Cuba is highly committed to global efforts to confront climate change and its devastating effects, as sustainable development as well.
There is a proven political will on the part of the Cuban government, which is reflected in its ethical conduct, in its permanent efforts to promote and implement national actions to combat climate change and honor the country's international commitments; as well as their willingness to share their experiences and good practices with other nations as a sign of the solidarity cooperation that the Cuban Revolution advocates.
In this context, the country has obtained important results in confronting climate change and for the development of the country.
After the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the Cuban Government has continued to strengthen its national efforts and build an ambitious framework of adaptation and mitigation actions. On the Summit on Climate Action, convened by the UN Secretary General in September 2019, Cuba presented some of its most significant results and the projections of its public policies to confront climate change, as part of the initiatives that contribute to the global efforts taking place today. On that occasion, information was provided on the national work in a broader and more ambitious action platform than that formulated in the Nationally Determined Contribution proposal of November 2015.
These Contributions should be examined in the context of the Common Responsibilities but Differentiated of the Parties to the Convention, which implies, among other elements, that being able to materialize the commitments expressed by developing countries, demand for financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building, which developed countries must contribute incrementally, in accordance with their obligations established in the Framework Convention and the Paris Agreement
Climate change in the country's public policies
The new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, approved in 2019 by popular referendum, expressly refers about climate change in the context of international relations and in accordance with its Article 16, subsection f “promotes the protection and conservation of the environment and the confrontation climate change, which threatens the survival of the human species, based on the recognition of common but differentiated responsibilities; the establishment of a fair and equitable international economic order and the eradication of irrational patterns of production and consumption ”.
The Bases of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development until 2030 constitute the country's main tool to achieve its objectives of a prosperous, economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development that is resilient and less intense in carbon emissions.
Confronting climate change is identified as a priority in the Bases of the Plan. In particular, the "Strategic Axis: Natural Resources and the Environment" declares as one of its three general objectives: "Strengthening national capacities for adaptation to climate change" and endorses among its "Specific Objectives" six that refer to confronting climate change are listed below.
Guideline 237. The hydraulic program will continue to be developed with far-reaching investments to face the impact of climate change and materialize adaptation measures: water reuse; the capture of rain; the desalination of seawater and the sustainability of all associated services, which makes it possible to achieve and exceed the sustainable development objectives.
In April 2017, the Government adopted the State Plan for Confronting Climate Change, known in Cuban society as “Tarea Vida”. The Plan is structured in 5 Strategic Actions, and 11 Tasks. Actions 1, 3 and 5 deal with vulnerable coastal settlements and guide, successively, not allow the construction of new houses in threatened coastal settlements that are predicted to disappear due to permanent flooding and the most vulnerable, and to reduce the population density in low-lying coastal areas (AE 1); develop constructive concepts in infrastructure, adapted to coastal flooding for low-lying areas (AE 2); and to plan the urban reorganization processes of the threatened settlements and infrastructures, starting with lower-cost measures, such as induced natural solutions (recovery of beaches, reforestation). (AE 5).
The 11 Tasks of the Plan cover a wide range of actions. No. 1 complies with the indication to prioritize vulnerable areas, identified in Annex 1 of the State Plan. These are measures for the coastal protection of cities, relocation of human settlements, comprehensive recovery of beaches, mangroves and other protective natural ecosystems, hydraulic works, and coastal engineering, among others.
The following Tasks deal with the legal framework (Task 2), beaches (Task 3), availability and efficient use of water (Task 4), reforestation (Task 5), coral reefs (Task 6), territorial and urban management (Task 7), the strengthening of monitoring, surveillance, and early warning systems (Task 9), raising the perception of risk, increasing the level of knowledge and the degree of participation of the entire population (Task 10), and the search for international financing (Task 11). Task 8 is particularly complex, which indicates the implementation and control of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures derived from sectoral policies in programs, plans, and projects linked to 12 prioritized sectors.
Climate profile (vulnerabilities, adaptation)
The climate in Cuba today is warmer and more extreme. Since the middle of the last century the average annual temperature has increased by 0.9 degrees Celsius. The last decade of the last century and the first of the present have been the warmest according to historical measurements of temperature. The rise in sea level has been recorded in the last forty years according to measurements at several points of the Cuban archipelago. The availability of water decreases; The results show that currently it has decreased more than 20% compared to 1990.
A great variability has been observed in the cyclonic activity and currently a highly active stage is manifested. The rainfall pattern is changing. In recent decades, the rains in the dry period have increased and decreased in the wet months. The frequency and extent of droughts has increased significantly since 1960; with major damage in the eastern region.
A significant reduction in water potential is estimated at the national, regional, and local levels. The impact of climate change on water resources will be one of the most important effects of climate change, due to the strategic nature of water for the development of the country, particularly agriculture. The investigations carried out show that the usable water resources could be 60% of those existing today, increasing the competition between the availability of water, the growing human demand, and the need to maintain the balance of the ecosystems.
The mean sea level rises. Future projections indicate increases that would imply a slow decrease in the emerged surface of the country and the gradual salinization of the coastal underground aquifers, the increase in saline intrusion and the consequent advance of the “saline wedge”. For its part, the rise in sea level due to intense hurricanes and other extreme meteorological events will continue to represent a significant danger of climate change for the Cuban archipelago because of coastal flooding and the destruction of natural and human heritage near the coast.
In general, it can be ensured that the Cuban climate transitions from its condition from humid tropical to dry tropical, with average temperatures above 30 ° C, approximately 1000 mm of average annual rainfall and 70 days with rain, conditions that will promote displacement. from the dry landscapes of the eastern region to other areas of the country. It can be ensured that the air temperature will continue to increase, consistent with the estimates made in previous modeling carried out in Cuba, and may reach 4.5 ° C. The greatest warming will occur mainly in the warmest period of the year, a sign that will become clearer through the years.
Precipitation will maintain the estimated downward trend. Days with rainfall will decrease; heavy rainfall and intense rainfall will increase; and the drought processes will increase in intensity and duration. Solar radiation will increase, in correspondence with the decrease in cloud cover. damp. The frequency and extent of droughts has increased significantly since 1960; with major damage in the eastern region.
A significant reduction in water potential is estimated at national, regional and local levels. The impact of climate change on water resources will be one of the most important effects of climate change, due to the strategic nature of water for the country's development, in particular for agriculture. Research shows that usable water resources could be 60% of those existing today, increasing competition between water availability, growing human demand and the need to maintain the balance of ecosystems.