for Caribbean Projects

IDBApril 2014: The Inter-American Development Bank's (IDB) Environmental Safeguards Unit (ESG) has released a technical note proposing a step-wise approach to assessing climate change risks to IDB projects in the Caribbean and identifying tools and methodologies that can be used by anyone assessing climate change risks specific to the region.

The first step of the assessment process involves screening potential projects for vulnerability to climate hazards based on their type and location/exposure. This step involves answering a series of screening questions, a process the Bank suggests can be assisted by several existing online tools, such as the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre's (CCCCC) Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL), the World Bank's Climate Change Knowledge Portal (CCKP), or the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean's (ECLAC) database on climate change impacts on the LAC coastline.

If a high risk level is identified for one or more of the filter questions, the project proponent must move to the second step, defining the parameters of a more detailed climate risk assessment. The report details numerous sources and tools for climate data for the Caribbean that cover temperature and precipitation changes, sea level rise, and incidence of hurricanes and tropical storms.

The third step involves choosing to conduct a basic or detailed risk assessment following general guidance and ranking criteria. The note discusses climate sensitivities to take into account in basic assessments involving eight project types, namely agriculture, tourism, oil and gas, transportation, hydropower, water and sewer, and manufacturing and other infrastructure. For detailed assessments, the note discusses the different factors to take into account and many tools that can be used for conducting its two components, the hazard assessment and a consequence assessment.

The note concludes by noting that workable guidelines for "climate-proofing" IDB-supported projects for different sectors cannot be established at this time, but they are expected to evolve as risk assessments are undertaken using the proposed framework. It also suggests a series of next steps, including internal Bank capacity building on climate change risk assessment of project proposals, and conducting pilot projects to refine the approach proposed. [Climate Change Data and Risk Assessment Methodologies for the Caribbean]