finding 20.6 : key-message-20-6

Shared knowledge, collaborative research and monitoring, and sustainable institutional adaptive capacity can help support and speed up disaster recovery, reduce loss of life, enhance food security, and improve economic opportunity in the U.S. Caribbean. Increased regional cooperation and stronger partnerships in the Caribbean can expand the region’s collective ability to achieve effective actions that build climate change resilience, reduce vulnerability to extreme events, and assist in recovery efforts (very likely, high confidence)

This finding is from chapter 20 of Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II.

Process for developing key messages:

The majority of our Key Messages were developed over the course of two separate author meetings. The first occurred March 9–10, 2017, and the second on May 3, 2017. Both meetings were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico; however, people were also able to join remotely from Washington, DC, Raleigh, North Carolina, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). In addition, the author team held weekly conference calls and organized separate Key Message calls and meetings to review and draft information that was integral to our chapter. To develop the Key Messages, the team also deliberated with outside experts who are acknowledged as our technical contributors.

Description of evidence base:

Cross-regional and international cooperation is a mechanism that will likely reduce climate vulnerability and risks in the U.S. Caribbean, because it builds capacity and leverages resources in a region that has low adaptive capacity, due in part to the high costs of mitigation and adaptation relative to gross domestic product.63e4948c-5b46-4deb-a37b-9f363a1a8316,69d2444f-ce49-4b08-8cb4-3eb33fbef6ff,8402476f-b5d9-4313-938a-9d5993a66eaf There are several efforts among the islands focused on coordination, information exchange, and approaches for risk assessment and management in the Caribbean region.899cb14e-1714-48fe-b7ac-bda0a57ff0ba,fe7795e1-ecba-43eb-a69a-6e1217526a2c,9045aae3-0996-4ab7-b956-24e85699b602,8402476f-b5d9-4313-938a-9d5993a66eaf There are emerging opportunities for improving these partnerships and capacity across the region.

New information and remaining uncertainties:

There is high certainty that Caribbean island states are being affected by climate change, but the rate and degree of effects vary across countries due to the differences in environmental and socioeconomic conditions. Examples of regional cooperation efforts to share knowledge, conduct collaborative research, and develop joint projects have increased the adaptive capacity in the region; however, sustaining such efforts across the region remains a challenge. As efforts for regional coordination, cooperation, and information exchange evolve, evidence of the benefits of collaboration can be better assessed.

Assessment of confidence based on evidence:

There is high confidence that climate change will likely result in serious water supply shortages and in increased risks for agriculture production, human health, wildlife, and the socioeconomic development of Puerto Rico, the USVI, and the wider Caribbean region. The effects of climate change in the Caribbean region are likely to increase threats to life and infrastructure from sea level rise and extreme events; reduce the availability of fresh water, particularly during the dry season; negatively affect coral reef ecosystems; and cause health problems due to high temperatures and an increase in diseases.

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