International lenders will give $65 million in concessionary loans to 18 Caribbean nations to help the islands defend their coasts and fragile economies from the impact of climate change.

The European Investment Bank will channel its lending through the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank, which announced the initiative Monday.

The program will provide low-cost funds for public and private sector projects that deal with climate change adaptation or help reduce carbon emissions.

The U.N. network of climate scientists projects that seas might rise as much as 1.94 feet (0.59 meters) by 2100, expanded by heat and runoff of melting land ice. Few regions in the world are as threatened from rising seas as the Caribbean.