Climate change and food security in Caribbean small island developing states: challenges and strategies

Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS) are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Food security is a key issue in the region, and is related to vulnerability in the natural and human system. This short research paper, which reports on a systematic search of the academic literature and is part of a larger research project on climate change adaptation in Caribbean coastal communities, investigates two central questions: (1) what challenges to food security are Caribbean SIDS facing due to climate change? and (2) what strategies, if any, are being used to adapt to these challenges? We review peer-reviewed articles published after the release of Working Group II’s contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014, which included a chapter on vulnerability and impacts in small islands (Chapter 29). We find that post AR5 articles confirm that climate change will have a significant effect on agriculture and fisheries in the Caribbean, mainly through changing patterns of weather, air and sea surface temperatures, and water availability. These studies highlight the importance of considering the social dimensions of food security in the region when identifying and implementing adaptation strategies, particularly in the context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. These social dimensions include the Caribbean’s historical and social context as well as its demographics, which feature varying population densities and poverty rates. They serve to increase vulnerability but are imperative considerations for understanding and minimizing the threat climate change poses to food security in the region.