The CZMU outlines some of the actions you can take to improve the coastlines and make the island more resilient to hazards. (CZMU)

The Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) has embarked on updating Barbados’ IntegratedCoastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan, and members of the public will soon get the opportunity to give their input.

They may visit the CZMU’s website to view explanatory videos on how they could assist in protecting the island’s coastlines.  The videos are also expected to be aired on CBC TV8 in the coming weeks.

The CZMU, a department under the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, executed the plan under the Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme (CRMP). 

The draft plan was designed to provide clear guidance for development along the coast and the management of coastal resources.  It considers current and future climate and disaster-related risks.

Deputy Project Manager of the CRMP, Allison Wiggins, explained that a range of studies, including oceanographic studies, cliff stability studies, laser topography surveys, along with coastal vulnerability and hazard assessments, were conducted under the programme to guide the plan.

Protect Our Home from Coastal Erosion

Ms. Wiggins stated that the ICZM plan focuses on eight sub-areas: South Point to Kitridge Point; Kitridge Point to Consett Point; Consett Point to The Choyce; The Choyce to North Point; North Point to Maycocks Bay; Maycocks Bay to Batt’s Rock; Batt’s Rock to Needham’s Point and Needham’s Point to South Point.

She said the draft plan sought to address a number of issues, including those associated with climate change, beach erosion, cliff collapse, wind damage, sea level rise and storm surge.

Ms. Wiggins explained that Barbados’ coastline was exposed to tropical storms and hurricanes and had become increasingly susceptible to beach and cliff erosion.

She added that regional projections also suggested that the disaster risk profile of Barbados was increasing, especially as it relates to issues of sea level rise.

The Deputy Project Manager pointed out that the coastal processes, the development of new and competing land use activities, the existence of diverse stakeholder interests and new emerging issues, including climate change, all required a comprehensive and integrated approach to managing Barbados’ coastal zone.

Stay Safe from Storm Surge

She said the CZMU had embarked on a campaign under the theme: My Coast, My Home, My Future, to sensitise the public about issues pertaining to the coastlines of Barbados.

Describing the ICZM Plan as an important milestone for Barbados, Ms. Wiggins said it would also provide an opportunity for stakeholders to become more aware of the seriousness of climate change and mitigation measures, which could reduce the impact of climate change along the coastline.

The updated ICZM plan (2020) adopts an integrated disaster risk management and climate change adaptation approach to support effective coastal planning. 

It incorporates the latest results from the Inter-American Development Bank-funded CRMP, and the supporting tool called the National Coastal Risk Information and Planning Platform, which was undertaken and developed by the CZMU between 2011 and 2020.

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