Jamaica to be the world’s first country to use ground-breaking technology capable of accelerating the resilience of its major national infrastructure to extreme weather events.
- Economic cost from coastal flooding in Jamaica at risk of increasing from US$190 million to US$640 million per annum on average before the end of the century.
- Hurricanes cause the most physical risks to infrastructure, responsible for US$1 billion of losses annually.
- Cost of inaction could reach US$1.4 billion annually by 2025, representing 10% of Jamaica’s gross domestic product, according to analysis by CCRI.
- CCRI’s climate technology is capable of detecting the most vulnerable and vital hotspots for long-term development gain. For example, investing US$2.5 million to protect Jamaica’s two most exposed electricity substations from flood risk would yield a benefit of US$4.8-5.8 million in avoided flood damage and economic disruption.
Global, 3 May 2022
Ground-breaking technology developed to help countries most exposed to extreme weather events to become more climate resilient has been launched in Jamaica today by the global Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI).
Jamaica is the first country to complete development of the Systemic Risk Assessment Tool (J-SRAT), designed by Oxford University in collaboration with the Jamaican Government and support from CCRI and the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. J-SRAT has been developed to help identify ‘hotspots’ across the country’s major infrastructure networks - such as energy, water and transport - most vulnerable to climate risk, ensuring the effective and efficient investment of public and private resources.
Jamaica’s population, infrastructure and economic assets are highly exposed to extreme weather, such as hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding events that are expected to become more intense and frequent. With many of these climate hazards now irreversible, the country’s priority is to adapt by building the resilience of its major infrastructure assets.
"Given Jamaica’s vulnerability to climate shocks, the cumulative cost over the years and future climate projections, JSRAT is an important data-driven addition to the analytical toolkit to aid assessment of climate risks, particularly with respect to critical infrastructure such as water, transport and energy."
Dr Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica
“We anticipate that the combination of the analytical capabilities of this tool along with those of relevant local platforms and the transfer of knowledge to local technical personnel, should help to better guide our decision-making on future location and investment for infrastructure. JSRAT is a potential game-changer and we look forward to its utility as the country moves to not only modernise but also to retrofit and harden its infrastructure assets.”
Dr Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica
 Figures based on i) a current coastal risk of JMD$29 billion; ii) a high-end emissions scenario risk (RCP 8.5) of JMD$100 billion; and iii) exchange rate of 1 JMD to = 0.0064USD.
Jamaica Systemic Risk Assessment Tool
Key features of the Jamaica Systemic Risk Assessment Tool:
- Climate risk hotspots – J-SRAT delivers unparalleled high resolution and visual analysis, accurately identifying hotspots of vulnerability across critical infrastructure.
- Real life impact – Existing climate models are limited to forecasting broader climate impacts. Cutting-edge capabilities of J-SRAT allow Jamaica to assess practical impacts of increasingly severe weather events on specific services, such as more frequent water or power shortages caused by infrastructure damage.
- Open source – Jamaica’s government will have full control of J-SRAT, with CCRI and its partners also committed to ensuring the innovative methodology is freely available worldwide, accelerating global efforts to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure.
- Unlock investment – Natural disasters in Jamaica have a devastating impact on economic development. J-SRAT’s ability to accurately calculate the damage and economic losses from future climate risks future gives decision-makers and private sector investors the confidence to prioritise infrastructure that will be more resilient and capable of withstanding future climate impacts.
The breakthrough predictive technology underpinning the tool is based on proven analytical methods developed by Oxford University. A global leader in the geospatial assessment of climate risks and infrastructure system resilience, the university has been one of the project’s lead technical delivery partners.
“The fundamental goal is to help unlock investment in climate adaptation. With limited resources and mounting needs, the Government of Jamaica will be able to use SRAT’s incredibly granular, precise and practical analytical capabilities to prioritise where infrastructure investment is needed most and attract the scale of private sector finance that has so far been missing until now, not only in the Caribbean but in climate adaptation worldwide.”Dr Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks, University of Oxford
“The climate crisis represents an existential threat to Jamaica, the wider Caribbean region and globally. As countries race to protect their communities from escalating climate impacts on water, health, energy and supply chains, making infrastructure assets more resilient is vital, but cannot be delivered by the public sector alone. Private sector engagement is critical in bridging the existing infrastructure gap, making this technology a major breakthrough not only for Jamaica, but also in helping to meet the world’s future infrastructure needs.”Carlos Sanchez, Executive Director, Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment
About the J-SRAT Project
The CCRI pilot project aims to deliver a comprehensive solution for the government of Jamaica to be able to assess, manage and finance resilient infrastructure investment needs. In addition to building capabilities for the assessment and management of Physical Climate Risks, this project will support the generation of a pipeline of investment needs in Jamaica, aimed at attracting both private and public sources.
The pilot, co-developed and scoped in partnership with the Government of Jamaica, started developing and testing the J-SRAT tool – also defined as “a geospatial analysis platform for infrastructure risk assessment and resilient investment prioritisation” – early in 2021.
Led by Oxford University, modellers collaborated with public and private sector stakeholders in the country to obtain national key input data, validate assumptions and work to develop models to identify points of network climate vulnerability. Results from the initial network assessment were used in an input-output model of the Jamaican economy to quantify the macro-economic impacts of the simulated disruptions. This was then used to estimate the total macro-economic impacts, in terms of reduced GDP. The team has developed a country case to share with national stakeholders, providing perspective and clarity on the uses of the tool and the benefits of obtaining such analysis for investment decision-making.
Having launched the tool this week, the project will move to the next phase of work which looks to harness the opportunities presented by the implementation of the J-SRAT to inform more effective and climate resilient policy and decision-making. Ultimately, the tool will directly contribute to the design of climate resilient projects that accelerate investment in resilient infrastructure in Jamaica.
About the Coalition for Climate
Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment is a broad-based, global coalition which aims to ‘mainstream’ climate risks in investment decision-making. It was launched formally at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019 with the UK Government, the World Economic Forum and WTW spearheading the initiative. The other convening institutions include the Global Commission on Adaptation and the World Resources Institute.
The Coalition currently comprises 123 institutions, including institutional investors, banks, rating agencies, engineering firms and insurance companies, representing US$25tn of financial assets. Learn more at www.resilientinvestment.org
A Collis Communications