Dominica's journey to climate resilience

The island nation is hoping to use Cop28 as a unique opportunity for climate assistance

Dominica after Hurricane Maria
Dominica is still recovering six years after Hurricane Maria
(Image credit: Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

As global leaders enter the first full week of Cop28, a small Caribbean island is determined to become the world's first climate-proof country. 

The developing state of Dominica is "one of the most disaster-vulnerable countries on Earth", said the BBC, making it "disproportionately impacted by climate change". If the world fails to meet its emission-slashing targets, Dominica risks destruction.

Bearing this "rapidly closing window" in mind, Cop28 is a chance for Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to highlight the unique set of challenges faced by the island, and to push for small-state financing.

Dominica's "mountainous terrain and steep slopes" means that "most of the country is prone to either landslides or flooding" and climate change is an "existential threat", said Emily Wilkinson, director of the Resilient and Sustainable Islands Initiative at the Overseas Development Institute, for The Conversation

Skerrit "set the bold ambition of becoming the first climate-resilient nation" in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, which caused "the kind of devastation which is unthinkable to larger countries", said Wilkinson. 

For Dominica, this means "being able to handle more intense hurricanes and more frequent flooding", with its targets and roadmap combining "everything from building design to nature-based power sources and climate-resilient crop systems".

The island's early warning system is perhaps the most important, helping Dominicans to "make what can be life-saving preparations, such as moving to higher ground", the BBC reported. 

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Rebekah Evans joined The Week as newsletter editor in 2023 and has written on subjects ranging from Ukraine and Afghanistan to fast fashion and "brotox". She started her career at Reach plc, where she cut her teeth on news, before pivoting into personal finance at the height of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis. Social affairs is another of her passions, and she has interviewed people from across the world and from all walks of life. Rebekah completed an NCTJ with the Press Association and has written for publications including The Guardian, The Week magazine, the Press Association and local newspapers.