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Global conference renews call to reduce greenhouse gas

(Photo: AP)

The fifth Regional Platform for disaster risk reduction in the Americas began in Canada today with the United Nations (UN) reiterating a call for the reduction of greenhouse gases that it has labelled “the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment”.

Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser told a gathering of more than 1,000 delegates from 50 countries, including the Caribbean, that climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR).

“We also recognise that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is arguably the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment, because without those efforts our other efforts to reduce many hazards and the risks those pose to communities would be overwhelmed over the longer term,” Glasser said.

“The regional plan of action you will adopt this week will help and guide national and local governments in their efforts to strengthen the links between the 2030 agenda Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction as national and local DRR strategies are developed and further refined in line with the Sendai Framework priorities over the next four years.”

The March 7-9 conference, hosted by the Canadian government in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), marks the first opportunity for governments and stakeholders of the Americas to discuss and agree on a Regional Action Plan to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030.

The Sendai Framework recognises Global and Regional Platforms for DRR as key mediums for its implementation, building on the pivotal role that they have already played in supporting the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005 – 2015.

It also underscores the need for the Global Platform and the Regional Platforms to function as a coherent system of mechanisms in order to fully leverage on the potential of collaboration across all stakeholders and sectors to provide guidance and support in its implementation.

The main focus of the conference will be to discuss how governments, ministers, civil society leaders, technical and scientific institutions, private sector, media could drive the implementation and measurement of the expected outcomes of the Sendai Framework in the Americas.

Glasser said the work of adopting and implementing the Sendai Framework is “important for the rapid urbanisation taking place across the region which brings with it new challenges for risk governance and disaster risk management.”

He said Latin America and the Caribbean is the most urbanised region of the world as over 80 per cent of its population live in urban areas and that it could increase to 90 per cent within a few decades.

The conference is being held under the theme “Resilience for All”.

In his welcome remarks, Canada’s Minister for Public Safety Ralph Goodale told the gathering they need to make good use of their time together to move forward on a robust regional action plan that can increase the open exchange of research and technology that can save lives worldwide.

“A plan that is grounded in the Sendai Framework’s guiding principles that can help strengthen and organise, prepare, budget and govern; and how we engage critical partners…and a plan that can let us use our collective influence to increase the number of countries and territories and organizations that do have strategies in place to reduce the risks of disasters.”

Among the topics to be discussed over the next three days include “Understanding the risks in the Americas, Empowerment of women and girls and gender Equality in Disaster Risk Reduction and High Risk Populations as Agents of Change for Disaster Risk Reduction”.

Credit: Jamaica Observer

Jamaican communities better able to address emergencies and climate change with Canadian support

Abacus for Communities and the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM) recently completed the projects in Jamaica which have helped communities across the island to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.

Jamaica’s largest environmental conservation area, Portland Bight, is now better equipped to deal with climate change with the completion of The Portland Bight Protected Area Disaster Risk Reduction Project. C-CAM, which is responsible for the area that is home to birds, iguanas, crocodiles, manatees, marine turtles, and fish, received over CAD$15,000 and made additional contributions of more than CAD$8,000 to plant mangroves and train community members and students on their care.

Under the Community Emergency Communications for Natural Disaster and Climate Change Adaptation in Jamaica project, implemented by Abacus for Communities, emergency telecommunications systems were provided to 10 communities across Jamaica and 321 individuals were trained in the use of the equipment. This equipment and training has enabled these communities to have emergency communications during hazard events, thereby allowing emergency agencies to be able to access the information needed to plan their response and recovery efforts. This project totaled over CAD$175,000, with CAD$80,661 coming from the Government of Canada.

The Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. Sylvain Fabi, was delighted to be able to present both organizations with plaques to commemorate the successful implementation of these community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives.

Mr. Fabi commented during the presentation that “we have all seen the devastation that can be caused by natural disasters and climate change. With these projects, it is our hope, that Jamaica will be more resilient and prepared for future events.”

Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and an escalation in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes threaten homes and businesses across the Caribbean. This can result in loss of life and has a significant negative impact on sustainable economic growth. To be able to respond to the increased threat of natural disasters and climate change, communities must build their resilience. The Canada Caribbean Disaster Risk Management Fund is a CAD $3 million fund designed to support Caribbean-based non-governmental organizations, community groups, and governmental agencies working at the community level.

For more details, contact the Public Affairs Section, Canadian High Commission, 3 West Kings House Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica  Telephone: (876) 733-3253

Salt River, Clarendon in the Portland Bight Protected Area. (My photo)

Salt River, Clarendon in the Portland Bight Protected Area. (My photo)

Credit: Petchary's Blog

Japan and UNDP launch climate change project in eight Caribbean countries

undp_japan.jpg

Members of the J-CCCP Project Board following the project launch

The government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean climate change partnership (J-CCCP) on Thursday, in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The launch follows a two-day meeting with more than 40 representatives from eight Caribbean countries, including government officials, technical advisors, NGO and UN partners to set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies.

The new initiative will help put in practice Caribbean countries’ actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, such as nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs). It will also boost access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel imports and dependence, setting the region on a low-emission development path, while addressing critical balance of payments constraints.

“The government of Japan is pleased to partner with UNDP. It is envisaged that the project will also contribute to building a platform for information sharing in developing and implementing climate change policies and promoting the transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies. Japan expects, through pilot projects and information sharing, the project will enable the Caribbean countries to enhance their capacity to cope with climate change and natural disasters,” said Masatoshi Sato, minister-counsellor and deputy head of mission at the embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, stressing that the partnership will also promote South-South and North-South cooperation, including study tours to Japan for government officials and technical advisors.

Participating countries include Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, benefitting an estimated 200,000 women and men in 50 communities.

“This partnership comes at a critical time in our nation’s sustainable development programme,” said Gloria Joseph, permanent secretary in the ministry of planning, economic development and investment in Dominica. “Dominica has experienced firsthand the devastating and crippling effect that climate change can have on a nation’s people, their livelihoods and economy, risking losing up to 90 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to a tropical storm or hurricane. Dominica stands ready and welcomes the opportunity to benefit from early response warning systems, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures as it seeks to restore and ‘build back better’.”

Climate change is recognised as one of the most serious challenges to the Caribbean. With the likelihood that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and intensity of the yearly hurricane season, comprehensive measures are needed to protect at-risk communities. Boosting resilience is crucial for the region’s development and is a clear part of UNDP’s global strategic plan of programme priorities.

Negative impacts on land, water resources and biodiversity associated with climate change have also been predicted with the potential to affect shoreline stability, the health of coastal and marine ecosystems and private property, as well as ecosystem services. Increasing coastal erosion and severe coral reef bleaching events are already evident in some locations.

“UNDP has been championing the cause of climate change in the Caribbean for many years and we are pleased to partner with the Government of Japan toward the implementation of climate change projects in eight Caribbean countries,” said Rebeca Arias, regional hub director for UNDP’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. “In light of the COP21 agreement, these projects are timely in assisting countries to respond more effectively to the impacts of climate change and to increase their resilience through actions today to make them stronger for tomorrow.”

Credit: Caribbean News Now

CDB advances climate change and disaster risk management of member countries

CBD’s Vice President of Operations Patricia McKenzie shared some camera time with Steven Hillier (2nd Left), Disaster Risk Reduction Adviser of the Department For International Development of the United Kingdom. Also in photo are Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA, and Andrew Dupigny (right), Acting Director of Projects at CDB

CBD’s Vice President of Operations Patricia McKenzie shared some camera time with Steven Hillier (2nd Left), Disaster Risk Reduction Adviser of the Department For International Development of the United Kingdom. Also in photo are Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA, and Andrew Dupigny (right), Acting Director of Projects at CDB

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) agenda for reducing risks and building resilience in the region got a much-needed boost recently. Twenty-three disaster risk management and community development professionals from 15 countries gathered at the headquarters of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for an intensive five-day workshop on project design and implementation organised by Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF).

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, CDB’s vice president for operations emphasised the need for a broader reach and deepened relations with borrowing member countries (BMCs).

“We want to optimise the facility provided by CDRRF to assist in building capabilities at the community level. We see the need for CDRRF when we consider the fact that communities can be affected extensively by the impact of natural hazards. That they can be displaced, experience disruption in livelihoods and even have security and personal safety reduced. The need to help build community resilience becomes quite evident. CDB is keen on consolidating its relationship with BMCs,” stated Patricia McKenzie.

CDB’s commitment to strengthening national mechanisms for community resilience building was bolstered by the synergies created with the support of international development partners with a shared vision for the region. The harmonisation has resulted in increased investments in initiatives for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

The region’s disaster management agency echoed those sentiments.

“Communities are the first line of defence in preventing disasters. It is, therefore, essential to deepen engagement beyond disaster management offices. There is an urgent need to participate with community actors to reduce risks and build capacity and resilience,” noted Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

He went on to make a case for more targeted investments in CCA.

“The Caribbean accounts for less than one percent of greenhouse emissions yet most climate change-related projects are heavily concentrated on energy emissions. Resources must be more effectively used. Focus must be shifted to dealing with the every-day present and future risks to lives and livelihoods. Strengthened and sustained community resilience is one of the key priority areas within the comprehensive disaster management strategy. It is an area in which CDEMA has made significant investments in the past and continues to support based on requests from member states,” Jackson said.

The aim of the workshop, which was facilitated by David Logan, was to broaden participant’s view of CDRRF and increase their capacity to assist community groups to design local solutions that meet CDRRF’s funding criteria.

As such, participants were exposed to exclusive content for the design and development of CDRRF projects. Topics included the development of performance measurement framework and the importance of identifying correct indicators. Other areas of learning covered designing work breakdown structure and procurement plans as well as undertaking social and gender analyses as participants were exposed to the project management cycle.

The workshop further allowed for some focus on environmental impact assessment, project costing and scheduling; all within the framework of DRR/CCA projects. The trainees also benefitted from rich experiences as they delved into live project ideas.

As BMCs move to capitalise on the skills passed on by CDB, it is expected that there will be an influx of innovative and transformative projects with tangible results that can produce lessons for DRR/CCA.

“While you were exposed to CDB’s way, the range of topics remain very useful. The skills garnered will suit the design and implementation of development projects across the board, not just CDB-funded projects”, remarked CDB’s acting director of projects, Andrew Dupigny as he closed the workshop proceedings.

The project design and implementation workshop is the first of its kind for the CDRRF. They will form part of the knowledge management efforts of a wider US$25.78 million grant facility funded by CDB; Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada and Department For International Development of the United Kingdom. CDRRF aims to build community capacity for disaster risk management through adaptation to climate change and reduction of vulnerabilities and building resilience to the impacts of natural hazards.

Credit: Caribbean News Now!

Vacancy at DFID Caribbean – Senior Programme Officer

The United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) Caribbean is now accepting applications for the post of Senior Programme Officer. The post-holder will support the Climate Change and DRR team in delivering a portfolio of climate change and disaster risk reduction programmes and policy initiatives in the Caribbean.

Applicants are required to complete DFID’s application form, which is available on the British High Commission website 29th August 2014.
Review the official call for applications here.
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