A new report, looking at how integrated law and policy can improve climate resilient development in Dominica, has been published by IFRC Disaster Law, in partnership with the University College Cork - School of Law.
The study, entitled ‘Integrating climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction laws and policies towards a climate-resilient development’, provides an in-depth analysis of this progress and focuses on how integrated and cross-sectoral regulatory frameworks can improve effective and consistent action in Dominica.
The study underscores how policymaking in key governmental sectors is highly dependent on climate change patterns and extreme weather events and aim at primarily (but not exclusively) supporting standardising this process in countries like Dominica, that are geographically small and/or economically fragile.
Dr Tommaso Natoli, the author of the report, says: “This study aims at documenting and analysing the country’s experience, while providing at the same time a list of suggested improvements for decision-makers willing to follow a similar path.”
The crucial takeaway from the report is that not only is a better integrated legal framework critical to any resilience strategy, but a synergic combination of climate and disaster risk-management, economic development and social protection systems is a necessary goal for any law and policy reform or review.
Climate resilient legislation in Dominica
The Caribbean is no stranger to the effects of climate change, making disaster risk reduction a priority. Their high-risk profile for disasters has been aggravated by increasingly devastating tropical storms, as well as increased frequency and intensity of the yearly hurricanes.
Among the most affected Caribbean states, the Commonwealth of Dominica is fast coming a global standard in improving resilience through legislations and governance.
In 2017, the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a category five storm. Whilst this catastrophic event put every aspect of Dominica’s government, economy and society under strain, it also provided the country with a unique opportunity to review its regulatory and infrastructure systems, in addition to the integrated goal of advancing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in a wider strategy to ensure sustainable socio-economic development.
Since then, the country has made significant choices designed to have a long-term impact on its governance model, including the adoption of laws, strategies and plans, and the establishment of a Climate Resilience Execution Agency (CREAD).
This study was undertaken by IRC-MSCA CAROLINE Research fellow Dr Tommaso Natoli (UCC-IFRC) following his secondment to the IFRC Disaster Law Programme. It is part of the Research Project “Leave No One Behind – Developing Climate-Smart/Disaster Risk Management Laws that Protect People in Vulnerable Situations for a Comprehensive Implementation of the UN Agenda 2030”.
This project has received funding from the Irish Research Council and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 713279.