In efforts to enhance the early warning systems in Saint Lucia, the project entitled ‘Strengthen Integrated Early Warning Systems (EWS) in the Caribbean’ was launched in on May 22, 2018 during the Opening Session of the ‘Validation Workshop for Saint Lucia’s Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) Gap Analysis and the Development of the National Roadmap’.
In addressing the thirty five participants representing twenty eight agencies, Mrs. Velda Joseph, Director of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), highlighted the multi-stakeholder and inter-disciplinary nature of an integrated MHEWS given that there are four well defined but integrated pillars of such a system – Disaster Risk Knowledge; Detection, Monitoring, Analysis and Forecasting of the Hazards and Possible Consequences; Warning and Dissemination; and Preparedness and Response Capabilities. It was within this context that she expressed gratitude to the participants for their engagement in the process thus far which involved the completion of the MHEWS Checklist surveys and their attendance at the meeting to validate gaps identified and to determine key next steps to be detailed in a national MHEWS Roadmap. Gratitude was also expressed to the European Union for their financial support of the Project.
Dr. Alexcia Cooke, Regional Technical Coordinator for the Project with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) reiterated that the development, implementation and maintenance of a MHEWS are the business of all sectors and levels of society. She further highlighted the prominence given to MHEWS within the context of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy and Framework noting the priority given at Regional Outcome 4.3: Community Early Warning Systems integrated, improved and expanded’. Participants were urged in their deliberations to consider key governance principles of inclusion, precaution, accountability, legitimacy and sustainability among others as they determine actions to be taken in the development of the national roadmap.
On Day 1 of the Workshop, a wide range of stakeholders that deal with priority hazards affecting Saint Lucia engaged meaningfully in the review and validation of gaps identified based on a document review and the compilation of survey responses by local consultant Mr. Ulric Alphonse. They also made extensive recommendations to deal with these gaps on Day 2 that will result in a National Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems Roadmap. This National Roadmap along with other outputs of the Project will be the basis for undertaking a sustainability dialogue with the Government of Saint Lucia and the official handover during a High-Level Meeting later in 2018.
"Strengthening integrated early warning systems for more effective disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean through knowledge and the transfer of tools" is a Disaster Risk Reduction project of the DIPECHO Action Plan for the Caribbean, implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC), and funded by the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid of the European Union (ECHO).
This project, which is being implemented in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba over an 18-month period, seeks to strengthen disaster preparedness and risk reduction through Integrated Early Warning Systems (EWS). Working in this important element for disaster risk reduction, is expected to enhance the prevention, mitigation and response capacities at both the institutional and community level, based on mutual learning and collaboration between countries and regional institutions working in disaster risk reduction across the Caribbean.