Community-Based Adaptation: Jamaica


As a small island developing state in the Caribbean, Jamaica faces significant climate change impacts, including:

  • Increasingly intense hurricanes
  • Sea-level rise, coastal erosion
  • Saline intrusion into soils and aquifers
  • Declining average precipitation
  • Increasingly erratic and intense rainfall

These impacts pose serious risks to community livelihoods, key socio-economic sectors, and ecosystems.  

Community-Based Adaptation activities in Jamaica will support adaptation both in coastal regions and in the agricultural sector, focusing on improved natural resource management practices to maintain coastal and agricultural land resources and protect biodiversity while safeguarding communities and livelihoods in the face of climate change impacts.  The overall portfolio for CBA Jamaica will be guided by the Jamaica CBA Country Programme Strategy

All CBA projects involve non-governmental organizations (NGO) at the local and national levels. In addition, the UN Volunteers is a project partner in seven (7) out of the ten (10) CBA countries:  Bolivia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Morocco, Niger, Namibia, and Samoa. In addition to the Adaptation & Volunteerism Specialist overseeing the seven (7) countries, a national UNV officer in Jamaica is fully dedicated to the CBA projects at the local level.  The partnership began in June 2009.

The CBA Jamaica portfolio includes a total of six (6) projects:

1. Land & Preservation Measures to Combat Climate Change Pressures in Martha Brae Watershed

2. Increasing Community Adaptation and Ecosystem Resilience to Climate Change in Portland Bight

3. Glengoffe Climate Change Adaptation

4. Watershed Conservation Programme for Awareness and Action in the Rio Grande Watershed

5. Reducing Climate Change-Driven Erosion and Landslide Risk through Sustainable Agriculture

6. "Tell It": Disseminating Caribbean Climate Change Science and Stories

Jamaica is one of ten (10) countries implementing projects as part of the "Community-Based Adaptation" programme. *

Project Details

Jamaica is a small island developing state situated in the Caribbean Sea. Climate Change poses serious risks to island's natural and built environments. Climate change scenarios in national communications to the UNFCCC and reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) have indicated there is 90% likelihood that temperatures will increase in the greater Antilles (Jamaica area). Estimates are that annual temperature could increase by between 1°C and 1.6°C by 2050. Sea levels are also projected to rise, with projected increases near the global average of 0.2m -0.5m (relative to 1999 levels) by 2090 (though IPCC scenarios omit major ice-flow dynamics, and are thus considered very conservative). Most recent climate model outputs (2007) have also shown general agreement that there is likely to be a drying out of (or reduction in) rainfall in the June-August period, by 2050.

Other predictions by the IPCC indicate that there is a more than 50% chance that severe weather events could be more intense in the Caribbean. These will have many lasting negative adverse impacts on Jamaica. These include but are not limited to: increased storm surge, coastline erosion, saline contamination of coastal aquifers, and adverse impacts on all socio-economic sectors especially the agriculture sector and coastal zone related activities such as tourism.

The Community-based Adaptation (CBA) initiative seeks to address a number of these challenges at the local level through both capacity building initiatives and improved natural resource management in the context of climate change. This will be accomplished primarily through the implementation of demonstration projects that simultaneously generate global environmental benefits (GEBs), and make ecosystems resilient to climate variability and change. The focal areas for attainment of GEBs are biodiversity conservation and the prevention of land degradation.

The CBA also works closely with current national adaptation interventions of the 2nd national communications of the UNFCCC to utilize the most current and accurate information to guide adaptation priorities and options. This collaboration will also allow for lessons learnt from community-based interventions to be scaled up at the national level, thereby providing opportunities for incorporation into national adaptation and planning policies. The coastal zone and agriculture sectors will be targeted for project interventions. The CBA will be implemented in Jamaica using the mechanism of the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) in the context of the SGP national country programme, under the overall guidance of UNDP.

Level of Intervention: 
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF Small Grants Programme
UN Volunteers
Financing Amount: 
$245,965 (approximate, as detailed Aug. 2012)
Co-Financing Total: 
$44,606 (approximate, as detailed Aug. 2012)

Key Results and Outputs

The objective of the community-based adaptation (CBA) programme in Jamaica is to integrate climate change risks into sustainable community management of natural resources.

The attainment of this objective will be measured by three impact indicators. These are:

1. The number of measures that address the additional risks posed by climate change deployed as part of sustainable resource management activities;

2. Percentage of area concern in which climate change risk management activities, in the context of sustainable resource management are implemented; and

3. Number of local and national level policies adjusted as a result of lessons from CBA projects

Reports and Publications

News article
Brochures, Posters, Communications Products
Case Study
Adaptation Bulletin
Assessments and Background Documents
Project Brief / Fact Sheet


CBA Jamaica - UN Volunteers on Climate Change Issues in Glengoffe


Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of highland farming communities in Jamaica. UN Volunteers are working with local volunteers and the Government to introduce techniques for conserving the soil as a measure to adapt to climate change.
Video produced as part of UNV's "Share the Story".
Visit UNV's Facebook page at

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation for community-based adaptation is a new field, and the CBA project is piloting innovative approaches to evaluating the success of locally-driven adaptation projects, and generating lessons to inform ongoing practice.

Key considerations in M&E for CBA include:

  • Grounding M&E in the local context: M&E for CBA should avoid overly rigid frameworks, recognizing community heterogeneity and maintaining local relevance
  • Capturing global lessons from local projects: CBA projects are highly contextualized, but lessons generated should be relevant to stakeholders globally
  • Incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative indicators: to ground projects in tangible changes that can be objectively evaluated, and to capture lessons and case studies for global dissemination

To these ends, the CBA project uses three indicator systems: the Vulnerability Reduction Assessment, the Small Grants Programme Impact Assessment System, and the UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework.

The Vulnerability Reduction Assessment (VRA)

The VRA is a question-based approach with the following aims:

  • To make M&E responsive to community priorities
  • To use M&E to make projects more accountable to local priorities
  • To make M&E capture community ideas and local knowledge
  • To gather community-level feedback to guide ongoing project management
  • To generate qualitative information
  • To capture lessons on specific issues within community-based adaptation
  • To generate case studies highlighting adaptation projects

The VRA follows UNDP's Adaptation Policy Framework, and is measured in a series of meetings with local community stakeholders. In these meetings, locally-tailored questions based on standard VRA questions/indicators are posed, and the community assigns a numerical score on a 1-10 scale for each question. Progress is evaluated through changes in scores over the course of implementation, as well as through qualitative data collected in community discussions surrounding the exercise.

UNDP has developed a Users Guide to the VRA (Espanol) (Francais) as a tool to assist practitioners to conceptualize and execute VRA measurements in the context of CBA projects.

The SGP Impact Assessment System (IAS)

The CBA, being a project of the GEF Strategic Priority on Adaptation, aims to increase the resilience of ecosystems and communities to the impacts of climate change, generating global environmental benefits, and increasing their resilience in the face of climate change impacts. To this end, the CBA projects use the SGP's impact assessment system for monitoring achievements in GEF focal areas (focusing primarily on biodiversity and sustainable land management).

The IAS is composed of a number of quantitative indicators which track biophysical ecosystem indicators, as well as policy impact, capacity development and awareness-building.

UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Indicator Framework

CBA projects also track quantitative indicators from UNDP's adaptation indicator framework, corresponding to the thematic area on natural resources management. More information on UNDP's indicator framework can be found on the UNDP climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation website.


This description applies to all projects implemented through UNDP's Community-Based Adaptation programme. Specific details on this project's M&E will be included here as they become available. *


CBA Project Management Unit
GEF Small Grants Programme
Ms. Hyacinth Douglas
National Coordinator (Jamaica)
UN Volunteers
Michelle Curling-Ludford
National UN Volunteer