OCTs and Climate Change Adaptation
The majority of OCTs are small, remote and particularly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and various other challenges to their environment and biodiversity. Climate change is already visible in the OCTs, ranging from the drastic changes to sea ice in Greenland to the impact of ocean warming and acidification on the coral reefs. These changes not only threaten the economic survival of local communities, but have an irreversible impact on a wide range of unique and valuable wildlife species and habitats unique to the OCTs. As the majority of OCT communities live in coastal areas, the threat of sea level rise, of more severe and frequent storms, damages to digital and transport infrastructure, as well as changes in the availability of natural resources are real and immediate threats.
The gravity of the impact of Climate Change is disproportionate to the capacity of OCTs to adapt and combat it. Consequently, cooperation is the only solution to creating an understanding of the vulnerabilities of OCT ecosystems and their protection. It is of utmost importance to OCTs to secure preventive measures, followed by future compensatory measures where necessary. The Caribbean and the Pacific OCTs have been hardest hit by tropical storms and hurricanes which have destroyed property and claimed victims. The intensity and frequency of these storms is very likely to increase during this century. A hurricane can produce a storm surge of several metres, enough to inundate very significant portions of some of the territories in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
OCTA and Climate Change
Most of the work of OCTA in the field of Environment and Climate Change is channelled through the Partnership Working Party (PWP) on Environment which is a platform that provides for a broad-based dialogue between the Commission, the OCTs and the related Member States on specific issues related to environment and climate change. The PWP on Environment and climate change is an important platform to exchange views of mutual interest and a way to share information between the Commission, Member States and the OCTs.