Meet our Research Associate
Karima Degia is a versatile Barbadian professional with 15 years diverse experience in environmental management and engineering, focused on the coastal zone and/or small islands. She is registered professional engineer, specialised in coastal engineering, with continuing education qualifications in sustainable environmental management. Her professional experience and interests are wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary, grounded in practical project experience. She has a thorough understanding of the challenges faced by Caribbean SIDS and feels strongly that solutions and interventions must be relevant to our specific circumstances.

As an independent consultant (since 2017), Karima has provided technical and policy advising services to governments and inter-governmental institutions in the Caribbean, including co-authoring the 2021 UNEP Sargassum White Paper, technical input to Barbados’ Nationally Determined Contributions, serving as a member of the Barbados delegation to the UNFCCC COP26 (2021) and COP27 (2022), and a recent review of the implementation of the Belize Coastal Zone Management Plan. Her foundational practical project experience was gained over several years employed in the Barbados office of an international coastal engineering consulting firm. She is proud to have contributed to several national coastal infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Richard Haynes Boardwalk (on Barbados’ south coast), and national planning studies, including island-wide coastal processes baseline studies and a major ridge to reef stormwater management study.
Research interests and achievements Karima is interested in applied research with a focus on practical applications that are useful at the science-policy interface to support sustainable development in Barbados and the Caribbean. Specific areas of interest and active research include:
  • Nature based solutions, especially in in in highly modified and intensively used small island environments
  • Climate change adaptation, especially in Caribbean SIDS
  • Application of combined spatial planning and disaster risk reduction framework to the problem of sargassum inundations
  • Island systems approach and ridge to reef principles
Main Research Projects
  • Marine Coastal Ecosystems Biodiversity and Services in a Changing World (MaCoBios)
  • Adapting to a new reality: Managing responses to influxes of sargassum seaweed in the Eastern Caribbean as ecosystem hazards and opportunities (SargAdapt
Fonseca, Catarina, et al. “Survey Data of Public Awareness on Climate Change and the Value of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems.” Data in Brief, vol. 47, 2023, p. 108924,

O’Leary, Bethan C., et al. “Embracing Nature-Based Solutions to Promote Resilient Marine and Coastal Ecosystems.” Nature-Based Solutions, vol. 3, 2023, p. 100044,

Degia. A.K., M. Small, H.A. Oxenford, 2022. Applying Hazard Risk Assessment and Spatial Planning Tools to Sargassum Inundations in the Eastern Caribbean Small Island States as a basis for improving response. SargAdapt Project Report, FINAL DRAFT. CARPHA.

Cox, S.-A., & Degia, K. (2021). Sargassum: Brown tide or golden jewel? Foresight Brief #24. United Nations Environment Programme, Science Division.

United Nations Environment Programme- Caribbean Environment Programme (2021). Sargassum White Paper – Turning the crisis into an opportunity. Ninth Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) to the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) in the Wider Caribbean Region. Kingston, Jamaica. This Sargassum White Paper was prepared by Shelly-Ann Cox and A. Karima Degia for the United Nations Environment Programme - Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP- CEP).

Clegg, P., Cumberbatch, J., & Degia, K. (2021). Tourism in the Caribbean and the Blue Economy – Can the two be aligned? In P. Clegg, R. Mahon, P. McConney, & H. A. Oxenford (Eds.), The Caribbean Blue Economy (Europa Regional Perspectives) (1st ed.).

Cumberbatch, J., Drakes, C., Mackey, T., Nagdee, M., Wood, J., Degia, A. K., & Hinds, C. (2020, Aug 10). Social Vulnerability Index: Barbados – A Case Study. Coastal Management, 48(5), 505-526.

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Ms. A. Karima Degia

Research Associate

B.S. (Florida Institute of Technology)
MSc (Florida Institute of Technology)


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