Approaches to Environmental Licensing and Compliance in Caribbean Countries
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Country safeguard systems are the first line of defense to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of projects that the Inter-American Development Bank finances in the Caribbean. The capacity of authorities to prescribe appropriate environmental and social requirements, and consistently enforce compliance with them, allows countries to control the way human activities impact natural resources, protect public welfare and sustain prosperity. The performance of licensing and compliance functions is increasingly critical in Caribbean countries, as the effects of climate change compound challenges already inherent to the economic growth of small, geographically unique states. Towards building knowledge and promoting shared thinking, this paper presents the IDB's current understanding of the diverse types of environmental licensing and compliance systems found throughout the Caribbean region. The analysis depicts three loosely-defined conceptual models and identifies commonalities and differences in the institutional frameworks and the administration of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA). The paper briefly illustrates a country system as an example of each model.