Barbados' Second National Communication - In Progress


The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities.The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

The anticipated impacts of climate change in Barbados include coastal inundation and sea level rise, an increase in tidal and storm surge levels, coastal erosion, rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and more frequent and severe weather events including drought and tropical storms. These impacts would have a largely negative impact on the country’s tourism sector, freshwater supply, coastal infrastructure, coral reefs and fisheries. 

To view progress on Barbados' SNC click here.

Project Details

Barbados is the most easterly island of the Antilles, bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, with a population of approximately 282,000 people (USDS, 2011). Its terrain is mostly flat but with a hilly interior. The island’s climate is tropical, with annual average temperatures of around 27°C (USDS, 2011). The country’s wet season lasts from June to November, while the dry season lasts from December to May (Wellington and Moore, 2001). In recent years there has been a change in the frequency of rainfall, with an increase the length of dry spells; this change has impacted agricultural production and water supplies (Wellington and Moore, 2001). As the island has no major rivers or surface streams, underground streams are the nation’s main source of water (Wellington and Moore, 2001).

The tourism, sugar, manufacturing, and finance and business sectors are Barbados’ main sources of foreign exchange (Wellington and Moore, 2001). Although sugar production was formerly a considerable contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, economic diversification along with dramatic declines in soil fertility and drought in recent decades have diminished this crop’s importance to the national economy (Wellington and Moore, 2001). The majority of the workforce is employed by the following activities: tourism,government, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture and fishing (USDS, 2011). Barbados’ unemployment rate is 10 per cent, per capita income is approximately US$19,000 per year, and the island has a very high adult literacy rate at 99 per cent (USDS, 2011).

Of the numerous impacts of climate change expected, increases in atmospheric temperature, sea level rise (and its attendant impacts of erosion, inundation and saline intrusion), and changes in weather patterns (notably changes in the amount, and seasonality of rainfall, and changes in storm intensity), are expected to pose significant problems to Barbados.During the wet months, most of the rainfall is derived from tropical waves moving across the Atlantic Ocean, along with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (I.T.C.Z.), which shifts northwards on occasions, especially during the passage of tropical waves. Although during the dry season, upper level troughs and lows and, to a much lesser extent, the tail end of cold fronts which survive after moving off the eastern seaboard of the United States of America, can contribute to the rainfall totals.Numerous adaptation measures and options have been proposed in Barbados: coastal adaptation options, water resource adaptation options, and adaptation options with regards to agriculture - including research on future climatic conditions and the selection of appropriate varieties of crops for cultivation.

Adaptation Needs and Priorities

The anticipated impacts of climate change in the country include coastal inundation and sea level rise, an increase in tidal and storm surge levels, coastal erosion, rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, and more frequent and severe weather events including drought and tropical storms (Wellington and Moore, 2001). These impacts would have a largely negative impact on the country’s tourism sector, freshwater supply, coastal infrastructure, coral reefs and fisheries. 

National Level Policies and Strategic Documents

The island of Barbados submitted its First National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and participates in regional intergovernmental collaboration to address climate change. The government was also the first Caribbean country to create a special body charged with coastal zone management, the Coastal Zone Management Unit.63 In addition, a National Adaptation Strategy to Address Climate Change in the Tourism Sector in Barbados was developed by the Barbados Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies in 2009, and published by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCC). The degree to which this policy has been by the government of Barbados is unclear.

Current Adaptation Action

Barbados is currently participating in a high number of adaptation actions. In addition to its involvement in a number of regional projects, Barbados is one of a few Caribbean countries that also is benefitting from nationally-focused adaptation activities. Nationally-focused projects are being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and are focused on coastal zone management, disaster risk management and institutional strengthening.

Regional project activities in Barbados include an United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project that focuses on vulnerability assessment and capacity building to address climate change in coastal zones and the water sector; the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) funded “Economics of Climate Adaptation Initiative;” and the recently completed Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project focused on mainstreaming climate considerations into development planning and programming. The government of Switzerland is also funding a project in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago that focuses on research, vulnerability assessment, and policy formation in the freshwater sector. The inter-regional World Health Organization (WHO)-funded “Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health” project also includes a component in Barbados.

Collectively, the current adaptation projects in Barbados address a number of vulnerable sectors, with a stronger focus on disaster risk management and governance capacity. Most projects involve capacity building, assessment and research activities; few expect to implement adaptation actions on the ground. The projects listed in Table 3 are likely to underrepresent the scope of adaptation work in Barbados. It is possible that the government is engaged in efforts not captured in the table, as some donor funded regional project activities are ongoing that do not specify in which Caribbean countries they are working.

Proposed Adaptation Action

In addition to possible actions proposed by the Government of Barbados through its forthcoming Second National Communication, Barbados is a possible recipient of funding through an inter-regional project proposed to the Special Climate Change Fund, as described below.


Compared to other Caribbean states, there is a considerable amount of ongoing adaptation action in Barbados at the national, regional, and international levels. A number of adaptation projects are occurring in Barbados, and the country appears to be addressing its priority climate change areas of concern. In addition to preparing a National Communication to the UNFCCC, the country has established a Coastal Zone Unit within the government to engage in coastal zone management activities that may assist in reducing its vulnerability to climate change impacts, including changes to infrastructure. The country is also collaborating in intergovernmental initiatives on adaptation to climate change.

Current adaptation projects appear to be addressing the country’s main adaptation priorities, including improving governance capacity, the freshwater sector, agriculture, coastal zone management, and disaster risk reduction. Other areas in which adaptation action is occurring include human health, gender, tourism and strengthening climate information services. Future efforts may address other vulnerabilities, including impacts on fisheries and the built environment, including changes to the building code.


A number of priorities have been identified as critical activities for the SNC which should be addressed. In terms of vulnerability the tourism sector was highlighted as a sector which needs comprehensive studies. With regards to the coastal sector it was noted from the stocktaking process that there is a need for a more detailed and comprehensive analysis as it relates to coastal vulnerability, with a more comprehensive analysis of the problem of sea level rise. In terms of the susceptibility of the water supply to climate change it was noted through the stock taking process that there is a need to revisit the issue of water and climate change with greater detail in the analysis along with an examination of the vulnerability of the water mains and treatment process to climate change. The impact of climate change in private supply wells needs also to be examined.

Agricultural vulnerability to climate change was also highlighted as key area for further study. There needs to be more information which is given to farmers as they may not be aware of climate change issues. The health sector was also highlighted as an extremely vulnerable sector to climate change and that there is a need to involve the health sector more closely in climate change studies as it relates.

Social impacts assessments have also been noted as a priority for the second national communication, especially as it relates to the number of people at risk from storm surge and sea level rise, as well as the social impacts related to a change in the water supply due to a changing climate. With regards to disaster management and susceptibility to extreme events, it was noted that the information being generated from the pilot projects in the Caribbean Disaster Management Project , implemented by CDERA, should be included in the second national communications along with outputs from the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative.

In terms of the greenhouse gas inventory, there is a need to review the methane statistics, with the examination of all the landfill deposit sites. It was recommended from the stocktaking process that a trend analysis for the inventory is done with the inventory utilizing the base year 2000, as well as 2002 and 2004. An abatement analysis should also be conducted.

With regards to capacity building it was highlighted from the stocktaking process that there is a need to improve data collection and analysis and to build capacity for vulnerability analysis. Adaptation was highlighted as key in terms of documented traditional practices for adaptation as well as identifying suitable adaptation options for Barbados as it relates to a changing climate. Public education and awareness was highlighted as key, and it was noted that there may be a need to incorporate climate change information into the school syllabus.

It was noted that the implementation of the second national communications should occur taking into account other initiatives which are occurring in the environment field within the Environment Division of the Ministry of Energy and Environment, and in other departments. The Environment Division of the Ministry of Energy and Environment is the focal point with regards to the Desertification Convention and the Biodiversity Convention. The Environment Division is also responsible for implementing the National Capacity Self Assessment project. Other initiatives which are occurring in other government departments in which should be considered include the Caribbean Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) and the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative, which being implemented by CDERA and UNDP respectively through the Central Emergency Relief Organization.

Linkages with other regional projects such as the Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) and the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP) should also been exploited. Technical and financial resources will also be exploited with regards to the CCCCC, so that all issues are effectively incorporated in to the SNC process

With Ministry of Energy and Environment being the focal point for many environmental conventions issues with regards to sustainable and climate change will be incorporated into the second national communications process. There will thus be information sharing and exchange through the various committees within the ministry which are responsible for implementation of activities related to multi lateral environmental conventions. The stakeholder matrix below outlines the interest and the role in the self assessment process of the various ministries and institutions. 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Barbados
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 

Key Results and Outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Outcome 1: Implementation Procedures and Arrangements

  • Output 1.1: Institutional Arrangements, obtain project staff
  • Output 1.2: Climate change committee meetings and project initiation workshop

Outcome 2: National Circumstances.

  • Output 2.1: Collection data from relevant organizations
  • Output 2.2: Update information, fill in data gaps from first national communications
  • Output 2.3: Draft national circumstance component/chapter

Outcome 3: Greenhouse Gas Inventory

  • Output 3.1: Greenhouse gas initiation and training workshop, examining IPCC guideline, select methodologies for new gases where appropriate
  • Output 3.2: Review data from initial inventories
  • Output 3.3: Identify key emission sources
  • Output 3.4: Gather data for greenhouse gas inventory
  • Output 3.5: Undertake inventory for years 2000, 2002 and 2004 assessing uncertainties
  • Output 3.6: Design improved data collection system for GHG, archive data
  • Output 3.7: Prepare draft inventory report.
  • Output 3.8: Workshop to present inventory
  • Output 3.9: Review Inventory
  • Output 3.10: Finalize Inventory Report

Outcome 4: Programmes containing measures to mitigate climate change

  • Output 4.1: Review of previous work on mitigation, outputs of regional renewable energy projects
  • Output 4.2: Workshop training in computer programmes such as LEAP and other programmes
  • Output 4.3: Develop mitigation scenarios
  • Output 4.4: Application of mitigation scenarios and abatement analysis
  • Output 4.5: Comparative economic analysis on renewable energy options study
  • Output 4.6: Draft abatement analysis report
  • Output 4.7: Draft Economic analysis report
  • Output 4.8: Mitigation and abatement analysis final reports and workshop

Outcome 5: Programmes containing measures to facilitate adaptation to climate change

  • Output 5.1: Initiation and training workshop on vulnerability assessment methodologies and adaptation. Scenario development
  • Output 5.2: Preparation of specific terms of reference for sector vulnerability studies, e.g. Coastal, water, tourism, social, health agriculture.
  • Output 5.3: Vulnerability and adaptation studies.
  • Output 5.4: Study on traditional knowledge and adaptation
  • Output 5.5: Review the status of the relevant policy and legal frameworks for climate change
  • Output 5.6: Workshop and Review of vulnerability and adaptation reports
  • Output 5.7:Finalization of Vulnerability and Adaptation reports

Outcome 6: Other information considered relevant to the achievement of the objective of the Convention.

  • Output 6.1: Review of technology needs assessment. Identification of gaps, related to TNA and systematic observation
  • Output 6.2: Development of public education programme. Website development
  • Output 6.3: Analysis of local and regional policy information related to climate change
  • Output 6.4: Compile and analyse information on capacity building activities related to capacity building framework
  • Output 6.5: Draft and review chapter

Outcome 7: Constraints and gaps, and related financial, technical and capacity needs.

  • Output 7.1: Draft analysis of technical , financial needs
  • Output 7.2: Draft project proposals.
  • Output 7.3: Finalize chapter.

Outcome 8: Preparation and submission of SNC1. Develop climate trends and risks

  • Output 8.1: Compilation of Draft SNC report
  • Output 8.2: Final workshop to complete SNC
  • Output 8.3: Finalization of SNC and submission

Monitoring and Evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.


Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Government of Barbados - Environment Unit
Nicole Scholar-Best
Project Affiliate
Government of Barbados
Rickardo Ward
Project Affiliate