The English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean comprises several Small Island Developing States that face similar challenges in managing economic, financial, geographic and climate-related impacts that affect the food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable, particularly in crises. These countries and territories are also exposed to natural hazards such as droughts, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, storms and volcanic eruptions.
Food and energy prices have increased sharply since the start of the Ukraine conflict. This has driven up local food prices and affected access to, and the availability and consumption of, food. On average, food inflation in the Caribbean has risen by 10.2 percent across 20 countries in 2022. High-energy prices are exacerbating the food-price crisis.
A CARICOM/WFP Caribbean Food Security and Livelihoods Survey in June 2023 estimated that 3.7 million people, or 52 percent of the population in the English-speaking Caribbean, are food insecure. While there has been 10 percent decrease compared to August 2022, people continue to highlight challenges in maintaining their livelihoods. Sixty percent of respondents reported experiencing disruptions. The survey highlights the growing hardships and challenges faced by the most vulnerable.
Climate-related disasters continue to increase in frequency and intensity, reversing significant development gains, paralysing national response capacity, and threatening progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While there is a foundation of regional and national institutions to address the needs of vulnerable people, there is a need improve data access and analysis, coordination and visualization, for improved planning and decision making.
Furthermore, Caribbean states face some of the highest rates debt in the world. Government debts average 90.1 percent of GDP since 2020, placing the region significantly above the World Bank’s threshold for developing countries. Caribbean governments are advocating for more innovative climate financing and access to resources, to increase climate resilience.
WFP Caribbean works with national, regional and international partners to strengthen resilience to the climate crisis, and to other risks. WFP adopts a systems-focused approach as part of its capacity-strengthening efforts, through research and advocacy, digitalization, human-resource development, South-South Cooperation, and by investing in critical infrastructure and assets. WFP works with partners to provide direct assistance to vulnerable people impacted by shocks, when events surpass national and regional capacities.
These investments place the most vulnerable people at the centre of efforts to minimize the combined impacts of climate, economic and other shocks. WFP Caribbean’s 2022-2026 Multi-Country Strategic Plan supports 22 countries and territories across the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean through the provision of expertise in vulnerability analysis and mapping; end-to-end supply-chain management; shock-responsive social protection; food-systems strengthening, and climate-risk financing.
Countries covered by the WFP Caribbean Multi-Country Office include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas (the), Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
What the World Food Programme is doing in the Caribbean
Vulnerability analysis and mapping
WFP Caribbean supports vulnerability and risk analysis, assessments and monitoring of cash programmes, and the introduction of innovations such as digital solutions – including remote surveying – to increase accountability and service delivery, and to inform decision-making. WFP works with partners in the Caribbean to strengthen food security analysis, early-warning systems and mapping capacities. This includes support to monitoring, analysis and forecasting of hazards for early action, and development of contingency plans. WFP supports governments in developing mechanisms tailored to the national context, to monitor and identify vulnerable groups. These efforts inform governments’ procedures, policies and programmes.
End-to-end supply chain management
WFP Caribbean supports the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency and its Participating States, to strengthen supply chain management systems in preparation for and during emergencies. WFP’s support also involves critical assets and infrastructure, like the Caribbean Regional Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence, and contributes to developing the human resource capacity of disaster management professionals for the Caribbean. WFP Caribbean also provides technical assistance on logistic and pre-needs assessments, logistics management, and community relief eﬀorts.
WFP provides tailored technical assistance to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of national social protection systems, to support programmes that help meet the needs of vulnerable people during a crisis. Efforts include identifying and registering beneficiaries, and determining the appropriate level of assistance and the distribution mechanisms to deliver benefits, whether cash or in-kind.
Food systems strengthening
In conjunction with partners in the region, WFP provides strategic advice, and technical and operational support to strengthen food systems’ resilience through food security analysis. We further support increased agricultural production and market access for local and regional produce. WFP Caribbean supports governments with developing mechanisms to link local production to institutional markets, such as school meals and campaigns to create demand for locally produced food. WFP is working with social assistance beneficiaries through livelihood-enhancement programmes, to make them a more active part of both the supply and demand side of local and regional agricultural production.
Disaster Risk Financing and Anticipatory Action
WFP’s risk-finance strategy involves working with governments to identify suitable disaster-risk-financing options, and strengthen the connection between social protection systems and finance instruments. WFP is working with Caribbean governments to advance new initiatives to strengthen disaster-risk-financing mechanisms, to explore forecast-based financing options for anticipatory action, and to ensure that payouts can be channelled through social protection systems for a more rapid response to shocks.
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