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Climate change remains inextricably linked to the challenges of disaster risk reduction (DRR). And according to the head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Robert Glasser, the reduction of greenhouse gases is “the single most urgent global disaster risk treatment”.
Glasser was addressing the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas. Held recently in Montreal, the gathering included more than 1,000 delegates from 50 countries, including the Caribbean.
“We 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 conference, hosted by the Canadian government in cooperation with UNISDR marked 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 is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action. It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR). The Framework is a 15-year, voluntary non-binding agreement which recognises that the state has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
“The regional plan of action you will adopt . . . will help and guide national and local governments in their efforts to strengthen the links between the 2030 agenda for 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,” Glasser said.
The Caribbean is a minute contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions but will be among the most severely impacted.
The region is already experiencing its impacts with more frequent extreme weather events such as the 2013 rain event in the Eastern Caribbean, extreme drought across the region with severe consequences in several countries; the 2005 flooding in Guyana and Belize in 2010.
Inaction for the Caribbean region is very costly. An economic analysis focused on three areas – increased hurricane damages, loss of tourism revenue and infrastructure – revealed damages could cost the region 10.7 billion dollars by 2025. That’s more than the combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of all the member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
At the Montreal conference, Head of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Ronald Jackson was a panelist in a forum discussing the linkages between disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development. He said the region needs to marry its indigenous solutions to disaster risk management with modern technology.
“We’ve recognised that in the old days, our fore parents…had to deal with flood conditions and they survived them very well. There were simple things in terms of how they pulled their beds and other valuables out of the flood space in the house in particular. This contributed to their surviving the storms with minimal loss,” Jackson said.
“That knowledge of having to face those adverse conditions and surviving them and coping through them and being able to bounce back to where they were before, that was evident in our society in the past. It has subsequently disappeared.”
CDEMA is a regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The Agency was established in 1991 with primary responsibility for the coordination of emergency response and relief efforts to participating states that require such assistance.
Another regional agency, the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is collaborating with other agencies on the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative (CRMI).
The CRMI aims to provide a platform for sharing the experiences and lessons learned between different sectors across the Caribbean in order to facilitate improved disaster risk reduction.
“We see disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation as two sides of the same coin because to the extent we are able to enhance disaster risk reduction we are also beginning to adapt to climate change,” Dr. Mark Bynoe, the CCCCC’s senior environment and resource economist said.
He explained that there are a range of activities carried out specifically in terms of climate adaptation that will also have a disaster risk reduction element.
“We are looking at enhancing water security within a number of our small island states. One of the things we are focusing on there is largely to produce quality water through the use of reverse osmosis systems but we’re utilizing a renewable energy source. So, on the one hand we are also addressing adaptation and mitigation.”
Meantime, CCCCC’s Deputy Director Dr. Ulric Trotz said the agency is rolling out a series of training workshops in 10 countries to share training tools that were developed with the aim of assisting in the generation of scientific information and analysis to help in making informed decisions. These include the Weather Generator (WG), the Tropical Storm Model/ Simple Model for the Advection of Storms and Hurricanes (SMASH), and the Caribbean Drought Assessment Tool (CARiDRO).
The training will target key personnel whose focus are in areas of agriculture, water resources, coastal zone management, health, physical planning or disaster risk reduction.
“The CARIWIG [Caribbean Weather Impacts Group] tool is a critical tool in that it more or less localizes the projection so that for instance, you can actually look at climate projections for the future in a watershed in St. Kitts and Nevis. It localizes that information and it makes it much more relevant to the local circumstance,” said Dr. Trotz.
Training and application of the tools will allow decision-makers to better understand the potential impacts of drought, tropical storms, and rainfall and temperature changes. When combined with other data and information, they can help to build a picture of potential impacts to key economic sectors in the various countries.
Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency
CDEMA and IDEA International Awarded Silver Medal for Collaborative Project in Management for Development Results
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is the recipient of a Silver Medal award which is shared with the Institute for Development in Economics and Administration (IDEA International). The award was sponsored by the International Development Bank (IDB) and presented during the IX International Seminar of the Sub-National Governments Network (CoPLAC) held in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico on September 8th, 2016. Both entities were nominated for the ‘Second Competition in Management for Development Results (MfDR)’ and were placed second in the ‘MfDR in Sectors’ category.
The Executive Director of CDEMA, Ronald Jackson, and the Co-President of IDEA, Frederic Martin, expressed their gratitude for the recognition. Dr. Martin said he was particularly “pleased that the CoPLAC Evaluation Committee had recognized this example of good practices in MfDR in the Caribbean region conducted with limited human and financial resources, as well as of the originality of the institutional setup based on North-South collaboration and public-private partnership”. Mr Jackson also commended the organizers and sponsors of the award and offered assurance that “CDEMA remains committed to strengthening its accountability to stakeholders through monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER) for both, its internal work and external partners’ work”.
“Being awarded this Silver Medal on the occasion of celebrating our Silver Anniversary is highly commendable and speaks to the growth of the Agency over the past 25 years in ensuring that M&E is highly featured in our efforts to be accountable to our Participating States and stakeholders as we report on progress towards the achievement of the Regional Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy 2014-2024 and the CDEMA Coordinating Unit (CU) Corporate Plan 2014-2017”, said Mr. Jackson.
In 2013, the CDEMA CU contracted the IDEA International Institute to provide support to strengthening the MER capacity of the Agency to lead the CDM agenda for the region. The project undertaken by IDEA started with a series of training in Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) of a critical mass of key actors, both at CDEMA CU and in major National Disaster Offices. Twenty one participants achieved the Masters Certification Programme in M&E and Information Systems, a graduate level credited programme offered jointly by IDEA International and University Laval, Canada.
Further work on the M&E system involved the revision of the strategic and operational plans, adjusting when necessary the choice of indicators in the Performance Measurement Framework, and checking for the consistency of targets set at strategic, programmatic, and operational levels over the planning horizon of the CDM Strategy. The development of such a robust system also includes efforts to strengthen M&E at the level of the National Disaster Management Organizations. And finally, the initiative was accompanied by the design and implementation of an online monitoring system, which started with a diagnostic of needs and of relevant existing information systems, and then included the adaptation of the generic IDEA Solutions “Monitoring for Results” (M4R) software to the specific needs and characteristics of CDEMA to develop a tailor-made solution, which is currently functional as CDM Monitor.
Based on the support given by IDEA, the CDEMA CU has seen an improvement over the last 3 years in its internal systems in terms of monitoring and reporting of results. The CU is also providing support to the Participating States and to stakeholders within the CDM Governance Mechanism in order to improve the level of reporting on progress of implementation of the CDM Strategy.
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands
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!