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Barbados gets USD $50 million IDB loan to save its coasts

Posted on January 15, 2024

Barbados has 23.5 years to repay its latest Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of USD $50 million.

The Bank approved the loan to help Barbados boost the climate resilience of its coastal areas and foster climate-resilient economic development.

The IDB loan has a 23.5-year repayment term, a seven-year grace period and an interest rate based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR).

In a press release issued January 11, 2024, by the IDB, the lending agency said the operation approved by the IDB’s Board of Executive Directors will reduce the risks of erosion and flooding along the country’s coasts and make coastal activities safer for communities and tourists. It will also enhance community living standards and tourism value by improving access for people with disabilities and women. Additionally, the operation aims to improve the technical capacity and governance of the country’s public policies for integrated coastal management to deepen climate resilience.

Barbados has 60 miles of coastline, 20 of which are central to the country’s tourism industry, attracting over one million visitors annually and accounting for 13 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The coastline is also highly valuable for community fisheries and international logistics but is threatened by challenges such as declining coral reefs, erosion and coastal flooding.

The program will build integrated infrastructure — such as breakwaters, drainage works, walkways, boardwalks and groynes— to reduce climate risk along the country’s coasts. It will also include beach restoration activities.

This operation will strengthen the institutional capacity to implement public policies for integrated management of climate-resilient coastal zones. To this end, it will include measures such as improving the National Coastal Risk Information and Planning Platform to enhance the capacity to analyze climate risk information.

The program is expected to benefit more than 6,000 inhabitants of various coastal communities and almost 2,000 people who directly enjoy the beaches’ ecosystem services that make recreation and other activities possible. The facilities that provide access and mobility for users, such as walkways and boardwalks, will be designed from a perspective that considers gender and people with disabilities. The program will also conduct complementary community engagement meetings and outreach activities to ensure community and stakeholder consent for its infrastructure interventions.


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