Nassau, Bahamas, December 9th, 2017 – More than 2 million € will be invested to strengthen disaster risk reduction and early warning systems through the exchange of good practices and building of capacities of the Caribbean countries to better be prepared to face destructive events in the future.
The 2017 hurricane season in the Atlantic has been active and intense, leaving unprecedented destruction in its wake - including loss of life, ruined livelihoods, damaged infrastructure, and weakened economies, affecting the impacted small island states. Now more than ever, collaboration and action to build greater resilience is crucial in the Caribbean. In this context, two regional disaster risk reduction projects of the DIPECHO Action Plan for the Caribbean were launched, under the auspices of the General Directorate of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid of the European Union (ECHO): "Strengthen integrated early warning systems for a more effective disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean through knowledge and the transfer of tools", implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (IFRC) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); and "Ponte Alerta Caribe: Harmonizing Risk Management Strategies and Tools with an Inclusive Approach in the Caribbean" implemented by the Oxfam consortium, Plan International, Habitat for Humanity and International Handicap.
These projects, which take place in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba, seek to strengthen disaster preparedness and risk reduction through the compilation and application of tested tools to generate risk information, improve monitoring and warnings, and ensure that messages reach communities, who have training and preparedness to respond. The projects will be implemented over an 18 month period; they will strengthen the prevention, mitigation and response capacities at both the institutional and community level, and will emphasize mutual learning and collaboration between countries and regional institutions working in disaster risk reduction across the Caribbean.
The projects were launched at the 10th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management 'Building Resilience through Partnerships', held from December 4 to 9 in Nassau, Bahamas and organized by CDEMA. It was attended by over 200 representatives of the national systems of prevention, mitigation and response of the Caribbean countries, National Red Cross Societies, representatives of the national and regional systems of meteorology and hydrology, as well as representatives of the UNDP Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean and the UNDP country offices of Barbados, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the IFRC, CDEMA, Oxfam, Handicap International, and ECHO.
All stakeholders, within the framework of the conference, reaffirmed their commitment to work in alignment with the Caribbean Comprehensive Disaster Management 2014-2024 strategy, recognizing the need for collaboration and exchange of good practices between the institutions of the Caribbean countries, especially given the recent hydro-meteorological events of the last hurricane season.