The Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI), a private sector-led COP26 initiative, has launched a newly developed Systemic Risk Assessment Tool (J-SRAT) to help strengthen the climate resilience of countries most susceptible to extreme weather events.
Launched in Jamaica, J-SRAT has been designed by Oxford University in collaboration with the Jamaican government with 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.
Dr Wayne Henry, director general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, said, “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.
“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 modernize but also to retrofit and harden its infrastructure assets,” he said.
Key features of the Jamaica Systemic Risk Assessment Tool:
- Climate risk hotspots – J-SRAT delivers 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. The 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 gives decision-makers and private sector investors the confidence to prioritize 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. Dr Jim Hall, professor of climate and environmental risks, University of Oxford, said, “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 prioritize 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.”
Carlos Sanchez, executive director, CCRI, said, “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.”