The adverse effects of climate change are being experienced by developing countries, particularly
low- and middle-income countries at an increasing pace. Developing countries are often vulnerable
to climate change and are also highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture,
fisheries and tourism for their economies. Climate change events such as floods, tropical storms,
droughts and sea level rise have had crippling effects on developing countries in the Caribbean, its
citizens and the natural environment – Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017 are well-known examples
of this. Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are key economic players, driving inclusive
and sustainable development in developing countries around the world, including the Caribbean.
However, MSMEs are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and require quick and
relevant measures to build their resilience to climate change.

The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), in collaboration with the Trade and Industrial
Policy Strategies (TIPS), a non-profit economic research institute based in South Africa, recently coauthored a background paper entitled “All is not green: Climate change adaptation and small
business resilience in low and middle-income countries” for the Global Adaptation Commission.
This background paper focused on three inter-related themes: the climate change risks faced by
MSMEs, the current state of adaptation, and the way forward by suggesting how harnessing MSMEs
in low- and middle-income countries can advance climate change adaptation actions beyond the
status quo.

The paper noted that MSMEs “provide a strategic entry point to mainstream adaptation across
sectors and along value chains, that can deliver positive benefits in both local and national
economies. Inclusive climate change adaptation therefore requires a reframing of MSME
development to strategically focus on delivering social, environmental and economic co-benefits,
the so-called “triple bottom-line” rather than traditional economic returns (profits). Such a broader
vision highlights the opportunity for MSMEs to be climate-resilient while actively participating in the
transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable

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The background paper outlined recommendations which support building climate change resilience
in MSMEs in low- and middle-income countries and include:

• Governments have to inculcate an adaptation-lens into central decision-making.
• A conducive business environment for MSMEs to flourish must be promoted in many lowand middle-income countries.
• MSMEs have to be empowered to understand the risks they face and why adaptation is
• Adaptation requires cooperation, linkages, and partnerships among multiple actors along
the value chain.
• Strengthening resilience of climate-sensitive sectors goes hand in hand with diversifying
through new, green and informing the work of the Commission and the findings and recomme

You can read the background paper here:’ 

This background paper helped in guidndations presented in the flagship report entitled “Adapt Now: A global call for leadership on climate resilience” which was released in September 2019. The flagship report urged “governments, the private sector, civil society, and citizens around the globe to commit to accelerating adaptation actions to key economic systems affected by climate change: systems that produce food, protect and manage water and the natural environment, plan and build our cities and infrastructure, protect people from disasters, and provide financing for a more resilient future”. You can read the flagship report here:

Next year, 2020, is the Global Adaptation Commission’s Year of Action and the flagship report and
background papers will serve as important tools to inform the on-going adaptation work and build
momentum for bold adaptation actions. CANARI is proud to have contributed to this flagship report
by the Global Adaptation Commission and continues to support building climate change resilience in MSMEs through our on-going work under our Green Economy and Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction programmes.

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Author: Sasha Jattansingh, Senior Technical Officer, CANARI


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