Report on the IPDC Caribbean Climate Adaptation and Water Conference

Submitted by Olivia Allen | published 13th Jun 2023 | last updated 30th Jun 2023

Summary of the IPDC Caribbean Conference Report


This conference and the International Panel on Deltas and Coastal Zones (IPDC) respond to the urgent and critical need for special leadership to accelerate sustainable development and climate adaptation in deltas, coastal zones and small islands. According to the International Monetary Fund, the economic cost of disasters exacerbated by sea level rise for the Caribbean is substantial, exceeding $22 billion between 1950 and 2016, compared with $58 billion for similar disasters globally. With rising sea levels and the increasing intensity of severe storms, these disasters are expected to increase. Many more slow-onset disasters are also threatening islands, including high population and urbanization pressures on limited land areas, and vulnerable marine ecosystems, which hold significant value to the national economies.

To address these challenges, global collaboration and coalition building is urgently needed between countries, their leaders, science and finance experts and networks. The IPDC is an initiative by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water and Deltares supported by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). The IPDC was announced at the COP 27 and aims at linking together policy makers, experts and practitioners in a unique partnership.

The IPDC consists of three interacting layers:

  • -  The policy and finance layer: the Champions Group consisting of High-Level Leaders for political and financial commitment and leadership.

  • -  The science layer: the International Expert Panel consisting of Top-level Scientists and Adaptation Experts linking shared knowledge to local planning and implementation needs.

  • -  The implementation layer: the Action Holders consisting of Knowledge Networks and Implementation Agencies working with international experts to support accelerated actions on the ground.

  •   Objectives of the conference

    The hybrid conference in Curaçao and on Zoom on 13 December 2022, had the aim of bringing together the Caribbean high-level leaders and experts to help shape this important initiative by identifying key issues, opportunities and challenges for the IPDC to consider and take forward. It also served as a call for Caribbean leadership to join this initiative and collaborative action in preparation for the UN Water Conference in March 2023 in New York and beyond.

    The program consisted of a high-level leaders meeting in the morning, an expert meeting in the afternoon and a field visit the following day. The main objective of the high-level leaders meeting was to continue the dialogue on the adaptation challenges for the Caribbean building on existing efforts. In the afternoon, experts presented the state of the art on climate change scenarios and adaptation efforts in the Caribbean, and participants engaged in an exchange of ideas or expectations regarding the IPDC.

  • Outcomes

    This IPDC Caribbean conference had the aim of bringing together the Caribbean high-level leaders and identifying key issues, opportunities and challenges for the demand driven IPDC to take forward. The following considerations for IPDC continued development and roll-out have been identified during the conference:

    1. IPDC should play a role in access to knowledge, networks, scientific guidelines, collaboration, and capacity building that is needed to support sustainable, strategic and scalable solutions

    2. IPDC needs to direct attention to human and financial capacity for urgent and proactive recovery and adaptation measures