Sustainability of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Caribbean Small Island Developing States

The sustainability of small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean is fragile because of island size and topography, limited resources, population growth, natural disasters, and climate change. Current and projected sustainability in 2050 were assessed within the framework of the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus for 10 of 16 SIDS with the best databases. Values for each WEF sector below either Falkenmark indicators or regional averages were considered unsustainable (failing) for that sector. Overall, SIDS were considered unsustainable if they failed at least two of three sectors. Projected water sustainability for 2050 was based on population growth and climate change effects on precipitation and per capita water availability. All SIDS failed the food sector, and four failed the energy sector. Water was considered the ultimate control for long-term sustainability. Five SIDS currently fail the water sector, but all but the largest two SIDS are likely to fail this sector by 2050. The role of poor governance and associated lack of long-term planning for population growth, disasters, and climate change, adaptative management strategies, infrastructure investment with an emphasis on nature-based solutions, decentralized energy grids emphasizing renewable energy, and local food production are clearly impediments for reaching sustainability goals for Caribbean SIDS.

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