New technology to transform how countries anticipate, prepare and adapt to intensifying climate conditions
Ground-breaking technology developed to help countries most exposed to extreme weather events to become more climate resilient has been launched in Jamaica today by the global Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI).
Jamaica is the first country to complete development of the Systemic Risk Assessment Tool (J-SRAT), designed by Oxford University in collaboration with the Jamaican Government and support from CCRI and the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. J-SRAT has been developed to help identify ‘hotspots’ across the country’s major infrastructure networks – such as energy, water and transport – most vulnerable to climate risk, ensuring the effective and efficient investment of public and private resources.
Jamaica’s population, infrastructure and economic assets are highly exposed to extreme weather, such as hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding events that are expected to become more intense and frequent. With many of these climate hazards now irreversible, the country’s priority is to adapt by building the resilience of its major infrastructure assets.
Dr Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica, said: “Given Jamaica’s vulnerability to climate shocks, the cumulative cost over the years and future climate projections, JSRAT is an important data-driven addition to the analytical toolkit to aid assessment of climate risks, particularly with respect to critical infrastructure such as water, transport and energy.
“We anticipate that the combination of the analytical capabilities of this tool along with those of relevant local platforms and the transfer of knowledge to local technical personnel, should help to better guide our decision-making on future location and investment for infrastructure. JSRAT is a potential game-changer and we look forward to its utility as the country moves to not only modernise but also to retrofit and harden its infrastructure assets.”
Key features of the Jamaica Systemic Risk Assessment Tool:
  • Climate risk hotspots – J-SRAT delivers unparallel\ed high resolution and visual analysis, accurately identifying hotspots of vulnerability across critical infrastructure.
  • Real life impact – Existing climate models are limited to forecasting broader climate impacts. Cutting-edge capabilities of J-SRAT allow Jamaica to assess practical impacts of increasingly severe weather events on specific services, such as more frequent water or power shortages caused by infrastructure damage.
  • Open source – Jamaica’s government will have full control of J-SRAT, with CCRI and its partners also committed to ensuring the innovative methodology is freely available worldwide, accelerating global efforts to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure.
  • Unlock investment – Natural disasters in Jamaica have a devastating impact on economic development. J-SRAT’s ability to accurately calculate the damage and economic losses from future climate risks future gives decision-makers and private sector investors the confidence to prioritise infrastructure that will be more resilient and capable of withstanding future climate impacts.
The breakthrough predictive technology underpinning the tool is based on proven analytical methods developed by Oxford University. A global leader in the geospatial assessment of climate risks and infrastructure system resilience, the university has been one of the project’s lead technical delivery partners.
Dr Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks, University of Oxford, said: “The fundamental goal is to help unlock investment in climate adaptation. With limited resources and mounting needs, the Government of Jamaica will be able to use SRAT’s incredibly granular, precise and practical analytical capabilities to prioritise where infrastructure investment is needed most and attract the scale of private sector finance that has so far been missing until now, not only in the Caribbean but in climate adaptation worldwide.”
Carlos Sanchez, Executive Director, Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment, said: “The climate crisis represents an existential threat to Jamaica, the wider Caribbean region and globally. As countries race to protect their communities from escalating climate impacts on water, health, energy and supply chains, making infrastructure assets more resilient is vital, but cannot be delivered by the public sector alone. Private sector engagement is critical in bridging the existing infrastructure gap, making this technology a major breakthrough not only for Jamaica, but also in helping to meet the world’s future infrastructure needs.”

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