Resilience in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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Our team was in the U.S. Virgin Islands last week to help the territory plan for resilience. “Overall, the workshop generated several powerful new ideas and identified a number of short-term solutions that the Climate Change Council can take action on immediately,” said Shawn-Michael Malone, Climate Change Council Chairman.

Over the course of the workshop, participants heard presentations on how to make the Virgin Islands more resilient in the face of hazards associated with climate change, including erosion, hurricanes and rising sea levels. At the same time, members of the Council educated the GICD team on the unique issues facing the Virgin Islands and on our community’s priorities.

On the first day, discussions focused on sharing that critical information and exploring different strategies for reducing risk and building long-term resilience. The second day began with a review of issues raised by the group, and continued with a presentation of possible recommendations for the Virgin Islands and a discussion of how the Climate Change Council could put them into action.

Recommendations included:

  • Developing a “resilience vision” for the Virgin Islands.
  • Altering the hazard mitigation planning process to include climate change strategies, proactive land management, scenario planning, and incorporating adaptation.
  • Educating the public on the hazards of extreme weather and climate change through local schools and universities, youth programs, and existing health and wellness programs.
  • Expanding the disaster recovery process to include climate change planning, while ensuring that citizens are not overburdened by new codes and standards.

The GICD team thanks Governor Mapp and his administration for their ongoing commitment to the protection of life and property in the U.S. Virgin Islands.