Public-private partnerships for storm risk management in the Cayman Islands

Produced as part of the Adaptation to climate change and human development CCCEP research programme theme

Abstract of Working Paper 21

We analyse the role of public and private responsibility in the provision of public goods – specifically, national hurricane preparedness, including early warnings and post-impact recovery.

This is achieved through a review of the changes that have occurred in the Cayman Islands’ National Hurricane Committee (NHC). The NHC is a novel hybrid institution that emerged after spontaneous collective action by various members of the Cayman Islands’ society. The National Hurricane Committee is now an official public-social-private partnership that uses relational contracting transactions, hierarchical management relationships and recurrent contractual transactions to prepare the Cayman Islands for storms and manage the islands’ recovery in a state of emergency.

In our paper, the effectiveness of the NHC is considered in terms of how the risks are being managed, who takes responsibility for risk management, who pays for the services, and who bears the risk.

The discussion reveals that PPPs can provide effective governance structures for weather-risk management, but they need to be carefully implemented to ensure that the distribution of costs and benefits from their existence is not captured by a small group of powerful individuals.