Dec. 11, 2010 -- The Inter-American Development Bank approved a US$30 million loan to help Barbados preserve and manage its coastline, a critical asset for the country’s economy, from damage caused by natural disasters and risks associated with climate change.

Barbados’ sandy beaches, reefs and coastal ecosystems, coupled with relatively calm waters and warm weather, create optimal conditions for a tourism industry that accounts for 39 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, 50 percent of total export earnings and 44 percent of employment.

The funds will help to preserve and manage the Barbados shorefront through three components:

Coastal risk assessment, monitoring and management 
This component will finance baseline studies of coastal and oceanographic processes including wave climate, shoreline changes, and water quality, circulation and sedimentation. A risk evaluation will be performed, and high-resolution hazard and risk maps incorporating the hazard risk associated with climate change, where applicable, will be prepared. Assessed hazards will include wind and earthquakes for the entire country and storm surge, sea level rise, coastal erosion, tsunamis, inland floods, coastal cliff instability and oil spills for the shorefront. A national coastal risk information and planning platform will also be developed to support risk-based decision-making in the coastal zone.

Coastal infrastructure
This module will control shoreline erosion, improve coastal infrastructure resilience, and boost public access to beaches. Selected projects include building coastal revetments, offshore breakwaters and walkways at the Holetown Waterfront along the West Coast. The Holetown Lagoon will be restored to improve water quality and reduce flooding, and a fishermen’s vessel haul-out area at Tent Bay on the East Coast will be improved. The program will also fund studies for non-structural beach stabilization measures, management steps for enhanced reef recovery, dune stabilization, and management of wetlands with a view to promote adaptation to climate change in the coastal zone.

Institutional sustainability for the Integrated Coastal Risk Management
This component will seek to ensure the program’s long term sustainability. It will help to enhance the enabling policy and regulatory environment for mainstreaming disaster risk management and climate change adaptation into coastal zone management, improve institutional capacity of the Coastal Zone Management Unit and its strategic partners to address climate change impacts, and promote stakeholders participation to implement an integrated coastal risk management approach.

The loan is for a 25-year term, with a 5-year grace period, and carries a variable interest rate based on Libor.